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    Where to hike in Colorado

    Hiking In Colorado

    State in United States

    Hiking in Colorado is a bucket list activity for many adventure travelers. The Rocky Mountain state is known for the staggering beauty and grandeur of its peaks, offering countless opportunities for hiking and trekking. If you’re craving a fun adventure in some epic landscapes, look no further! Colorado has everything you’re looking for and more.

    The Rocky Mountains rise out of the Great Plains, creating a series of craggy granite peaks that tower over the landscape. Their striking beauty is reflected in the serene alpine lakes that litter the park, and below the treeline the mountains are clothed in aromatic forests of pine and aspen. This is Colorado at its finest, with so many wonderful opportunities for hiking you simply won’t know where to start.

    Hiking in Colorado isn’t just about the Rockies. The Indian Peaks, Vail, Denver, and Aspen all offer a range of pretty forested trails, high ridge walks, and wide expansive meadows covered with flowers in early summer. This sunny state boasts a wealth of riches when it comes to hiking. So what are you waiting for? Check out our guide to hiking in Colorado.

    Types Of Hiking In Colorado

    Colorado’s spectacular landscapes offer tremendous hiking possibilities, whatever your tastes and preferences. If you’re looking for challenging ascents and daring ridge walks, head to Rocky Mountain National Park or the Indian Peaks, where you’ll find some strenuous hikes and incredible panoramas.

    For those looking for moderate, fun hikes surrounded by incredible scenery, Vail, Boulder, and Aspen offer plenty of fantastic trails teeming with wildlife and interesting foliage. Some Colorado trails pack in a lot of variety, with waterfalls, lakes, rivers, wild meadows, craggy ridges, and rocky peaks, so you’ll never want to stop exploring.

    Finally, if you’re traveling with younger kids or simply looking for a relaxing stroll, you’ll find easy low-level hikes all across the state, with plenty to entertain younger hikers.

    Easy Hikes In Colorado

    Maroon Lake Hike: If you haven’t got much time in the Colorado Rockies, but want to stretch your legs and take in some marvelous scenery, try this short hike along Maroon Lake. It’s a popular route, but the view across the lake to North Maroon Peak makes it all worthwhile. This is one of the most picturesque easy hikes in Colorado.

    Ouzel Falls Hike: This Ouzel Falls hike is an easy, accessible route suitable for hikers of all ages and fitness levels! Although it’s just a short walk, the scenery here really packs a punch and you’ll get the chance to see a series of beautiful cascading waterfalls. This easy hike is best experienced in autumn when the leaves turn and the forest is at its best.

    Family Hikes In Colorado

    Sugarloaf Mountain Hike: The iconic Sugarloaf Mountain provides one of the best views of Rocky Mountain National Park, and is a short, family-friendly hike that kids of all ages will enjoy. There are a few steep switchbacks but it’s a manageable trek and the views are simply magnificent.

    Enchanted Forest Trail Hike: If you’re looking for a magical day out with the kids, you can’t go wrong with this trail through the Enchanted Forest in Apex Park, Denver. At 9.3km it’s a relatively long walk for kids, but the sights, sounds, and smells of this otherworldly forest will keep them distracted! If they’ve still got some energy at the end of the hike, visit the Heritage Amusement Park for more fun and games.

    Day Hikes In Colorado

    Buckskin Pass Hike: If you only have time to do one hike in the Aspen region, make this incredible day hike to the top of Buckskin Pass. Beginning at the stunning Maroon Lake, the trail rises steeply up past the Geneva Lake Trail. Once you finally reach the top, after a somewhat grueling climb, you’ll get a magnificent panorama across to Snowmass Mountain.

    Nymph, Dream and Emerald Lakes Hike: Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most beautiful places for hiking in the United States, and this wonderful day hike will take you on a tour of some of the park’s stunning lakes. Take in the lovely Nymph Lake, covered in floating lilies, and marvel at the way in which Hallett Peak is reflected in the waters of Emerald Lake. However, the best views are reserved for the trail up to Lake Haiyaha. This hike is accessible, varied, and one of the most popular in the park.

