Snowmobiling on Cottonwood Pass near Buena Vista, the Heart of the Rockies!

Do you know exactly where the “heart” of the Rockies is? The heart is considered the center of Colorado and also happens to be where the most 14ers in the state of Colorado rise up, in Chaffee County. The heart of the Rockies is home to the tallest peaks in Colorado as well as a valley floor where the Arkansas River runs. The terrain is diverse and the area is known as an Alpine Desert. You might not believe it, but some of the best snowmobiling in the country is in here in Chaffee County, near the alpine desert. If you’re a resident of Denver, Colorado Springs, visiting Summit County or anywhere near Buena Vista, Colorado, you don’t want to miss snowmobiling at Cottonwood Pass!

Snowmobiling is a great winter activity for a family, a group on vacation or for outdoor adventurers who never want to stop exploring. It doesn’t require tremendous exertion so is a great acclimation activity for visitors. Small children can ride with their parents. Unlike skiing, there’s no waiting at the bottom of a ski run for others to catch up.

Pulling in to Buena Vista, Colorado, you won’t see a ton of snow on the ground, even in the middle of winter. You might think this valley with a wide river and tons of amazing rock formations wouldn’t be a great place for snowmobiling, but you’d be wrong! Just a short 10-15 minute drive from town center in Buena Vista, going west on 306, you’ll make an ascent up Cottonwood Pass. The road dead ends where it closes for the winter time due to the enormous amount of snow making passenger vehicle travel too dangerous and difficult. But the road is open to snowmobiles!

Riders can go all the way to the summit of Cottonwood Pass and enjoy 360 views of incredible vistas from surrounding mountain ranges and the Collegiate Peaks. This summit is one of the best in the state of Colorado! Cottonwood Pass also offers huge bowls, wide-open powder fields and snake trails through the trees. This is where some of the best snowmobilers in the country ride for practice. And just another perk- you won’t encounter any crowds. This area is a snowmobiling hidden gem!

Near our Buena Vista outpost in downtown Buena Vista, there is a wide selection of dining choices, one of the best breweries in the state (Eddyline) and a variety of boutique shopping. The streets are sunny and uncrowded. This is the perfect day trip to get away from the masses in Summit County or to see a different part of the state when visiting the Vail area.

Our guides will take your group of snowmobilers to the best and safest parts of Cottonwood Pass for your experience level. Enjoy free time on your own in the powder bowl and don’t worry about getting lost in the tree trails because we know the area well!

Snowmobiling is the perfect winter activity for groups and families of all sizes. To book a snowmobile tour on Cottonwood Pass, call Rocky Mountain Adventure Rentals today at (970) 471-8491

Hidden Gem Winter Activity

If you love cutting fresh tracks, just want to ski or ride without dodging beginner skiers, children and crowds, we think we’ve got just the hidden gem activity for you. If you’re an experienced skier or rider who dreams of hitting the backcountry powder but without the avalanche danger, going full send off a cliff and the grueling uphill trek, keep reading.

Have you heard the term “earn your turns”? It’s a phrase coined by backcountry skiers to playfully shame those who ride the lift to get to the top of the mountain. But what if you’re a beginner backcountry enthusiast without the knowledge, or coming from sea level where an uphill climb in the snow isn’t how you want to spend your vacation? How does motorized-assisted turn-earning sound?

Rocky Mountain Adventure Rentals is the only Eagle County outfitter with tow-in snowmobiles. Three backcountry peaks in the Vail Pass Recreation Area. No hiking and no lift lines. Powder, lots of powder! The ride up holding onto a tow rope behind a snowmobile is a bit like water skiing.

The terrain is 99% avalanche free. The conditions are monitored daily and you will receive thorough directions and instructions before heading out.

The only comparable experience is snow-cat skiing, however, tow-in skiing will provide you with more runs in a shorter amount of time, more control over your choice of terrain with the ability to easily traverse to different peaks, all at a lower cost. Difficulty can range from hard intermediate to expert. There are even some groomed trails to choose.

