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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 41 to 60 of 1,000+
      Open details for Lake Nighthorse Trail

      Lake Nighthorse Trail

      Moderate
      3.7 km
      56 m
      1h

      Hiking the Lake Nighthorse Trail is a fantastic family-friendly activity outside of Durango, Colorado that will lead you along the shores of a scenic lake. While out on the trail, you will meander along the water’s edge and take in the beautifully scenic views across the water. It may be a quick and easy route, but for the low level of effort required the views are outstanding!

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      Open details for Green Lake Trail

      Green Lake Trail

      Moderate
      13.7 km
      553 m
      4-5.5h

      Hiking the Green Lake Trail is an exceptional outdoor activity in Crested Butte, Colorado that will see you climb uphill through the forest to reach a charming lake. While out on the trail, you will leave the town behind and traverse the serene woodlands, working through several tough climbs to reach the shores of Green Lake beneath Mount Axtell. This is a beautifully scenic route that can only be done in the summer months due to dangerous avalanche conditions in the area.

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      Open details for Mount of the Holy Cross Trail

      Mount of the Holy Cross Trail

      Very Hard
      18.8 km
      1,686 m
      8-11h

      Are you an experienced hiker seeking your next big challenge? Well, look no further! The Mount of the Holy Cross Trail is an incredibly rewarding, but extremely technical ascent up to the summit of a famous Colorado fourteener (14er). With a snowfield cross etched into the southeastern face of the peak, this stunning mountain is one of the most photographed summits in the Sawatch Mountain Range. Go see for yourself, you will be astounded by the unique scene.

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      Open details for Dunes Overlook Hike

      Dunes Overlook Hike

      Easy
      4.3 km
      144 m
      1-1.5h

      Hiking the Dunes Overlook Trail is an easy-going, scenic adventure in the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Exhibiting the diversity of the area’s flora and fauna whilst exposing epic panoramas of the other-worldly dunes, this trek is tough to beat. If you are seeking a short and sweet expedition in the park, then we may have found your match.

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      Open details for Paint Mines Trail

      Paint Mines Trail

      Easy
      5.5 km
      102 m
      1.5-2h

      The Paint Mines Trail is a unique adventure near Colorado Springs that exhibits the natural beauty and diversity of the area. Located in the plains, these corridors etched into the landscape reveal historical, ecological, archeological, and geological significance, which can be traced back to the prehistoric and historic eras.

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      Open details for St. Mary’s Glacier

      St. Mary’s Glacier

      Easy
      2.3 km
      133 m
      1h

      The hike to St. Mary’s Glacier is a great family day out! St Mary’s Glacier is a short yet beautiful hike in the Colorado Front Range featuring a beautiful lake and views of St. Mary’s Glacier.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      10.0
      Technical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Open details for Gore Lake Trail

      Gore Lake Trail

      Very Hard
      20.4 km
      823 m
      6-8h

      Gore Lake Trail is a full-day hike to the beautiful, alpine lake. The trail winds through aspen groves, meadows, and pine stands in the beautiful Gore Creek drainage. There are some steep sections, but it’s all worth it. Things level out when you get to the lake where you may be greeted by mountain goats.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.9
      Technical Difficulty
      Intermediate (Square)
      Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Advanced (Diamond)
      Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
      Open details for Bear Peak

      Bear Peak

      Hard
      12.9 km
      862 m
      4.5-6.5h

      The Bear Peak is a challenging hike that summits one of Boulder’s highest peaks. The summit of Bear Peak offers epic panoramic views of the Front Range, Boulder, and Indian Peaks Wilderness. This is one of Boulder’s best hikes!

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.8
      Technical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Intermediate (Square)
      Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
      Open details for Midway Pass

      Midway Pass

      Moderate
      11.6 km
      505 m
      3.5-5h

      This hike is a good way to avoid the crowds but still get a fantastic hiking experience. Heading up to Midway Pass does involve slightly more below-timberline-switchbacking than other hikes; however, the generally quiet views from the high alpine plateau are definitely a fair reward for the work.

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

      Warner Point Trail

      Easy
      2.4 km
      124 m
      1h

      Looking for a relaxed hike in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park? The Warner Point Trail is the perfect balance through various Colorado landscapes. Wind through a lush forest and out past a sagebrush and juniper field to a lookout point. This hike is great for adventurers of all skill-levels and families.

