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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 61 to 80 of 1,000+
      Open details for Devil’s Lookout Trail

      Devil’s Lookout Trail

      Very Easy
      0.8 km
      20 m
      0.5h

      The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park has an exuberant amount of scenic outlooks. The Devil’s Lookout Trail provides a unique overlook of the Black Canyon and the Gunnison River from the cliff's edge. Adventure along this trail with kids and hikers of all skill levels for a picturesque view of the craggy canyon.

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      Open details for Greyrock Trail

      Greyrock Trail

      Moderate
      11.6 km
      737 m
      4-5.5h

      Greyrock Trail lives up to its name. This trail will give you sights of the rocky summit from the plains, and vistas of the Rocky Mountains and river valleys from the summit. This trail is one of our favorites in the area. Share the meadow-cloaked trail with Colorado wildlife, and enjoy the fresh mountain air as you summit the rocky mountain that showcases the quintessential Colorado landscapes. You’ve got to add this excursion to your adventure bucket list.

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      Open details for Chicago Basin Hike

      Chicago Basin Hike

      Hard
      24.5 km
      1,339 m
      8-11.5h

      The Chicago Basin Hike is a challenging, but non-technical, adventure in the San Juan Mountains that will take you uphill for stunning views of the alpine terrain. While out hiking the trail, you will work your way through the forested basin alongside Needle Creek, before making the final push through the alpine landscape to reach the shores of the Twin lakes. Hikers should take note that, while this route isn’t overly technical, it will still require a good amount of hiking experience.

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      Open details for Devil’s Punchbowl Waterfall Trail

      Devil’s Punchbowl Waterfall Trail

      Easy
      3.5 km
      155 m
      1-1.5h

      The Devil’s Punchbowl Waterfall Trail is a short, albeit extremely rugged, adventure near Crystal, Colorado that will take you along a rocky ATV road to reach a series of waterfalls. While out on the trail, you will carefully navigate a rugged mountain road and keep an eye out for passing vehicles, before arriving at the scenic location of the cascading Devil’s Punchbowl Waterfall. Although this route is pretty short and the elevation gain is fairly low, this route is still not suitable for children, due to the rugged nature of the ground underneath.

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      Open details for Mount Massive Trail

      Mount Massive Trail

      Very Hard
      22.5 km
      1,338 m
      7.5-11h

      Ascending a Colorado 14er is at the top of many adventurers’ lists, and the Mount Massive Trail is usually the go-to hike. With an enticing name, this extreme adventure up to the summit of Colorado’s second-highest peak is a fulfilling experience. Requiring an intrepid spirit, this challenging adventure demands endurance and persistence, so make sure you are prepared!

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      Open details for Montville Nature Trail

      Montville Nature Trail

      Very Easy
      0.8 km
      27 m
      0.5h

      Immerse yourself in the wilderness as you wander the Montville Nature Trail. This accessible adventure can be enjoyed year-round by the whole family. Enjoy the area’s flora and fauna whilst reveling in panoramas of the dunes and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

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      Open details for Helen Hunt Falls

      Helen Hunt Falls

      Easy
      0.2 km
      6 m
      0.5h

      The Helen Hunt Falls is a beautiful cascade situated just west of Colorado Springs. Surging over 30ft from the North Cheyenne Creek, the waterfall is a short walk from the parking lot. Family-friendly and a great location for a picnic, this site is a popular day trip into the fresh air.

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      Open details for Chasm Lake Hike

      Chasm Lake Hike

      Hard
      13.4 km
      812 m
      4.5-6.5h

      This Chasm Lake hike might be short, but it’s deceptively challenging, ascending steeply towards the iconic ‘Diamond Face’ of Longs Peak. You’ll pass above the treeline into stunning alpine tundra, past gushing waterfalls and wildflower-studded trails, before emerging at Chasm Lake itself: a beautiful glacial tarn surrounded by an amphitheater of dark rock.

      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
      Intermediate (Square)
      Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
      Open details for Lake Isabelle Trail

      Lake Isabelle Trail

      Moderate
      16.0 km
      354 m
      4-5.5h

      The fantastic Lake Isabelle trail is one of the best Nederland hikes, and one of our favorites in the Indian Peaks Wilderness! You’ll need to arrive early, as the parking lot tends to fill up very quickly in peak season; however, this beautiful alpine lake with views of the Isabelle Glacier is well worth the trouble.

      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 New York Creek Trail

      New York Creek Trail

      Hard
      14.0 km
      649 m
      4.5-6h

      The less-traveled trail up New York Creek is certainly a fantastic way to hike away from the bustling crowds in Aspen’s city centre. Though the access is slightly more challenging, the hike up New York Creek to the high alpine ridge at the end is a real treat.