    Challenging Hikes In Colorado

    Lone Eagle Peak Hike: One of our favorite challenging hikes in Colorado is the stunning Lone Eagle Peak in the Indian Peaks region. This epic trek takes you across some rugged terrain, past tumbling waterfalls and glacier-fed alpine lakes. Lone Eagle Peak is known as Colorado’s most picturesque mountain and this hike shows it off at its best, reflected in the crystal waters of Mirror Lake.

    Gore Lake Trail: The beautiful alpine Gore Lake is the destination on this challenging hike, and you’ll need plenty of energy in order to reach it. Although the first part of the route through the Eagle’s Nest Wilderness Area is relatively easy and family-friendly, after 6.9km the trail rises steeply, ascending the valley through the forest. Look out for mountain goats when you reach the top and enjoy a well-deserved rest at the stunning Gore Lake.

    Best Hikes In Colorado

    Cathedral Lake Hike: Do you have a head for heights? Then why not try this amazing trek to Cathedral Lake, a stunning alpine lake at the base of Cathedral Mountain. The route to the top is fairly strenuous, but the rewards are incomparable. Enjoy views over Malemute Peak, Leahy Peak, and the ridges and crags of the Rocky Mountains.

    Bear Peak: Looking for a hiking challenge and one of the best treks in Boulder? This Bear Peak hike is an epic climb up some steep and rocky terrain, but the views at the top are a fitting reward. Bear Peak is one of the five tallest peaks along the Boulder Front Range and a great option for hikers looking to get in shape for more adventurous treks.

    Beaver Brook Trail: There are many fantastic hiking trails in Denver, but this exciting route along the Beaver Brook Trail is one of our favorites. It’s not too challenging, but you’ll need to cross a few creeks and do a little scrambling over the rocks and ledges. You’ll be hiking along a route lined with pine trees and populated by birds, butterflies and all kinds of wildlife. Look out for the buffalo herd along I-70!

    Arapaho Glacier Trail Hike: This incredible hike will lead you all the way to the Arapaho Glacier and offers an incredible view of the Continental Divide and Indian Peaks. However, it’s not for the faint-hearted and you may need hiking poles to help you get to the top. The hike may be steep, but the views are truly epic.

    Bluebird Lake Hike: If you’re looking for a way to get off the beaten track and away from the crowds in Rocky Mountain National Park, this beautiful hike may be just what you need. Bluebird Lake is in the lesser-known Wild Basin region of the park and features dense pine forests, cascading waterfalls, and some of the most breathtaking views in the park.

    Pitkin Lake Trail Hike: Looking for a great day of hiking in Vail? Look no further than this adventurous day hike through the Eagle’s Nest Wilderness Area. There are a few steep climbs, but the hike isn’t too strenuous, with plenty of variety. The route takes you from rushing creeks and aspen forests to beautiful meadows and tranquil alpine lakes. The dramatic view at Pitkin Lake is worth all your efforts and makes this one of the best hikes in Colorado.

    Crater Lake Hike: The trek out to Crater Lake is an Aspen classic and a must for anyone who wants to escape the crowds of Maroon Lake. This trail will lead you down a less-traveled road where you can see North Maroon Peak from a different angle. The fantastic vista at the east side of Crater Lake is simply stunning.

    Lair o’the Bear Park: This fun hike offers everything of the best that Colorado has to offer – a gorgeous forest hike, views of snow-capped peaks, and a secret castle hidden away in the hills! Dunafon Castle is a restored castle nestled in the gorgeous Colorado scenery, and this hike offers the best view of its enigmatic towers. The hike is an enjoyable, moderate trek and the perfect way to spend an afternoon outdoors.

    Lake Dorothy Hike: Set against the incredible backdrop of Mount Neva in the Indian Peaks, Lake Dorothy is one of the prettiest lakes in Colorado. The trail leads you up through thick pine forests until it rises above the treeline, revealing some incredible vistas over the craggy mountains. Lake Dorothy, surrounded by these epic peaks, is simply stunning.

