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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 261 to 280 of 1,000+
      Open details for Rock Point Trail

      Rock Point Trail

      Very Easy
      0.6 km
      7 m
      0.5h

      The Rock Point Trail is a short hike to one of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison’s many overlooks. This particular lookout is a great stopping spot to get out of the car and stretch your legs. Hike the short path and be dumbfounded by the magnificence of the Black Canyon.

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      Open details for Cross Fissures Trail

      Cross Fissures Trail

      Very Easy
      0.5 km
      35 m
      0.5h

      The Cross Fissures Trail is a scenic lookout point along the South Rim of the Black Canyon. The short lollipop loop will guide you down to the fenced-in overlook. This path is great for families and hikers of all skill levels! Just make sure to bring your camera because you are going to want to remember this view.

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      Open details for Uplands Trail Hike

      Uplands Trail Hike

      Very Easy
      3.5 km
      89 m
      1h

      The Uplands Trail is a scenic hike through gambel oak and serviceberry scrubs on the South Rim of the Black Canyon. Set back from the canyon’s ledge, the Uplands Trail is perfect for kids that need to blow off some steam. Though the Uplands Trail doesn’t deliver inner canyon views, its connecting paths present the opportunity to return along the cliff's edge.

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      Open details for S.O.B Draw Hike

      S.O.B Draw Hike

      Hard
      3.4 km
      569 m
      2-3h

      If you are seeking a challenging hike into the inner canyon, then the S.O.B Draw Hike is your match. The S.O.B Draw Hike is a great introductory inner canyon hike, but don’t get us wrong, it is still extremely demanding. Situated on the North Rim of the Black Canyon, this hike will reward its adventurers with stunning views of the north facing walls on the way down and even better vistas from the river’s edge.

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      Open details for Long Draw Hike

      Long Draw Hike

      Very Hard
      2.7 km
      489 m
      2-2.5h

      The Long Draw Hike is an extreme excursion into the inner canyon. Reserved for experienced hikers, this trail requires adventurers to scramble loose rock screes and technical terrain. You will be anything but bored as you maneuver the Long Draw Hike.

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      Open details for Dead Horse Trail

      Dead Horse Trail

      Easy
      8.5 km
      208 m
      2-3h

      The Dead Horse Trail is a primitive trail atop the Black Canyon. The primitive path progresses away from the canyon’s edge and travels through lush Colorado vegetation. Be prepared to do some bushwhacking as parts of the path are overgrown. This lightly trafficked path will ultimately lead you to a hidden gem overlooking the Black Canyon and East Portal.

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      Open details for Pine Creek Hike

      Pine Creek Hike

      Very Easy
      3.9 km
      88 m
      1-1.5h

      Hike the Pine Creek Trail through the Black Canyon River valley. This walk is perfect for families or those seeking a relaxing hike along the river. If you enjoy the ambiance of running waters and stunning canyon vistas, then you will love the Pine Creek Trail.

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      Open details for Sun Park Trail

      Sun Park Trail

      Easy
      7.4 km
      209 m
      2-2.5h

      The Sun Park Trail is a connector trail in the Curecanti National Recreation Area. Hike the path up to a scenic vista and turnaround or connect onto the Beaver Creek Route. The Sun Park Trail itself is challenging enough to hike, but if you have more gas in the tank, consider continuing on. Walk through the dense aspen forest on rocky ridges up to brush meadows. Bring your camera because in the summer months the trail is dotted with wildflowers.

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      Open details for Sunset View Trail

      Sunset View Trail

      Very Easy
      0.2 km
      3 m
      0.5h

      The Sunset View Trail and Lookout is a great place to overlook the Black Canyon. As you probably guessed, it is also a crowd-favorite vista to watch the sunset over the impressive craggy cliffs. On your next adventure down the South Rim Road, ensure to make a quick pit stop at the Sunset View Trail and Lookout.

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      Open details for Chasm View South Rim Lookout Trail

      Chasm View South Rim Lookout Trail

      Very Easy
      0.2 km
      0 m
      0.5h

      The Chasm View South Rim Lookout Trail is arguably one of the best overlooks in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. This popular lookout presents dumbfounding views of the steepest cliffs in the Black Canyon. Hike the short path to the overlook and you may even see rock climbers and hikers scaling the north wall.

