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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 241 to 260 of 1,000+
      Open details for Cascade Creek Trail

      Cascade Creek Trail

      Moderate
      25.7 km
      708 m
      6.5-9h

      The Cascade Creek Trail to Mirror Lake and Crater Lake is truly breathtaking. Pass through lush aspen groves, through meadows, past waterfalls and up to not one, but two crystal clear alpine lakes. Crater Lake and Mirror Lake are set in the foreground of the craggy Indian Peaks, presenting a perfect photo-op. We love this hike, and we think it is one of the most scenic adventures in the Indian Peaks.

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      Open details for Shoshoni and Pawnee Peaks Hike

      Shoshoni and Pawnee Peaks Hike

      Hard
      21.7 km
      1,020 m
      6.5-9.5h

      Reserved for experienced hikers, this trail will surely get your blood pumping. The Shoshoni and Pawnee Peaks Hike will give you an adrenaline rush as you scramble to summit two craggy peaks in the Colorado Ranges. Challenge yourself by embarking on this stimulating adventure in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

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      Open details for Waldrop North Trail

      Waldrop North Trail

      Very Easy
      9.7 km
      192 m
      2-3h

      The Waldrop North Trail is a quick out-and-back trail into the Brainard Lake Recreational Area. This hike is perfect for families with small children and those looking for a relaxing walk to Brainard Lake. This versatile trail can be enjoyed in the summer and winter months alike! Hike it in the summer and snowshoe or cross-country ski it in the winter!

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      Open details for Sourdough Trail via South St. Vrain Hike

      Sourdough Trail via South St. Vrain Hike

      Very Easy
      8.5 km
      217 m
      2-3h

      Looking for a relaxing hike through the lush Colorado woodlands? The Sourdough Trail via South St. Vrain Hike is a great walk through the Brainard Lake Recreational Area. Meander this path as it follows the curves of the St. Vrain Creek and through the aspen forest. Bring your family along too! This hike is easy and short, so it is perfect for impatient children too!

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      Open details for Caribou District Peaks Hike

      Caribou District Peaks Hike

      Moderate
      12.7 km
      744 m
      4.5-6h

      Caribou District Peaks Hike is a rough, unmarked trail that summits six small mountains. Traversing rocky terrain and overgrown trails, you will have to bushwhack for most of this hike. Though underdeveloped, this hike has a lot to offer. Hike through an old mining district where rusted remnants remain. This hike is anything but unexciting, so grab your GPS and head out.

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      Open details for Betty and Bob Lakes via High Lonesome Trail

      Betty and Bob Lakes via High Lonesome Trail

      Easy
      6.0 km
      343 m
      2-3h

      Betty and Bob Lakes via High Lonesome Trail is a short out-and-back trail to three of the most scenic lakes nestled among the Indian Peaks. Usually, these lakes are accessed by much longer and challenging trails, but we’ve got a shortcut for you!

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      Open details for Beaver Reservoir to Monarch Lake Hike

      Beaver Reservoir to Monarch Lake Hike

      Hard
      26.7 km
      975 m
      7.5-10.5h

      Beaver Reservoir to Monarch Lake Hike is a one-way trail in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. We love this hike because you aren’t retracing your steps back to the carpark. Instead, this hike will guide you through various Colorado terrains and up and over the Continental Divide. This hike is not for the faint of heart, but if you are seeking a stimulating excursion through the Indian Peaks, then you have found your next adventure.

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      Open details for Beaver Creek Trail

      Beaver Creek Trail

      Moderate
      20.3 km
      706 m
      5.5-8h

      Beaver Creek Trail is a great wooded hike through the Colorado wilderness. With picturesque babbling brooks and past vast wildflower meadows, you will be delighted by the sights and ambiance that the Indian Peaks Wilderness has to offer. This trail culminates on a rocky ridge on the east side of Mount Audubon, where you will be rewarded with up close and personal views of the impressive peak.

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      Open details for Buchanan Pass Loop

      Buchanan Pass Loop

      Easy
      15.0 km
      391 m
      3.5-5h

      The Buchanan Pass Loop is an awesome adventure trail. Adults and kids alike will enjoy this wildflower-speckled trail as it passes cascading waterfalls and running creeks. Compared to many other hikes in the area, this trail has limited elevation gain and fairly easy terrain. This hike is a bit lengthy, but it is scenic the whole way through.

