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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 81 to 100 of 1,000+
      Open details for Centennial Cone Trail

      Centennial Cone Trail

      Easy
      7.7 km
      348 m
      2.5-3.5h

      The Centennial Cone trail encompassing over 24.1 km of multi-use pathways, encompassingthe beauty of Clear Creek Canyon and far enough away from the crowds that you’ll feel as if you’ve escaped to the backcountry. It’s a popular trail with locals and once you experience the natural beauty for yourself, you’ll understand why!

      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
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Open details for Lake Haiyaha

      Lake Haiyaha

      Moderate
      6.0 km
      243 m
      1.5-2.5h

      The hike to Lake Haiyaha is a classic trail which offers you breathtaking rewards in exchange for your hard effort. Lake Haiyaha is quite a steep trail but well worth the amazing alpine lake nestled into a panoramic mountain cirque!

      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
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Open details for Maroon Lake

      Maroon Lake

      Very Easy
      2.4 km
      58 m
      0.5-1h

      Although crowded, the quick hike along Maroon Lake is definitely a must for anyone spending time in Aspen. It is said that the view across Maroon Lake with North Maroon Peak in the background is the most photographed scene in the Colorado Rockies.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.6
      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 Dragon Point Trail

      Dragon Point Trail

      Very Easy
      0.6 km
      18 m
      0.5h

      The Dragon Point Trail is a short walk to a grand lookout over the narrow walled Black Canyon and the Gunnison River below. Lookout over the impressive marbled gneiss cliff. This natural wonder will stimulate your imagination as you try and recognize the supposed dragons carved out by the pegmatite marbling.

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      Open details for Berthoud Pass Trail

      Berthoud Pass Trail

      Moderate
      10.0 km
      485 m
      3-4.5h

      The Berthoud Pass Trail is more than just a hike, it is an experience. Let sweeping vistas of the surrounding craggy peaks and lush alpine landscape encompass you. Walk along the ridge and feel as though you are in a movie set against the postcard-worthy Colorado backdrop. You’ll be huffing and puffing as you ascend the pass, but the scenic views make it all worth it.

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      Open details for Ice Lake Basin Hike

      Ice Lake Basin Hike

      Hard
      13.4 km
      877 m
      5-6.5h

      The Ice Lake Basin Hike is a tough and rewarding trail in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado that will take you up into the mountains for alpine views. While out hiking the trail, you will work your way uphill through forest and alpine meadows, before arriving at the Ice Lakes and taking in theory stunning natural beauty. Hikers should take note that the parking lot fills up very quickly, especially during peak season, so make sure to arrive early to secure a space.

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      Open details for Anthracite Pass Trail

      Anthracite Pass Trail

      Moderate
      10.6 km
      639 m
      3.5-5h

      The Anthracite Pass Trail is a gorgeous hiking route in the Raggeds Wilderness Area of Colorado that will take you uphill through the forest for stunning views of the valley. While out on the trail, you will leave the banks of the Crystal River behind, climbing uphill through beautiful aspen trees and several steep inclines for views of the impressive mountains nearby. The best time for this hike is during the fall, when the changing colors of the leaves blanket the surrounding landscape in a myriad of reds, oranges, and yellows.

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      Open details for Missouri Lakes Trail

      Missouri Lakes Trail

      Hard
      14.8 km
      708 m
      4.5-6.5h

      The Missouri Lakes Trail is a stunning adventure in the Holy Cross Wilderness that exhibits the diversity and beauty of Colorado’s Sawatch Mountain Range. This wonderful adventure travels through dense pine woodlands before revealing a postcard-worthy mountain basin laden with alpine lakes. This expedition is a must-add to your Colorado adventure bucket list.

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      Open details for Upper Sand Creek Lake Hike

      Upper Sand Creek Lake Hike

      Moderate
      11.9 km
      599 m
      4-5.5h

      Hiking the Upper Sand Creek Lake Trail is an incredible experience. Located in the Great Sand Dunes National Park, this adventure diverges from the quintessential dune hikes and instead immerses intrepid explorers high into the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range. Whether it be the elevation or vistas, this trek will take your breath away!

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      Open details for Seven Falls to Inspiration Point Trail

      Seven Falls to Inspiration Point Trail

      Moderate
      4.8 km
      235 m
      1.5-2h

      The Seven Falls to Inspiration Point Trail is an amazing adventure in North Cheyenne Cañon Park. This epic adventure warrants breathtaking panoramas of the Seven Falls, a 55 m set of seven cascades that surge between the towering cliffs of the South Cheyenne Canyon. This incredibly scenic hike is a must-add to your Colorado hiking itinerary.