    Lake Haiyaha: Lake Haiyaha is one of the finest gems in Rocky Mountain National Park, and the steep hike up to it is a treat for keen trekkers. The lake itself is surrounded by boulders and jagged rocks, and a series of magnificent peaks form a remarkable backdrop. You’ll get an incredible view of Chaos Canyon and the two mountains that rise on either side: Otis Peak and Hallet Peak.

    When Is The Best Time To Hike In Colorado?

    Colorado’s diverse terrain means that hiking is possible in some areas throughout the year. Low-elevation trails in the foothills close to the big cities are accessible even through the winter, as are some of the trails in the eastern grasslands and western deserts. In the Rocky Mountains, the hiking season usually runs from late spring to fall, although you should expect the highest trails to only be open between July and September. Early or late snows can also affect possibilities for hiking during the shoulder season. As with any mountain hiking, always check the weather forecast and take advice from local guides before you set off.

    In the west of the state, the mountains tail off into orange desert canyons and plateaus, creating very different conditions for hiking. Here the best seasons for hiking are spring and fall, to avoid the blazing summer sun. These desert trails are best avoided in the extreme weather of summer and winter, as conditions can change quickly, unexpectedly cutting off trails.

    Best Regions For Hiking in Colorado

    Colorado boasts some of the most incredible scenery in the United States and is blessed with several amazing regions for hiking. Many hikers are drawn here for the splendor of Rocky Mountain National Park, 265,000 acres of epic mountains, crystal lakes, cascading waterfalls, and wide, grassy meadows. Nearby Denver might be a big city, but it offers easy access to some fabulous walking trails, teeming with wildlife.

    Boulder and Aspen are also popular cities that offer fantastic opportunities for hiking, especially if you’re looking for accessible, family-friendly trails. Vail might be best known as a ski resort, but in the summer months you’ll find vast meadows of wildflowers and beautiful forested hillsides. Finally, the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area is perhaps Colorado’s finest hidden gem, a lesser-visited region with some rewarding and challenging hikes over rugged, wild terrain.

    Other Outdoor Activities in Colorado

    Although hiking is one of the most popular things to do, there are many other outdoor activities in Colorado! The area around Boulder is perfect for mountain biking and road biking, as well as offering fabulous hiking opportunities. If you like to ski and snowboard, head to Vail, or try your hand at snowshoeing in the Indian Peaks. Alternatively, head to Rocky Mountain National Park for some really fun scrambles.

    How To Plan A Trip To Colorado

    Are you ready to plan your hiking trip to Colorado? If you’re looking for advice, top tips, and recommendations, why not check out our Indian Peaks guide, Aspen guide, Denver guide, Rocky Mountain National Park guide, Vail guide, and Boulder guide! We’ve put together everything you need to know, from transport advice to recommended trails and guides. Planning a hiking trip has never been so easy!

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    Hiking regions in Colorado

    Best Hikes in Colorado

    Showing 181 to 200 of 1,000+
      Open details for Brady Lake Trail

      Brady Lake Trail

      Easy
      4.3 km
      216 m
      1.5-2h

      The Brady Lake Trail is a charming nature walk in the Holy Cross Wilderness. This stunning adventure exhibits the beauty of the Colorado wilderness as it treks through woodlands up to the basin that reveals dumfounding vistas of the neighboring snow-capped peaks from the shores of the shimmering lake.

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      Open details for Red Rock Rim and Greenlee Loop

      Red Rock Rim and Greenlee Loop

      Easy
      8.7 km
      259 m
      2.5-3h

      Explore the Red Rock Canyon Open Space as you venture the Red Rock Rim and Greenlee Loop. The circuit hike through the park reveals the grandeur and uniqueness of the red rock bluffs and canyons that decorate the landscape. This family-friendly adventure is a must-add to your Colorado hiking itinerary.