Most of the terrain is above tree line without the danger of tree wells and hidden objects making tow-in skiing perfect for backcountry newbies, but experienced backcountry users will love it too and the opportunity it provides to get in more runs than hike-to allows. Ledges can be found at varying difficulty levels as well.

All backcountry users should always have a buddy regardless of the activity and you will need your buddy for tow-in skiing. One will drive the snowmobile up and back down while the other is pulled up by the tow rope and then skis or boards down their chosen line under the watch of their buddy on the snowmobile. Our tow-in sleds are equipped with racks for ski and ride equipment.

If you need to rent downhill equipment, we can point you in the right direction.

Dressing in layers is crucial- the adrenaline fueled by this amazing experience will get your heart rate going!

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) promotes safety awareness, forecasts and education for backcountry users. A quick look at the home page of their website or social media accounts offers up-to-date information on conditions and warnings for the backcountry. Know the danger of tree wells, keep your buddy nearby and don’t venture into terrain beyond your ability. The CAIC offers avalanche safety courses for backcountry users. Always carry the proper equipment.

It’s a new season and never too late to try something new, to ski “out of bounds” without breaking resort or forest service rules. Give Rocky Mountain Adventure Rentals a call and broaden your outdoor adventure experience this winter. 970.471.8491

What Types of Snow Machines Does RMAR Have?

Just like cars, not all snowmobiles are created equal. Rocky Mountain Adventure Rentals takes pride in the variety and high quality of our premium snow machines. We cater to the gamut from families with riders who have never been on a snowmobile to advanced riders who enjoy deep powder thrills. 

For families and beginner/intermediate riders:

Touring / Trail Sled Snowmobiles (Trail Sleds)

Trail sleds are designed for groomed trails and comfort, offering two large cushioned seats for one or two riders. The air-cooled motors are designed for putting miles on over long distances without stopping (Vail Pass has 66,000 acres!). These machines are fantastic entry-level snowmobiles for anyone wanting to see the backcountry from the groomed trails on Vail Pass.

For advanced riders or outdoor enthusiasts looking for next level:

High-Performance Mountain Snowmobiles (Powder Sleds)

Powder sleds are for riders who want to push their limits and ride steep terrain. They have tons of power for “steep and deep” all day long. The motors are cooled by snow for riders who want to spend most of their time in the powder. Long rides on groomed trails are better suited to trail sleds (above). Equipped with Polaris Quickdrive, these machines have unmatched acceleration. Powder sleds are generally considered an excellent intermediate-to-advanced machine and are designed for single riders only.

Tow-In Skiing/Riding Utility Sleds

A utility sled is built to deliver performance wherever your snowmobiling day takes you in the backcountry. Utility sleds are primarily for pulling skiers and boarders with a tow rope to reach those hard-to-get-to powder lines. This is the ultimate experience for those who want to escape the crowds at the ski resorts. The aggressive tracks and wide skis on a utility sled keep riders on top of the snow and deliver the best off-trail performance with confident trail-handling at any speed.


Timbersleds have quickly become the fastest growing winter motorsport. Think dirt biking on the snow! Instead of front and back tires, the Timbersled has a large ski in front and a narrow snowmobile track on the back. Timbersleds are often referred to as Snowbikes, but they are not to be confused with the motorless snow bikes you may see at the ski resorts. Rocky Mountain Adventure Rentals was the first company in the entire state of Colorado to offer Timbersleds as a winter rental. We have spent countless hours testing and improving these machines for guest use in our high-altitude environment. 

Rocky Mountain Adventure Rentals has Three Winter Locations

-Near Vail in Red Cliff CO for unguided tours at the Vail Pass Recreation Area. (970) 471-8491

-Minturn CO for unguided tours on Vail Pass and Meadow Mountain. (970) 471-8491

-Buena Vista CO for both guided and unguided tours on Cottonwood Pass and the St. Elmo Trail. (719) 966-5233

Call us today to book your snowmobile or Timbersled rental for winter 2021-2022.