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      Open details for Berrypicker Trail

      Berrypicker Trail

      Hard
      9.5 km
      622 m
      3.5-5h

      Berrypicker Trail hikes up Vail Mountain to Eagle’s Nest from Lionshead Village. The trail steeply winds through meadows of wildflowers (which are the ski runs during winter), aspen groves, and pine stands. The hike is often done as a one-way with help from the Eagle Bahn Gondola taking the return journey.

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

      Cathedral Lake

      Moderate
      9.5 km
      637 m
      3.5-5h

      Although it is a steep hike, the alpine atmosphere obtained by reaching this stunning basin is easily worth the strain on your lungs. Sitting at the base of the imposing and aptly named Cathedral Mountain, the clear blue Cathedral Lake takes on an almost spiritual essence.

      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 Betasso Preserve

      Betasso Preserve

      Moderate
      14.8 km
      499 m
      4-5.5h

      The Betasso Preserve hike is located conveniently close to downtown Boulder. This trail is great for a family hike or a more restful day. Hiking along this figure 8 trail offers views of wildlife, Fourmile Canyon, and Boulder Canyon with plenty of spots to rest and appreciate your surroundings.

      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
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Open details for Lost Lake Hike

      Lost Lake Hike

      Easy
      6.8 km
      248 m
      2-2.5h

      This is a popular, family-friendly hike, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth checking out. Lost Lake is a moderately easy hike that begins at the historic Hessie Townsite (an old mining town, high in the Rocky Mountains). This hike offers a lot of bang for your buck: not a lot work for a lot of great sights.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.6
      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 Red Rocks Park

      Red Rocks Park

      Very Easy
      2.4 km
      120 m
      1h

      Hike around, over and through the beautiful sandstone red rocks that make up the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater and if you’re lucky, stay for a concert in one of the most amazing venues in Colorado! We can’t think of a better way to finish a day of walking Denver’s many trails.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.6
      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 Green Mountain Summit Hike

      Green Mountain Summit Hike

      Moderate
      10.9 km
      375 m
      3-4h

      On your next adventure through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park add the Green Mountain Summit Hike to your agenda. The Green Mountain Summit Hike is a trail through the quintessential Black Canyon terrain. Walk through the dense forest, past numerous lookout points, through brush meadows and up to a rocky summit that grants visitors 360-degree views of the Black Canyon landscape. This hike is one of our favorites in the National Park, and we think it could be yours too!

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      Open details for Cheesman Canyon Hike

      Cheesman Canyon Hike

      Moderate
      8.5 km
      145 m
      2-2.5h

      We know what you are going to ask, only because we asked too. No, the Cheesman Hike does not lead you on a cheese tasting tour up the canyon, disappointing we know. But don’t turn your nose up just yet, this path makes up for the lack of snacks in riverside views. Follow the curves of the South Platte River and enjoy the tranquil sights of anglers fishing the picturesque waters. If you enjoy forested hikes, then you’ll like the Cheesman Canyon Trail.

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      Open details for Ophir Pass Road Hike

      Ophir Pass Road Hike

      Moderate
      15.8 km
      547 m
      4.5-6h

      The Ophir Pass Road Hike is a straightforward adventure near Silverton, Colorado that will take you along a rugged road through the mountains. While out hiking the trail, you will traverse a rough and rugged road that leads through Ophir Pass, enjoying the views of the surrounding mountains as you trek from the starting point to the end point of this one-way route. Hikers should take note that this is a multi-use route that is popular with off-road vehicle enthusiasts, so make sure to keep an eye out for passing traffic and share the road.

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      Open details for Smuggler Mountain Overlook Trail

      Smuggler Mountain Overlook Trail

      Moderate
      4.3 km
      238 m
      1.5-2h

      The Smuggler Mountain Overlook Trail is a great little hike in Aspen, Colorado that will take you up the mountainside for views of the town and surrounding area. While out hiking the trail, you will make your way along Smuggler Mountain Road as it winds uphill towards the observation deck, where you will enjoy stunning views of the surrounding Elk Mountains. While this route isn’t a true hike due to the nature of the trail being a dirt road, the views are breathtaking and absolutely worth an afternoon of exploring Aspen.

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      Open details for Mount Antero Trail

      Mount Antero Trail

      Very Hard
      24.5 km
      1,476 m
      8.5-12h

      The Mount Antero Trail is a demanding but rewarding adventure up one of Colorado’s famous fourteeners (14ers). Shared with courageous 4x4 drivers, the initial segment of the hike treks along one of the highest roads in the United States. This epic summit expedition necessitates an adventurous spirit and stamina. We love this exciting excursion and we know you will too—this hike is a must add to your Colorado adventure bucket list.

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