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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 221 to 240 of 1,000+
      Open details for Middle St. Vrain River Trail

      Middle St. Vrain River Trail

      10.0 km
      214 m

      This hike is all about the ambiance. The Middle St. Vrain River Trail is a peaceful hike through a beautiful, forested river valley. The sounds of the running river, cascading waterfalls and wind whistling through the trees will put you at ease as you walk. This trail is great for hikers of almost all skill-levels!

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      Open details for Buchanan Pass Trail

      Buchanan Pass Trail

      25.3 km
      1,195 m

      The Buchanan Pass Trail is a demanding adventure through the Indian Peaks Wilderness. This hike is sure to get your blood pumping. If you are seeking a challenge, consider the Buchanan Pass Trail. You will maneuver roots, rocks, and downed trees all before your steep ascent to Buchanan Pass. The jaw dropping views from the pass are well worth the effort.

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      Open details for Gourd Lake Hike

      Gourd Lake Hike

      26.6 km
      843 m

      Gourd Lake Hike is a rewarding adventure in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. The hike up to Gourd Lake will get your blood pumping as you navigate the rocky forested terrain and exposed switchbacks. Gourd Lake itself is worth the exertion, but the views of Copper Peak and Thunderbolt Peak are a great bonus!

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      Open details for Upper Diamond Lake Hike

      Upper Diamond Lake Hike

      12.9 km
      631 m

      Two lakes in one trail? You can’t beat it! The Upper Diamond Lake Hike is a great adventure that will take you through the beautiful Colorado terrain before rewarding you with views of crystalline alpine lakes hemmed with snow covered peaks. This is one of our favorite hikes in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, and we think it could be yours too.

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      Open details for Fourth of July Mine via Arapaho Pass Trail

      Fourth of July Mine via Arapaho Pass Trail

      6.6 km
      345 m

      This trail is one of our favorites! The Fourth of July Mine via Arapaho Pass Hike stuns with views of quintessential Colorado scenery. With several junctions and adjoining trails, the possibilities are endless for this hike! Choose to stop at the historical mine or adventure further towards Arapaho Peak or Dorothy Lake. This moderate trail is a great day hike, or a perfect first leg of a backpacking expedition!

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      Open details for Mount Audubon and Paiute Peak Hike

      Mount Audubon and Paiute Peak Hike

      13.5 km
      939 m

      Mount Audubon and Paiute Peak Hike is a demanding trail in the Colorado Peaks. The extreme elevation gain and technical terrain is packed into this short route. This hike is not for the faint of heart, but it is rewarding. You will pass three lakes and summit two peaks on this short circuit trail.

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      Open details for Niwot Ridge Trail

      Niwot Ridge Trail

      10.1 km
      337 m

      The Niwot Ridge Trail is an enjoyable, family friendly hike through the Brainard Lake Recreational Area. This trail is an easy hike up the Niwot Ridge and delivers awe-inspiring views of Long Lake in the foreground of the craggy Indian Peaks.

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      Open details for Betty and Bob Lakes Hike

      Betty and Bob Lakes Hike

      20.0 km
      792 m

      The Betty and Bob Lakes Hike is a stunning day hike that scales the boundary of the Continental Divide. Strenuous, but not exhausting, this trail is a perfect hike for novice hikers seeking a challenge and experts alike. Betty and Bob Lakes are also sought-after fly-fishing destinations.

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      Open details for Navajo Peak Hike

      Navajo Peak Hike

      18.0 km
      950 m

      Navajo Peak Hike is a demanding adventure up to the summit by way of an airplane gully. Years ago, a plane crashed into the side of the Navajo Peak and remnants of the plane remain on the flank of the summit. The expedition to the summit is both undeniably scenic and sobering. The hike to the peak is a Class 3 scramble up a steep rocky talus, but once summited, Navajo Peak delivers unparalleled views of the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

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      Open details for Mount Jasper Hike

      Mount Jasper Hike

      13.0 km
      917 m

      The Mount Jasper Hike is a great excursion for those who don’t mind going off the beaten path. The majority of this hike is through an unmarked trail. Hikers will have to bring their compass and trail GPS for this one! Hike through the dense alpine woodlands, over the ridge and past Xanadu Lake before commencing your ascent to Mount Jasper’s summit.

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      Open details for Red Deer Lake Trail

      Red Deer Lake Trail

      22.4 km
      605 m

      Discover one of the Indian Peak Wilderness’s hidden treasures. The Deer Lake Trail is a beautiful hike through verdant woodlands up to an idyllic alpine lake. From the lake, enjoy views of Sawtooth Mountain and Saint Vrain Mountain. Nestled among craggy peaks in a river valley, this isolated lake is like no other.

