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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 201 to 220 of 1,000+
      Open details for Stone Lake and Upper Lake Trail

      Stone Lake and Upper Lake Trail

      Hard
      19.3 km
      1,186 m
      6.5-9.5h

      Stone Lake and Upper Lake Trail is a gratifying hike in Indian Peaks Wilderness. The extreme elevation gain is no joke; this trail is not for the faint-hearted! However, the steep climb through lush pine forests and rocky terrain is well worth the effort when Stone Lake reveals an awe-inspiring view of the Continental Divide and Indian Peaks. It’s a tough hike, so you’ll want to bring your hiking poles for this one!

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      Open details for King Lake Hike

      King Lake Hike

      Moderate
      19.6 km
      775 m
      5.5-8h

      King Lake Hike is a stunning day hike up the boundary of the continental divide. Challenging, but not exhausting, this is a great excursion for novice and experienced hikers alike. The King Lake Hike can be enjoyed year-round with proper snowshoes and equipment but is most frequented in the summer months. Surprisingly, King Lake is one of the most popular fly-fishing destinations in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

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      Open details for Corona Lake Trail

      Corona Lake Trail

      Very Easy
      3.2 km
      137 m
      1-1.5h

      Adventure to the Corona Lake Trail in the James Peak Protection Area, you will not be disappointed. Flanked by the Continental Divide in the west, this short trail outshines many with its unparalleled vistas of the mountain ranges and alpine lakes. Laden with fresh streams and wildflowers, the walk to the vantage point is just as picturesque.

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      Open details for Strawberry Lake Hike

      Strawberry Lake Hike

      Easy
      6.0 km
      272 m
      2-2.5h

      Strawberry Lake Hike is a perfect adventure through shaded lush woodlands to a quintessential alpine lake. Ensure to watch your step when you approach the lake as it is surrounded by fragile wetlands! Don’t worry though, there is a dock that allows visitors to revel in the dramatic backdrop of Colorado snow-dusted summits without compromising the integrity of the delicate environment. This hike is definitely one for the books.

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      Open details for Mitchell Lake Trail

      Mitchell Lake Trail

      Very Easy
      2.9 km
      68 m
      0.5-1h

      Mitchell Lake Trail will guide visitors through the picturesque alpine forests toward awe-inspiring views of the lake and the Indian Peaks. Suitable for hikers of all skill levels and ages, this trail is a crowd favorite! As you progress along the path be on the lookout for wildlife as hikers often encounter moose in this area. Snap a few pictures but maintain a safe distance from these large creatures!

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      Open details for Monarch Lake Hike

      Monarch Lake Hike

      Very Easy
      6.4 km
      85 m
      1.5-2h

      Monarch Lake Hike is simple and enjoyable. The easy hike up to the lake does not mean that it won’t deliver amazing sights. This family friendly trail passes through shaded aspen forests, over creeks and along the shoreline of the lake. Be sure to pack a swimsuit on a warm day, as the lake is quite refreshing! If you prefer winter outings, the Monarch Lake Hike is a great option for a snowshoe and cross-country skiing excursion!

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      Open details for Buchanan Pass and Camp Dick Hike

      Buchanan Pass and Camp Dick Hike

      Easy
      13.3 km
      307 m
      3-4.5h

      The Buchanan Pass and Camp Dick Hike is a stimulating trail interspersed with dense forests and expansive meadows. Following the curves of the St. Vrain creek, hikers are treated to the calming ambiance of babbling waters as they ascend towards Buchanan Pass. With limited elevation gain, this trail is great for novice hikers and families! This hike is a tad lengthy so make sure to pack snacks and water to refuel! Four-legged friends are also more than welcome, as long as they stay on-leash!

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      Open details for Isabelle Glacier Hike

      Isabelle Glacier Hike

      Hard
      13.5 km
      506 m
      4-5.5h

      If you are looking for a challenging but rewarding excursion, the Isabelle Glacier Hike is perfect. Though fairly demanding, the awe-inspiring vistas of the Indian Peaks as you summit the talus field will motivate even the most discouraged hikers. Saddled between the Shoshone and Apache Peaks, the Isabelle Glacier hike is jaw dropping and well worth the effort.

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      Open details for Mount Audubon Hike

      Mount Audubon Hike

      Moderate
      11.9 km
      814 m
      4.5-6h

      The Mount Audubon Hike is one of the most picturesque adventures to one of Colorado’s 13ers. Challenging, but not impossible, this trail is one of the most popular in the Brainard Lake Recreational Area. The awe-inspiring panoramic views of the Continental Divide and surrounding Front Range compensate for the rugged, rocky terrain to the summit. This trail is a great introduction to the Colorado peaks, but do not expect it to be easy!

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      Open details for Jasper Lake Trail

      Jasper Lake Trail

      Moderate
      15.8 km
      592 m
      4.5-6h

      Jasper Lake Trail is a nice, half-day hike through the Indian Peaks Wilderness to Jasper Lake. Following the curves of the Jasper Creek, this route guides hikers through the scenic, meadow laden valley between Chittenden and Skyscraper Peak before delivering you to Jasper Lake. The vistas from this alpine lake are like no other! Bask in the beauty of the Colorado Ranges and spot the towns of Nederland and Eldora in the distance!