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      Open details for Balanced Rock View Trail

      Balanced Rock View Trail

      Very Easy
      0.2 km
      41 m
      0.5h

      The Balancing Rock View Trail leads to a lookout over the south walls of the Black Canyon. Enjoy the awe-inspiring vistas from the cliffs-edge viewing area and keep an eye out for hikers below! Don’t forget to peer through the overlook’s gate to get an up close and personal view of the Balancing Rock.

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      Open details for Squaw Mountain Hike

      Squaw Mountain Hike

      Easy
      6.6 km
      263 m
      2-2.5h

      The Squaw Mountain Hike is an awesome and accessible hike up to the summit of a Colorado Mountain. Adventure up the well-marked path to an old fire tower that has been converted into a rental property! Enjoy the panoramic views from the overlook and take yourself back in time to when this tower was an essential structure to safeguard the surrounding wilderness.

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      Open details for Hell’s Hole Hike

      Hell’s Hole Hike

      Moderate
      12.9 km
      583 m
      4-5.5h

      Hell’s Hole Hike is a demanding but stimulating hike through forested valleys. This adventure is reserved for those who don’t mind scrambling up rocky terrain and who enjoy a bit of a challenge. This woodland trail is a wonderful day hike through the mountainous landscape.

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      Open details for Fall River Lake Trail

      Fall River Lake Trail

      Very Easy
      1.6 km
      45 m
      0.5h

      A hike around a stunning crystalline lake? Yes, please! The Fall River Lake Trail is a wonderful adventure in the wilderness that hikers of all skill-levels will enjoy! Contrary to the name, you can enjoy this excursion year around, though the changing foliage in the fall does add a little je ne sais quoi.

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      Open details for Jones Pass Hike

      Jones Pass Hike

      Moderate
      11.4 km
      615 m
      3.5-5h

      The Jones Pass Trail is a popular route in the Arapaho National Forest. This adventure can be completed in several different ways. Drive the Jones Pass Trail, hike it, bike it, run it or snowshoe it. Whether you come in the peak of summer or in the dead of winter, we can almost guarantee that you will encounter many adventurers on this path!

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      Open details for Square Top Mountain Trail

      Square Top Mountain Trail

      Hard
      11.3 km
      748 m
      4-5.5h

      Avoid the crowds of the neighboring 14er hikes. The Square Mountain Hike is an isolated hidden gem that provides the same, if not better, dumbfounding mountainous panoramas than its busier counterparts. Hike up the meadow trail, past crystalline alpine lakes and up the rocky summit. This trail is one of a kind, and you are going to want to add it to your Colorado peaks itinerary—right now!

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      Open details for Seaman Reservoir Trail

      Seaman Reservoir Trail

      Easy
      5.1 km
      123 m
      1-1.5h

      Hike along the Seaman Reservoir Trail and enjoy the stunning mountainous landscape that hem its shores. Hike up the North Fork Cache La Poudre River before summiting the dam to the reservoir. This trail is great for all skill levels and kids! Kids will especially enjoy the grandeur of the dam and its rushing waters.

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      Open details for Wichita State Plane Wreck

      Wichita State Plane Wreck

      Moderate
      2.7 km
      149 m
      1h

      On October 2, 1970, a plane carrying the Wichita State Football Team went down near Georgetown, Colorado. With a devastating 31 fatalities, there were 9 sole survivors. The catastrophic crash left tons of steel metal wedged into the hillside. Tourists can explore the wreck and pay respect to the memorial at the crash site.

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      Open details for Butler Gulch Trail

      Butler Gulch Trail

      Moderate
      8.9 km
      552 m
      3-4.5h

      The Butler Gulch Trail is an incredible day hike through the Arapaho Forest. This hike offers several outdoor adventure possibilities. You can bike the trail, hike it, snowshoe it, or ski it. The Butler Gulch Trail is more than just an adventurer’s haven, it is also a photographer’s dream. Revel in the diverse scenery that guides you among towering fir and spruce trees before revealing panoramic vistas of the encompassing snow-capped peaks. With just the right amount of intensity, this beautiful trail is at the top of our list.

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      Open details for Bison Peak Summit

      Bison Peak Summit

      Hard
      19.0 km
      1,139 m
      6.5-9h

      Hike the Bison Peak Summit Trail to one of the most unique mountain plateaus. Dotted with large granite sculptures, Bison Peak is well worth exploring. Adventure to Bison Peak as a lengthy day hike, or consider camping on the summit, sheltered by large boulders. This hike is one for the books. On your next adventure to the Lost Creek Wilderness, make sure you hike the Bison Peak Summit Trail.

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