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      Open details for Arapaho Pass Trail

      Arapaho Pass Trail

      10.0 km
      536 m

      The Arapaho Pass Trail is a stunning hike through the wooded Colorado terrain up to the rocky pass. The sights from Arapaho Pass are unparalleled—you will be rewarded with views of the quintessential alpine lakes, snow-dusted summits, and forested valleys below. Short but steep, the trail is great for novice hikers and beginners alike.

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      Open details for Shoshoni Peak via Pawnee Pass Hike

      Shoshoni Peak via Pawnee Pass Hike

      15.4 km
      807 m

      The Shoshoni Peak via Pawnee Pass Hike is one for the books. Pass not one, but two shimmering alpine lakes before beginning your challenging trek up to the summit. This trail is not for the faint of heart. Navigate tightly wound switchbacks and find your way across the saddle before scrambling up to the peak. This trail is perfect for those seeking an adventure in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

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      Open details for Saint Vrain Mountain Trail

      Saint Vrain Mountain Trail

      13.2 km
      987 m

      One hike that traverses through two Wilderness Areas? Sign us up! The Saint Vrain Mountain sits on the north border of the Indian Peaks Wilderness and the Rocky Mountain National Park. Two great words to describe this hike would be steep and scenic! The extreme elevation gain is packed into this moderate day hike. Trust us, your legs will be feeling it by the time you summit Saint Vrain Mountain. Though it is tough, we love this hike, and we know you will enjoy it too.

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      Open details for Mount Toll Hike

      Mount Toll Hike

      12.4 km
      770 m

      The Mount Toll Hike is a popular adventure in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, and rightfully so. This hike has the perfect balance of demanding and enjoyable terrain. Begin this trek in the alpine woods, passing shimmering blue lakes before veering off the beaten path and exploring the ridge to the summit! This Mount Toll Hike is a must-add to your Colorado hiking itinerary.

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      Open details for Old Baldy Mountain Hike

      Old Baldy Mountain Hike

      13.4 km
      868 m

      Old Baldy Mountain Hike. How could you not want to hike this trail with a name like that? The Old Baldy Mountain Hike is a challenging excursion up to the summit which has incredible views of neighboring cloud scraping peaks and the forested valleys below! The initial segment of the trail is usually quite busy, but when you turn off to summit the Mountain, you might just have the trail all to yourself.

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      Open details for Caribou Hill Trail

      Caribou Hill Trail

      Very Easy
      5.3 km
      242 m

      The Caribou Trail is a perfect adventure for the whole family. Walk through vast meadows dotted with stunning wildflowers before ascending Caribou Hill. Though small compared to the Indian Peaks, Caribou Hill still delivers some stunning views of the Colorado Mountain Ranges and the meadowed landscape. Continue to the Klondike Ridge if you are feeling adventurous. This trail is manageable for hikers of all skill levels. Get ready and head out to the Caribou Hill Trail.

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      Open details for Skyscraper Reservoir via Woodland Trail

      Skyscraper Reservoir via Woodland Trail

      16.4 km
      690 m

      If you enjoy wooded hiking trails, then you will love the Skyscraper Reservoir via Woodland Trail. Hike through lush aspen forests, past waterfalls and grazing moose before the trail opens up to the Skyscraper Reservoir. Don’t get us wrong, you will still get stunning views of the craggy peaks from the reservoir, but the majority of this trail traverses through the woodlands.

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      Open details for Gibraltar Lakes Hike

      Gibraltar Lakes Hike

      26.6 km
      772 m

      The Gibraltar Lakes Hike is a hidden gem among the hundreds of trails in the Indian Peaks. Hike along the border of the Rocky Mountain National Park, near Saint Vrain Mountain. Conquer this primitive trail in a day or take you time and camp at the lakes overnight, if you have a permit. This hike is a great adventure for experienced hikers looking to explore a more isolated section of the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

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      Open details for Arapaho Pass via Monarch Lake Hike

      Arapaho Pass via Monarch Lake Hike

      Very Hard
      21.9 km
      1,182 m

      The Arapaho Pass via Monarch Lake Hike is a challenging point to point trail through the Indian Peaks Wilderness. The primitive trail on the west side of the divide demands careful footing and skillful navigation. This hike is tough, but well worth the effort. One of our favorite things about this hike is the fact that it is one way. You don’t need to backtrack through the sights and trails you’re familiar with, instead each mile in the other direction is a new adventure through the wilderness—how fun!

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