The first half of this route goes north on the Colorado River Trail from the Colorado River Trailhead off Trail Ridge Rd. (which is closed in the winter north of the turn for this trailhead). This is an easy, usually tracked-out, trail with snowshoers and cross-country skiers.
After just under a half mile, turn left onto the Red Mountain Trail, cross Opposition Creek, and begin the gradual climb up along the contours of the toe of Red Mountain.
The grade will begin to increase along this second half of the ascent and route finding can be tricky when there isn't a skin track. We used the Powder Project mobile app
to keep us within the direction of the summer trail.
Near the endpoint, we talked with a ranger who had been further up toward Red Mountain. Not having a specific destination in mind, we followed his skin track up into a thin aspen grove and readied for the descent.
With that in mind, there are options to continue further up the hillside if conditions allow.