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      Open details for Colorado Mines Peak Hike

      Colorado Mines Peak Hike

      Moderate
      6.1 km
      344 m
      2-3h

      The Colorado Mines Peak Hike is a neat excursion in the Rocky Mountains. Trek up a winding service road to the Mines Peak summit and weather station. The Mines Peak summit is dotted with equipment that the Colorado Mines School uses to aid in aviation navigation through the Rocky Mountains.

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      Open details for Piedra River Trail

      Piedra River Trail

      Easy
      11.7 km
      221 m
      2.5-4h

      Hiking the Piedra River Trail is a great intermediate-length adventure in Colorado that will allow you to enjoy the scenic views along a winding river. While out on the trail, you will follow along the riverbank in a southwestern direction, enjoying the views of the surrounding trees and hills as you meander through the valley. Hikers should take note that bears and cougars are sometimes spotted along the trail, so be sure to bring bear spray and exercise all precautions.

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      Open details for Lost Lake Trail

      Lost Lake Trail

      Easy
      5.6 km
      131 m
      1.5-2h

      Hiking the Lost Lake Trail is a fantastic outdoor experience in Mesa Lakes, Colorado that the entire family will be able to enjoy. While out on the trail, you will pass through tranquil stretches of woodland terrain while experiencing beautiful views overlooking several emerald lakes spread throughout the area. This is a great trail, but you will definitely want to bring plenty of bug repellent to keep the critters at bay!

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      Open details for La Plata Peak North Trail

      La Plata Peak North Trail

      Easy
      15.4 km
      1,332 m
      6.5-9h

      Is climbing a Colorado 14er on the top of your adventure bucket list too? If so, the La Plata North Trail is the perfect summit hike that possesses the ideal ratio between strenuity and scenery. Immerse yourself in the high country as you ascend Colorado’s 5th highest peak and let the impeccable vistas of the surrounding mountainous landscape motivate you.

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      Open details for Dunes Trail via Pinyon Flats

      Dunes Trail via Pinyon Flats

      Moderate
      7.2 km
      291 m
      2-3h

      Adventure to the top of High Dune along the Dunes Trail via Pinyon Flats. Immerse yourself in the sandy terrain and revel in Colorado’s topographic diversity as you admire the snow-capped Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the sandy mounds that consume the landscape.

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      No Reviews
      Open details for Seven Bridges Trail

      Seven Bridges Trail

      Easy
      5.6 km
      278 m
      2-2.5h

      The Seven Bridges Trail is an epic adventure through the North Cheyenne Creek Canyon lined with woodlands, rock outcroppings, and over seven wood bridges. This versatile fresh air escape can be enjoyed by the whole family, year-round. The next time you find yourself near Colorado Springs, this hike is well worth the detour.

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      Open details for Ridge Route

      Ridge Route

      Easy
      3.9 km
      170 m
      1-1.5h

      Ridge Route is a hike located on Vail Mountain, connecting Eagle’s Nest to Wildwood. The trail offers breath-taking views of the Holy Cross Wilderness south of Vail. The impressive Mount of the Holy Cross, at 4,270 m tall, is visible from Ridge Route.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.9
      Technical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Open details for Crater Lake

      Crater Lake

      Easy
      6.6 km
      177 m
      1.5-2.5h

      A classic hike through the Maroon Bells Wilderness, the trek out to Crater Lake leaves the intense crowds of Maroon Lake and yields a more intimate view of the North Maroon Peak.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.8
      Technical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Open details for Beaver Brook Trail

      Beaver Brook Trail

      Easy
      8.3 km
      383 m
      2.5-3.5h

      The Beaver Brook trail is one of Colorado's most adventurous hikes, where you’ll leave the city behind and find yourself immersed in nature. Experience the best of all of Colorado’s trails, rolled into one, as you stroll alongside hills, rocks, wildflowers, animals, river crossings and more!

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.8
      Technical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Open details for Lake Dorothy

      Lake Dorothy

      Hard
      12.5 km
      594 m
      4-5.5h

      This hike through the Indian Peaks has an awesome reward: Lake Dorothy. Lake Dorothy is a beautiful alpine lake at the base of Mount Neva. The stunning mountain backdrop of Mount Neva is something special.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.8
      Technical Difficulty
      Intermediate (Square)
      Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Intermediate (Square)
      Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.

      Other Activities in Colorado

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