Eat, Sleep, Ride, Repeat- Winter Version

Our Summer Eat, Sleep, Ride, Repeat Package is so popular, we now have one for the winter season. It’s likely the most amazing deal you’ll find anywhere in Colorado for the 2021-2022 winter season. We’ve done all the planning and you will have all the fun! The Rocky Mountain Adventure Rentals Eat, Sleep, Ride, Repeat Winter Package includes all you need to get fed, rested, and stoked for a true adventure in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Make some fresh tracks and explore backcountry powder, glamp at the beautiful Green Bridge Inn in Red Cliff, Colorado and then explore a new area the next day. This amazing winter package can be one, two, or three days long!

Included in your Eat, Sleep, Ride, Repeat Winter Package is 10% off rentals from Rocky Mountain Adventure Rentals, 10% off 4 meals at Mango’s Mountain Grill, and 10% off 3 nights of lodging at Green Bridge Inn. This is the ultimate weekend or half-week adventure. See details below.

Our winter season typically begins end of November or early December, dependent on the Forest Service and Mother Nature.

Day One: Whether it’s your first time on a snowmobile or you are a seasoned rider, we’ve got the best machine for your ability. Your Rocky Mountain winter adventure begins as you head out the back door of Red Cliff, Colorado on Shrine Pass Road. Explore 66,000 acres of backcountry wonderland on Vail Pass and Camp Hale. Packed trails will guide the way for beginner riders and more experienced riders can venture off into playgrounds of fresh powder in open meadows or trees. Sensational views of the Gore and Sawatch Ranges provide perfect photo opportunities and awe-inspiring backdrops. Terrain types vary and are suitable for all levels.

Day Two: After resting up overnight at the Green Bridge Inn and plenty to eat at Mango’s Mountain Grill, you’re ready for another day of adventure. Skip the lines, crowds and boring chairlift rides at the ski resorts and make some fresh tracks on your skis or board in the backcountry. You don’t even have to “earn your turns.” You can ride up or be towed up on our exclusive utility snowmobiles, designed with equipment racks for skis or boards. If you’ve wanted to try backcountry skiing, this is the way to do it without hassle and within safe bounds.

Day Three: You’re a true outdoor adventure seeker and can’t get enough of the winter-time thrills. We get it! There’s more to do and see. We invite you to change up your machine and try out the fastest-growing winter sport- Timbersleds (think dirt biking on snow). Travel south to Buena Vista and explore Cottonwood Pass with a final destination at over 12,000 feet to a frozen alpine lake. The charming town of Buena Vista sits at the base of the Continental Divide with the backdrop of Colorado’s tallest mountain peaks. Cottonwood Pass is Colorado’s best-kept snowmobiling secret.

The Eat, Sleep, Ride, Repeat Winter Package was created by our local experts with YOU in mind. Likely your Colorado ski vacation time is never long enough and you want to make the most of it. Our local staff knows the Rocky Mountain backcountry like no one else. For you this means maximum fun and no guesswork. Consider us your local friends with the insider tips. We will listen to the particular wants and needs of your group and offer customized suggestions for each day of your stay in the Colorado mountains near Vail or Buena Vista, Colorado. Please give us a call today, we are eager to hear from you.

Red Cliff location (970) 471-8491 / Buena Vista location (719) 966-5233

*Minimum requirements to qualify for the Eat, Sleep, Ride, Repeat Winter Package are a 2-day rental from RMAR and a 1-night stay at the Green Bridge Inn. Holidays are excluded.

Snowmobiling Near Denver

Denver Snowmobiling: Where to ride

Those living on the front range of Colorado near Denver have direct access to both the central mountains and northern mountains for riding. Determining where to snowmobile comes down to what you’re looking for. Some locations are more remote and offer very little in the way of amenities such as fuel, restaurants and lodging while others are located just outside of town.

Where should I snowmobile if I’m a beginner or intermediate rider?