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      Open details for Caribou Pass via Arapaho Pass Trail

      Caribou Pass via Arapaho Pass Trail

      Moderate
      13.0 km
      682 m
      4-6h

      This trail is scenic from start to finish. The Caribou Pass via Arapaho Pass Trail will guide you through the verdant alpine forest, across quaint log bridges, through meadows and up to the Caribou Pass. When you summit the pass, you will be rewarded with unparalleled vistas of the sky-scraping Indian Peaks and lush alpine forest below. We love this trail and if you don’t mind venturing off the beaten path, then you will too.

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      Open details for Jean Lunning and Pawnee Pass Hike

      Jean Lunning and Pawnee Pass Hike

      Very Easy
      4.7 km
      55 m
      1-1.5h

      The Jean Lunning Trail and Pawnee Pass Hike is a beautiful trail in the Brainard Lake Recreational Area. This relaxed adventure is perfect for hikers of all skill levels! Walk along the shores of Long Lake and through meadows dotted with gorgeous wildflowers! Keep an eye out for deer and moose as they roam this area.

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      Open details for Caribou Lake via Arapaho Pass Hike

      Caribou Lake via Arapaho Pass Hike

      Hard
      14.2 km
      793 m
      4.5-6.5h

      Looking for an awesome hike through the Indian Peaks Wilderness? The Caribou Lake via Arapaho Pass Hike delivers breathtaking vistas from the Continental Divide before placing hikers in front of a crystalline alpine lake. Caribou Lake via Arapaho Pass Trail is an epic day hike, but an even better backpacking route! Camp along Caribou Lake’s shore and rest up before venturing back out into the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

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      Open details for South Arapaho Peak via Arapaho Glacier Hike

      South Arapaho Peak via Arapaho Glacier Hike

      Hard
      13.0 km
      985 m
      5-7h

      This trail is a crowd favorite! The South Arapaho Peak via Arapaho Glacier Hike is an extraordinary trail up one of the tallest mountains in the Indian Peaks Range. Ultimately delivering hikers to the peak, this trail passes vast wildflower meadows, across alpine streams and through aspen forests. This hike is a bit challenging, so make sure you are prepared with gear and ready to scramble up the scree near the summit! We know this hike is worth the effort! You will be able to explore the largest glacier in the Front Range before summiting one of the highest peaks.

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      Open details for Niwot Mountain via Left Hand Reservoir Road Hike

      Niwot Mountain via Left Hand Reservoir Road Hike

      Easy
      9.0 km
      431 m
      3-4h

      The Niwot Mountain via Left Hand Reservoir Road Hike is a great trail that can be hiked or snowshoed! This hike will guide you up the Niwot Mountain, through the alpine forest, and to the Left-Hand Reservoir. The trail is underdeveloped, so be prepared for some off-roading! Follow the GPS to ensure you are on the right route. Though a bit primitive, this trail is a perfect half day hike in the Indian Peaks.

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      Open details for Devil’s Thumb Lake Trail

      Devil’s Thumb Lake Trail

      Moderate
      19.5 km
      752 m
      5.5-7.5h

      The Devil’s Thumb Lake Hike is a picturesque excursion in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. From the trailhead all the way to the lake, there are stunning sights to motivate tired hikers. The gradual elevation of the trail will get your blood pumping as you summit to Devil’s Thumb Lake. Though other trails culminate at the lake, the Devil’s Thumb Lake Hike may be the most impressive.

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      Open details for High Lonesome Loop Hike

      High Lonesome Loop Hike

      Very Hard
      26.6 km
      1,077 m
      7.5-11h

      The High Lonesome Loop Hike is a strenuous trail in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. This trail is perfect for experienced hikers who are looking for a challenging day hike, or an overnight backpacking excursion. The High Lonesome Trail guides adventurers through the Indian Peaks and up the Continental Divide. Passing through different typographies, this trail will leave the most experienced hikers dumbfounded. The impressive scenery from the Continental Divide makes it all worth the effort. Make sure to add this hike to your Colorado itinerary!

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      Open details for Watanga Lake via Roaring Fork Trail

      Watanga Lake via Roaring Fork Trail

      Moderate
      13.2 km
      768 m
      4.5-6h

      Watanga Lake via Roaring Fork Trail is a unique day hike in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Suitable for novice hikers and older children, this trail is a perfect introduction to the Colorado Mountain Ranges. Views of wildflower meadows, lush aspen woodlands, craggy peaks and a crystalline alpine lake await!

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      Open details for Columbine Lake via Caribou Pass Hike

      Columbine Lake via Caribou Pass Hike

      Moderate
      10.1 km
      319 m
      2.5-3.5h

      Looking for a hike that will get your blood pumping but won’t exhaust you? Columbine Lake via Caribou Pass Hike is a fantastic moderate hike in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Though steep in places, this hike is not overwhelmingly challenging. The path will guide you through quintessential Colorado terrain: lush aspen forests, babbling brooks, and over a rocky talus field to Columbine Lake.

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      Open details for Beaver Reservoir to Coney Lake Hike

      Beaver Reservoir to Coney Lake Hike

      Moderate
      20.1 km
      547 m
      5-7h

      Beaver Reservoir to Coney Lake Hike is a lengthy, but manageable hike through the Colorado Wilderness. The beauty of this trail is that it can be enjoyed in the summer season as a scenic hike through the woodlands or in the winter as a challenging snowshoe or cross-country skiing route.

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