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      Open details for Gem Lake and Balanced Rock

      Gem Lake and Balanced Rock

      Moderate
      11.6 km
      475 m
      3.5-4.5h

      Aptly named, the Gem Lake and Balanced Rock hike is a great hike close to Estes Park. This hike is located in the Northern Side of RMNP, in the Lumpy Ridge Area. This unique trail has you hiking through lumps of rocks, beautiful aspen trees and has great views into Estes Park. Gem Lake truly is a gem, and acts as a gateway to a truly unique rock formation - Balanced Rock.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.3
      Technical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Open details for Round Mountain Nature Trail

      Round Mountain Nature Trail

      Very Easy
      3.1 km
      129 m
      1-1.5h

      If you are seeking a short hike to let the kids burn off some energy, then the Round Mountain Nature Trail is your goldmine. Hike along an old service road through striking ponderosa pine trees before culminating at an impressive rock hut that overlooks Big Thompson Canyon. Kids will love exploring the rock hut and you will love the stunning scenery. This trail is a win-win.

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      Open details for Engineer Mountain Trail

      Engineer Mountain Trail

      Hard
      20.4 km
      947 m
      6-8.5h

      Hiking the Engineer Mountain Trail is a fun, albeit challenging, adventure in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado that will take you through the rugged landscape just below the summit. While out on the trail, you will climb uphill through the forests and meadows that make up the lower slopes of Engineer Mountain, passing just below the summit while taking in amazing views of the rugged peak and surrounding landscape. While this route doesn’t climb up to the summit of the peak, it is still an exceptionally scenic journey that is perfectly suited for those who don’t want to challenge themselves with technical terrain.

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      Open details for Mount Sanitas

      Mount Sanitas

      Easy
      5.3 km
      372 m
      2-3h

      The Mount Sanitas hike is a popular route just outside of Boulder. This hike takes you along a rocky ridge line with great views of Boulder Valley from the rapid (read: leg burning!) elevation gain before reaching the summit of Mt Sanitas.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.4
      Technical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Open details for Sprague Lake Hike

      Sprague Lake Hike

      Very Easy
      1.3 km
      10 m
      0.5h

      Everybody should hike to Sprague Lake in Colorado. The Sprague Lake hike is the trail you need to do, especially if you only have a few hours to spend in the Rocky Mountain National Park. This hike is short and easy. It’s a great walk for families, but still gives you unforgettable views. We think Sprague Lake is a great place to glimpse into the rest of the Rocky Mountain National Park.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.3
      Technical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Open details for Dowdy Lake Trail

      Dowdy Lake Trail

      Very Easy
      3.7 km
      17 m
      0.5-1h

      Hike the Dowdy Lake Trail around the lovely shoreline. Enjoy sights of paddlers, kayakers and anglers all enjoying what Dowdy Lake has to offer. This trail is perfect for a family nature excursion in the Colorado Wilderness. Kids will love exploring the shoreline and you’ll love the scenic vistas that encompass the lake.

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      Open details for Beaver Meadows Loop

      Beaver Meadows Loop

      Very Easy
      6.9 km
      275 m
      2-3h

      The Beaver Meadows Loop hike is an easier hike with great views of Longs Peak and a good spot to hear the elk bugle in the fall. This hike will take you through open meadows, woods and over streams to take in the views of Rocky Mountain National Park and see the elk.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.2
      Technical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Open details for Mount Flora Hike

      Mount Flora Hike

      Moderate
      10.0 km
      542 m
      3.5-4.5h

      Hike the Mount Flora Trail up the Continental Divide and enjoy overwhelming 360-degree vistas of the surrounding Front Range. This hike is challenging, but manageable and well worth the effort! The next time you find yourself near Idaho Springs, make sure you plan an adventure day to Mount Flora.