Vail Pass Recreation Area is your best bet if you’re new to the sport. Offering 66,000 acres of snowmobile terrain, Vail Pass is considered one of the best riding locations in the state. The terrain is a mix of hard packed, sometimes-groomed road and open powder fields. The towns of Red Cliff, Copper Mountain and Vail are nearby if you need lodging or food. There are typically large groups of riders out recreating if you find yourself needing help. The avalanche danger is slightly less than other areas but make no mistake, you need to bring a map and know where you are going. Vail Pass sees a lot of traffic on the weekends and there is a daily parking fee of $10 at the summit. Vail Pass Recreation Area is located off of I-70 at mile marker 190 – just 90 minutes from Denver in good traffic.

Where can I snowmobile near Denver that is unique but also offers lodging and restaurants?

Two great options:

Southwest of Denver: Take highway 285 out of Denver and head for Chaffee County. Home of our Buena Vista outpost, great restaurants, lodging, and one of the best breweries in the state – Eddyline. From Buena Vista, you will have easy access to Cottonwood Pass which offers wide open powder fields, no crowds, and breathtaking views of the collegiate peaks. This area is still considered a secret among Colorado riders but it is gaining in popularity. 

West of Denver: Take I-70 West from Denver and exit 171 towards Minturn. Go through Minturn and over Battle Mountain to the town of Red Cliff. Park your truck and trailer at Mango’s Mountain Grill or pick up some rentals from our Red Cliff outpost. Leave out of Red Cliff on Shrine Pass Road and explore thousands of acres in the Vail Pass Recreation area. Have a meal at Mango’s and stay the night at the Green Bridge Inn for more fun the next day.

Where should I snowmobile near Denver if I’m an advanced rider or looking for something more remote?

Located off of Highway 40, you will find Rabbit Ears Pass. Rabbit Ears is about an hour drive north out of Silverthorne, Colorado. Take Highway 9 from Silverthorne to Kremmling and then head west on highway 40. Rabbit Ears is a popular riding destination for Summit County and Steamboat locals and visitors. The advantage is that there are very few tourists which means you’ll be riding next to those who really know the terrain. Rabbit Ears Pass offers no amenities so be sure to pack enough fuel and food for the trip and always carry proper avalanche safety equipment and maps of the area. This is a true Colorado backcountry experience.

Green Bridge Inn

Guided and Unguided Snowmobile and Timbersled Rentals from RMAR

Timbersled Snow Bike Rentals

Our Timbersled Snow Bike rentals are ideal for intermediate riders of dirt bikes and can handle any terrain and any condition. Our adult Timbersled Snow Bikes are built using a KTM 450 SXF Body and we also offer the Timbersled ST Ripper for kids who want to ride. Learn more about Timbersled Snow Bike Rentals

Cottonwood Pass Snowmobile Tours

Snowmobile Rentals

We offer a variety of Trail Sleds for backcountry touring and High-performance Powder Sleds for big mountain riding from Polaris Industries including the Polaris Pro RMK850 Patriot. Each machine is professionally maintained by our Polaris certified mechanics. Learn more about Snowmobile Rentals

Snowmobiling Near Vail

Vail Snowmobiling: Where to ride

Vail, Colorado is known for world class skiing, but no winter vacation to Eagle County is complete without experiencing the phenomenal snowmobiling that can be had in the Vail Valley of Colorado.

Can You Snowmobile Near Vail Mountain Resort?

The short answer is no, you cannot. There is no snowmobiling allowed near the resort. There are however a few riding areas within 20 to 40 minutes depending on road conditions. The most popular spot is known as Vail Pass which offers close to 60,000 acres of pristine forest and tree line terrain in the Vail Pass Recreation Area. Other spots near Vail include the Piney Lake Region (a little more difficult to access than Vail Pass) as well as riding in the region known as Sylvan lakes which is a solid 40 minutes outside of Vail. Sylvan Lakes is a very remote region and should really only be ridden with a local who has backcountry expertise.

How Do You Access Vail Pass Snowmobiling?

