Opened in 1939, Wolf Creek Ski Area claims “The Most Snow in Colorado” at over 550 inches an average year. This resort is located within the steep San Juan Mountain Range, about 30 minutes north of Pagosa Springs, and is a favorite for those traveling in Southern Colorado.
Wolf Creek has a mix of terrain: gentle rolling slopes, long cruisers, bumps, glades, chutes, cornices, and bowl skiing. All levels of riders will find something they enjoy here. It’s also got affordable lift tickets reasonably priced food and local micro-brews. The terrain is varied from beginner to expert with lots of opportunities to hike for fresh lines (when there is snow).
FYI: Bring cash as most of the food and all the beer is cash only.
77 trails make up Wolf Creek’s 1,600 skiable acres. Those just learning will find several easy greens accessed from the Bonanza or Dickey Chairlifts. Both lifts are at the base of the resort. Blue runs are spread out across the mountain. From all the main lifts, intermediate skiers will be able to find a suitable trail down.
Experts will love the powder and expert ridge skiing that Wolf Creek offers. There are several single black diamonds located across the mountain. Most of the trees are accessible and usually hide some powder stashes. Through Waterfalls Gate are several short, but steep runs featuring rock faces and tight trees.
The main draw for strong skiers and riders is the hike-accessed terrain, from atop Alberta or D. Bryce Chairlifts. Traverse in either direction for expert bowl, chute, and tree skiing. Most of the hiking will range from 5 to 20 minutes depending on how high you want to go. The summit of Wolf Creek is the Alberta Peak at 11,904 ft.
The 1,000 acres between the Horseshoe Bowl and the Water Fall area hold some of Wolf Creek’s most exciting terrain. It’s accessed from atop the Alberta Lift. Some of it requires a traverse to get to. You’ll find expert double-black chutes (Knife Ridge), plenty of glades, a few intermediate trails, and everything in between.
At the base of Wolf Creek is a lodge with a food court and bar that serves homemade meals at a reasonable price. Additionally, there is a gift shop, equipment rentals, and a ski school. At the bottom of the Alberta Lift is a small food stand with seating. Remember to bring some cash as most things require it. There isn’t any lodging at the ski area, but several lodges exist en route to Wolf Creek.
Nearby Pagosa Springs is a fantastic place to stay, 24 miles southwest of the slopes via Wolf Creek Pass. Restaurants, shopping, and hotels line the historic streets, while the San Juan River flows on through. As the name suggests, it’s a famous hot springs spot and there are several places to soak in town, like The Springs Resort and Overlook Hot Springs.
On the east side of Wolf Creek Pass and the actual closer town to Wolf Creek Ski Area, is South Fork. It lacks hot springs like Pagosa, but it’s closer to Denver and has affordable lodging and places to eat. So consider saving time and money and staying overnight in South Fork.
Address: Wolf Creek Pass Hwy 160, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147
Season: early-November – early-April
Lift Hours: 9am – 4pm
Elevation: 10,300 ft – 11,904 ft
Vertical: 1,604 ft
Ski Area: 1,600 acres
Average Snowfall: 465 in
Trail Map: Wolf Creek (jpg)
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