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      Open details for Caribou Pass Hike

      Caribou Pass Hike

      Moderate
      10.0 km
      523 m
      3-4.5h

      The Caribou Pass Trail scales the west side of the Continental Divide. This short but steep hike will get your blood pumping as you ascend towards Colorado’s craggy peaks. If you’ve still got some gas left in the tank at the pass, consider scrambling the ridge up to Santanta Peak or head down to Caribou Lake. Either way, be sure to add this hike to your Indian Peaks Wilderness itinerary, you won’t want to miss out.

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      Open details for Neversink Trail

      Neversink Trail

      Very Easy
      2.1 km
      3 m
      0.5h

      The Neversink Trail is a short out-and-back trail along the banks of the Gunnison River. This year-round trail is great for walking, running, and snowshoeing. Don’t be surprised if you see anglers as you adventure the trail, this branch of the Gunnison River is perfect for fly fishing!

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      Open details for Rim Rock Nature Hike

      Rim Rock Nature Hike

      Very Easy
      2.4 km
      57 m
      0.5-1h

      The Rim Rock Nature Trail is a great hike for the whole family. This adventure will guide you along the edge of the Black Canyon and you will be rewarded with sounds of the running river below. This hike is awesome as an early morning walk. The rising sun proves to be a stunning backdrop over the Black Canyon.

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      Open details for Curecanti Creek Trail

      Curecanti Creek Trail

      Easy
      6.0 km
      255 m
      2-2.5h

      The Curecanti Creek Trail is a scenic hike through various Colorado terrains. Hike the ridges of the upper Black Canyon before descending down into a picturesque river valley. Enjoy the ambient sounds of the running creek and the smell of the lush mountain forest as you walk along the running creek. The Curecanti Creek Trail is unparalleled in its lovely terrain and amazing vistas.

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      Open details for High Point Trail

      High Point Trail

      Very Easy
      0.5 km
      10 m
      0.5h

      The High Point Trail is another breathtaking lookout in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Walk along the lovely trail dotted with wildflowers and juniper before the trail opens up to a phenomenal overlook of the Colorado Wilderness. Southward facing, this lookout provides a unique vantage point compared to many others within the park.

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      Open details for Cedar Point Nature Trail

      Cedar Point Nature Trail

      Very Easy
      0.6 km
      16 m
      0.5h

      Adventure the Cedar Point Nature Trail towards breathtaking views of the Painted Wall and surrounding steep walled cliffs. Positioned on the ledge of the canyon, the Cedar Point Nature Trail lookout delivers amazing and distinct views of the narrow gorge.

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      Open details for Oak Flat Loop Trail

      Oak Flat Loop Trail

      Easy
      2.1 km
      95 m
      0.5-1h

      The Oak Flat Loop is a great little hike in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison Wilderness. This loop will guide you through lush aspen forests, shrub meadows, and past two scenic lookouts. This exceptional trail can be enjoyed by hikers of all skill levels, and it is family-friendly! What are you waiting for? Let’s go!

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      Open details for East Portal Trail

      East Portal Trail

      Very Easy
      1.3 km
      6 m
      0.5h

      Follow the East Portal Trail along the Gunnison Riverbanks. Surrounded by the flanking canyon cliffs, you won’t be able to help but wonder how this natural wonder came to be. Nestled among the strikingly tall gorge walls, you will be rewarded with an appreciation of how big they really are.

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      Open details for Deadhorse Loop Trail

      Deadhorse Loop Trail

      Easy
      6.6 km
      171 m
      1.5-2.5h

      If you are looking to escape the typical Black Canyon of the Gunnison lookout hikes, the Deadhorse Loop Trail will prove to be a welcome change. Don’t get us wrong, you will still get those quintessential Black Canyon and Gunnison River views! Meander through the Colorado desert, past lush aspen trees and along the wildflower dotted path. People of all ages and of all skill levels will enjoy this hike!

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      Open details for Warner Route Hike

      Warner Route Hike

      Very Hard
      6.9 km
      930 m
      4-5.5h

      The Warner Route Hike is a strenuous trail down difficult, unmarked terrain. This excursion is not for the faint of heart and is reserved for experienced hikers only. Although this trail is extreme, we love it! The hike down into the inner canyon will give you more than your daily dose of adrenaline as you navigate the technical terrain.

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      Open details for Pulpit Rock Lookout Trail

      Pulpit Rock Lookout Trail

      Very Easy
      0.3 km
      10 m
      0.5h

      The Pulpit Rock Lookout Trail is a brief path to an awe-inspiring vantage point over the Black Canyon. Admire the Painted Wall, craggy cliffs and hoodoos from the viewpoint. This lookout is a great spot to hop out of the car with the family and revel in the diverse Colorado scenery.

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