      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 Bighorn Creek Trail

      Bighorn Creek Trail

      Hard
      12.1 km
      650 m
      4-5.5h

      Bighorn Creek Trail is a diverse hike that takes you through a variety of trees, and meadows of wildflowers. There is even an old cabin located a mile past Bighorn Creek Falls. The trail offers views of Vail Mountain and city, and the Gore Range.

      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 Lair o’ the Bear Park

      Lair o’ the Bear Park

      Moderate
      11.6 km
      335 m
      3-4h

      The perfect example of a Colorado trail, Lair o’ the Bear Park provides a great hike through the forest and beautiful views of the snow-capped peaks. This walk also holds a secret: views of the beautifully restored Dunafon Castle!

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.5
      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 Dillon Pinnacles Hike

      Dillon Pinnacles Hike

      Easy
      6.0 km
      147 m
      1.5-2h

      The Dillon Pinnacles Hike is an epic adventure in the Curecanti National Recreation Area near the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park. This trail will guide you along the shores of the Mesa Reservoir and up to the base of the impressive Dillon Mesa. Now what are you waiting for? Lace up your sneakers and set out on this awesome adventure.

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      Open details for Blue Lake Hike

      Blue Lake Hike

      Easy
      16.6 km
      547 m
      4.5-6h

      The Blue Lake Hike in the Roosevelt National Forest is a wonderful woodland hike. Hike through the Rocky Mountain wilderness on a lush, forested path to a crystalline, blue-hued, alpine lake. This is a wonderful day hike through the Front Range’s forested environment, and we couldn’t recommend it more.

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      Open details for Columbine Lake Trail #509

      Columbine Lake Trail #509

      Hard
      13.4 km
      894 m
      5-7h

      Columbine Lake Trail #509 is a fantastic hiking route in the San Juan Mountains that will take you up to a breathtaking alpine lake with some of the best views in Colorado. While out on the trail you will work your way up a steep slope that features 16 switchbacks, before being greeted by an amazing alpine scene of rugged mountain peaks and strikingly blue water. Hikers should take note that, while camping is permitted at the lake, the alpine meadow ecosystem there is fragile, so take extra care and leave the area exactly as you found it.

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      Open details for Maroon Bells Scenic Loop Trail

      Maroon Bells Scenic Loop Trail

      Easy
      3.1 km
      49 m
      0.5-1h

      Hiking the Maroon Bells Scenic Loop Trail is a spectacular family-friendly adventure near Aspen, Colorado that will take you around the shores of a charming lake with views of nearby mountain peaks. While out on the trail, you will skirt around the edge of Maroon Lake and pass by a beaver dam, taking in the amazing Rocky Mountain views as you complete a short loop over some rapids along Maroon Creek. Although there is ample parking at the trailhead, you will likely want to arrive early to beat out the crowds and enjoy the scenic views.

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      Open details for Huron Peak North Trail

      Huron Peak North Trail

      Hard
      10.6 km
      1,042 m
      4.5-6.5h

      The Huron Peak North Trail is an epic adventure up to the summit of a Colorado fourteener (14er) in the Sawatch Mountain Range. Immerse yourself in the mountainous landscape and revel in the vistas of the neighboring snow-capped peaks. Perfect for an introductory hike to 14er ascents, the Huron Peak North Trail is easy to navigate and only requires a Class 2 scramble up to the summit.

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      Open details for High and Star Dune Loop

      High and Star Dune Loop

      Hard
      12.9 km
      399 m
      3.5-4.5h

      The High and Star Dune Loop’s beauty is unparalleled. Located in the Great Sand Dunes National Park, this adventure climbs up the highest dunes in North America. Exhibiting the grandeur of other-worldly terrain, this trek also reveals the distinct contrast between Colorado’s topographies—from the snow-capped Rockies to the sandy rolling dunes.

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      No Reviews
      Open details for Pulpit Rock Trail

      Pulpit Rock Trail

      Easy
      6.8 km
      170 m
      1.5-2.5h

      The Pulpit Rock Trail is an exciting adventure through the Austin Bluffs Open Space in Colorado Springs. One of the highest points in the city, the unique geological feature is in and of itself an epic view, but the vistas from the ridgeline are the cherry on top!

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      No Reviews
      Open details for Gore Valley Trail (East Vail)

      Gore Valley Trail (East Vail)

      Very Easy
      6.0 km
      24 m
      1-1.5h

      The East Vail portion of the Gore Valley Trail takes a shared hike and bike path. You’ll pass below a vibrant red sandstone cliff band while following Gore Creek. The easy walk leads to the meadows and aspen groves on the east end of the golf course. Pack a picnic for this one!

      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.

      Other Activities in Colorado

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