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      Open details for Ouzel Falls

      Ouzel Falls

      Very Easy
      8.7 km
      379 m
      2.5-3.5h

      The Ouzel Falls hike is perfect for a relaxing, easier hike. This is a great trail for families or simply a nice half day meandering through Rocky Mountain National Park. The trail to Ouzel Falls is a less travelled hike in RMNP, as you get not one, but three stunning waterfalls.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.1
      Technical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Open details for Horsetooth Mountain Hike

      Horsetooth Mountain Hike

      Moderate
      14.3 km
      609 m
      4-6h

      The Horsetooth Mountain Hike guides its hikers through various landscapes up to a stunning lookout. Hike through wildflower plains, through pine trees, and up to the Horsetooth rock. This trail is a great day hike in the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space that will challenge you enough but won’t overly exhaust you.

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      Open details for Royal Arch Trail

      Royal Arch Trail

      Moderate
      6.0 km
      583 m
      2.5-3.5h

      The Royal Arch trail takes you to a large arch in the Boulder Flatirons that is hidden just out of view. We love to combine the hike to Royal Arch with a visit to the First Flatiron. You can only see Royal Arch if you hike it!

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.7
      Technical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Intermediate (Square)
      Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
      Open details for Cascade Falls

      Cascade Falls

      Easy
      11.0 km
      122 m
      2.5-3h

      RMNP’s Cascade Falls hike is a relatively easy hike that will take you to the West side of Rocky Mountain National Park. This part of RMNP is a little less traveled and the sights are just as amazing. Cascade Falls is one of the best waterfall hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.3
      Technical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Open details for Horsetooth Falls Loop

      Horsetooth Falls Loop

      Easy
      4.7 km
      177 m
      1.5-2h

      Hike the lovely lollipop loop up to Horsetooth Falls. The Horsetooth Falls Loop is a wonderful nature trail that the whole family will enjoy. Hike through grassy plains, beneath towering pine trees and up to an overlook and cascading waterfall. This hike is an awesome excursion in the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space.

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      Open details for Mills Lake

      Mills Lake

      Easy
      8.7 km
      294 m
      2.5-3.5h

      The hike to Mills Lake is an easy, busy trail that is perfect for a family walk, or you can opt to take a quick detour off one of the longer trails in the area. Mills Lake is an ideal spot for a picnic, so be sure to bring some goodies for when you reach the picturesque lakeshore.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.7
      Technical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Open details for Boulder Creek Path

      Boulder Creek Path

      Easy
      7.4 km
      108 m
      1.5-2.5h

      Taking a hike along Boulder Creek Trail is a perfect family-friendly hike through Boulder Canyon along Boulder Creek. With a paved trail at the start changing to a wide gravel trail, it is perfect for a hike with the family or a down day from the other bigger climbs in the Boulder area!

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.3
      Technical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Open details for Brainard Lake Hike

      Brainard Lake Hike

      Easy
      10.1 km
      169 m
      2.5-3h

      The Brainard Lake Hike delivers panoramic views of Brainard Lake, Indian Peaks, the Continental Divide and surrounding alpine forests! This popular trail is spectacular in the summer but can be equally enjoyed in the winter as a snowshoeing trail in the off-season.

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      Open details for Devil’s Thumb Pass

      Devil’s Thumb Pass

      Hard
      11.1 km
      672 m
      4-5.5h

      Steep and scenic are two words often used to describe the Devil’s Thumb Pass hike. Reserved for experienced hikers, this trail is not for the faint of heart. A lengthy and steep ascent through pine forests and meadows rewards hikers with breathtaking views above the tree line. The Devil’s Thumb Pass is a demanding excursion that summits the Continental Divide.

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      Open details for Blue Lake and Little Blue Lake Hike

      Blue Lake and Little Blue Lake Hike

      Moderate
      10.6 km
      440 m
      3-4.5h

      The Blue Lake and Little Blue Lake Hike is a perfect excursion for adventurers who appreciate the ambiance of a serene lake and babbling brook but crave the excitement of scrambling and going off the beaten path. This trail is a perfect balance between tranquil and exhilarating. Starting the trek through pine woodlands, the trail progresses through wildflower meadows, past waterfalls and lakes, over rocky ridges and exposes 360° panoramic views of the Indian Peaks and the Continental Divide.

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