There are three access points to Vail Pass. If you have your own machines, the Vail Pass summit along I-70 offers parking with spots for trailers for $10/day. There is also limited free parking along Highway 24 known as Tennessee Pass near Camp Hale. Download our Vail Pass Skiing Map here which indicates the parking locations. The third and BEST option is to rent snowmobiles from RMAR from our Red Cliff location or park with your own machines and trailer on the Red Cliff side of Shrine Road which provides direct access to Vail Pass. Lunch or dinner at Mango’s Mountain Grill will be one of the highlights of your snowmobiling day on Vail Pass.

Where is the Best Place to Stay When Snowmobiling Near Vail?

There are multiple hotels and vacation rentals in and near Vail that can serve as your base camp. Sonnenalp Vail and Lodge at Vail are just a few of our favorites. Rocky Mountain Adventure rentals offers pick up and drop off services to and from lodging or can refer you to a transportation company. For those of you who are looking to do more snowmobiling than skiing, your best lodging option is the Green Bridge Inn located in Red Cliff. The Green Bridge Inn is directly across the street from our RMAR Red Cliff location and the famous Mango’s Mountain Grill. 

Rocky Mountain Adventure Rentals offers snowmobiles for all levels of riders and we pride ourselves on the high quality of our sleds. Our Timbersled Snow Bike rentals are ideal for intermediate/advanced riders of dirt bikes and can handle any terrain and any condition. Our Timbersled Snow Bikes are built using a KTM 450 SXF Body.  Learn more about Timbersled Snow Bike Rentals

Cottonwood Pass Snowmobile Tours

Snowmobile Rentals

We offer a variety of Trail Sleds for backcountry touring and High-performance Powder Sleds for big mountain riding from Polaris Industries including the Polaris Pro RMK850 Patriot. Each machine is professionally maintained by our Polaris certified mechanics. Learn more about Snowmobile Rentals

See All Places to Ride Snowmobiles


Snowmobiling Near Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs Snowmobiling: Where to ride

Those living in Colorado Springs have easy access to Buena Vista where they can experience some of the best snowmobiling in the state. Legendary pro snowmobile rider Chris Burandt even calls Buena Vista home due to its world-class terrain.

Where should I ride if I’m a beginner or intermediate snowmobiler?

Cottonwood Pass just outside of Buena Vista offers wide open terrain that is great to learn on and fun for those who just like to speed through open powder fields. Cottonwood Pass offers both packed and unpacked trails for Powder riding and trail sled riding. For those who are new to the sport, we offer half-day guided tours that include instructional riding lessons.

Where should I ride if I’m an advanced snowmobiler?

The St. Elmo region just to the South of Buena Vista is known for its challenging terrain and deep snow. Located near Mt. Antero and in the shadows of Mt. Princeton, the riding in St. Elmo is for those who want to experience deep backcountry routes. We currently offer full-day timbersled rentals to explore the area with.

Where is the best place for lodging if I want to ride two or more days?

Buena Vista offers plenty of lodging options from AirBnB’s to Bed and Breakfast to Hotels and Resorts. We personally are big fans of the Surf Hotel located in the new downtown area of Buena Vista along with the Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort and Lodge.

Green Bridge Inn

Buena Vista Guided and Unguided Snowmobile and Timbersled Rentals from RMAR

Timbersled Snow Bike Rentals

Our Timbersled Snow Bike rentals are ideal for intermediate riders of dirt bikes and can handle any terrain and any condition. Our adult Timbersled Snow Bikes are built using a KTM 450 SXF Body and we also offer the Timbersled ST Ripper for kids who want to ride. Learn more about Timbersled Snow Bike Rentals

Cottonwood Pass Snowmobile Tours

Snowmobile Rentals

We offer a variety of Trail Sleds for backcountry touring and High-performance Powder Sleds for big mountain riding from Polaris Industries including the Polaris Pro RMK850 Patriot. Each machine is professionally maintained by our Polaris certified mechanics. Learn more about Snowmobile Rentals