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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 121 to 140 of 1,000+
      Open details for Mount Muscoco Trail

      Mount Muscoco Trail

      Moderate
      6.4 km
      394 m
      2-3h

      The Mount Muscoco Trail is a stunning summit hike near Colorado Springs. Boasting breathtaking vistas of the Front Range foothills, the plains, and the city below—the views from the peak are just the icing on the cake. The trek up through the woodlands to the overlook is just as beautiful and scenic.

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      Open details for Sugarloaf Mountain Trail

      Sugarloaf Mountain Trail

      Very Easy
      2.4 km
      128 m
      1h

      The Sugarloaf Mountain hike takes you up a prominent bald mountain with expansive views. Hiking up Sugarloaf Mountain rewards you with one the best panoramic views of Rocky Mountain National Park and Indian Peaks Wilderness. This short, family-friendly hike has low crowds and is a must do when visiting the Boulder area.

      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 The Loch

      The Loch

      Moderate
      8.9 km
      325 m
      2.5-3.5h

      Hiking to The Loch in RMNP takes you to a large alpine lake at the intersection between Andrews Glacier and Taylor Glacier. The Loch offers stunningly clear reflections of the surrounding peaks.

      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 North Table Mountain Park Hike

      North Table Mountain Park Hike

      Moderate
      11.7 km
      322 m
      3-4h

      Acting as a gateway, the North and South Mesas are the entrance to the foothills town of Golden, CO. Hike the trails and discover the panoramic views! A walk around this loop makes you feel as though you’re on top of the world!

      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 Kenosha Pass North Hike

      Kenosha Pass North Hike

      Easy
      9.5 km
      310 m
      2.5-3.5h

      The Kenosha Pass North Hike might just be the best place to enjoy the changing colours of the aspen trees in the autumn. Walk the nature trail through lush aspen groves to a meadow that exposes you to expansive vistas of the encompassing Rocky Mountains. This might just be the perfect fall hike.

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      Open details for Uncompahgre Peak Hike

      Uncompahgre Peak Hike

      Hard
      12.4 km
      866 m
      4.5-6.5h

      The uncompahgre Peak Hike is a challenging and exhilarating excursion in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado that will take you to the summit of the 6th highest peak in the state. While out hiking the trail, you will gradually make your way up through the basin, before the final steep push and light scramble up to the summit for some breathtaking views. Take note that you will need a 4x4 high clearance vehicle in order to reach the trailhead, as the road into the mountains is very rough and rugged.

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      Open details for Huntsman Ridge Trail

      Huntsman Ridge Trail

      Moderate
      6.9 km
      513 m
      2.5-3.5h

      The Huntsman Ridge Trail is a great hiking route near Marble, Colorado that will take you uphill above McClure Pass for some great views of the surrounding mountains. While out on the trail, you will climb up the steep trail through dense aspen groves, traversing the ridgeline before arriving at a scenic meadow with beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. This hike is entirely uphill; however, the grade of the slope evens out further along the trail and there are some great places to pause for a rest on the way up.

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      Open details for Mount Elbert East Ridge Trail

      Mount Elbert East Ridge Trail

      Hard
      23.7 km
      1,492 m
      8.5-11.5h

      Tempted to summit Colorado’s highest peak? Us too! The Mount Elbert East Ridge Trail is an epic ascent that exhibits the diversity of high country’s ecosystems and reveals awe-inspiring vistas of the Sawatch Mountain Range. Get outside your comfort zone as you travel nearly 1,500 m up to the summit. Reserved for experienced hikers or intrepid adventurers, this trek demands stamina.

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      Open details for Upper and Lower Sand Creek Lake Hike

      Upper and Lower Sand Creek Lake Hike

      Hard
      15.9 km
      730 m
      5-7h

      Immerse yourself in the alpine terrain along the Upper and Lower Sand Creek Lake Hike. Hike up to no one, but two shimmering lakes nestled amongst the snow-capped peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range. Demanding stamina and determination, the scenery from the alpine lakes prove well worth the sweat.

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      Open details for Red Rock Canyon Loop

      Red Rock Canyon Loop

      Easy
      8.7 km
      269 m
      2.5-3h

      Red Rocks and mountain views? What more could you ask for? The Red Rock Canyon Loop is an epic hike through the vibrant hogbacks that jut from the landscape. This amazing adventure through the Open Space will leave you at a loss for words as you explore and admire the immense outcroppings layered with various colored sediments. Pleasing geological buffs and outdoor enthusiasts alike, this trek is a must-add to your Colorado Springs bucket list.

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      Open details for Enchanted Forest Trail

      Enchanted Forest Trail

      Easy
      9.3 km
      411 m
      3-4h

      In the Enchanted Forest, the sights, smells and sounds will make you feel like you’re walking through a fairy tale. It’s a great trail to hike with kids if they don’t mind the length of the walk.

      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 Long Lake Trail

      Long Lake Trail

      Very Easy
      6.5 km
      38 m
      1.5-2h

      This is a short and relatively easy hike with mild elevation gain. What’s even better is that it also offers amazing views around a scenic, lower alpine lake. This is a hike for all ages.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.1
      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 Paradise Cove Swimming Hole Trail

      Paradise Cove Swimming Hole Trail

      Easy
      1.6 km
      45 m
      0.5h

      Spend the day at the Paradise Cove Swimming Hole. Nestled among granite cliffs in the Guffey Gorge, this jade-colored swimming hole is a crowd-favorite. Enjoy the ambiance of the cascading waterfall flowing into the crystalline water pool encompassed by lush Colorado woodlands. Bring a day's worth of provisions and hike down the forested path to enjoy a relaxing day at the swimming hole.

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      Open details for Rainbow Hot Springs Hike

      Rainbow Hot Springs Hike

      Moderate
      16.1 km
      499 m
      4-6h

      The Rainbow Hot Springs Hike is a scenic adventure in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado that will take you to a series of hot springs in a beautiful riverside setting. While out hiking the trail, you will follow along the banks of the San Juan River as it cuts through the forest and between rugged mountain peaks, before eventually arriving at the relaxing destination of the Rainbow Hot Springs. Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit so that you can enjoy the therapeutic waters of the hot springs at the midway point of your hike!

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      Open details for Brush Creek Trail

      Brush Creek Trail

      Easy
      7.7 km
      114 m
      1.5-2.5h

      The Brush Creek Trail is a great family-friendly hiking route near Crested Butte, Colorado that will lead you through a valley for beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. While out on the trail, you will traverse the lower slopes of Crested Butte and follow along the banks of the East River, enjoying views across the valley that encompass nearby peaks like the Teocalli and White Rock Mountains. This is a laidback route that will certainly make for a fun day outdoors.

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      Open details for Surprise Lake via Cross Creek Trail

      Surprise Lake via Cross Creek Trail

      Moderate
      8.0 km
      208 m
      2-3h

      The Surprise Lake via Cross Creek Trail is an enchanting nature walk through the Holy Cross Wilderness. Exhibiting the diversity and beauty of the Colorado wilderness as it guides hikers through golden aspen groves, dense evergreen forests, and along running rivers up to the charming alpine lake—this trek packs a punch!

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      Open details for Sand Sheet Loop

      Sand Sheet Loop

      Very Easy
      0.6 km
      9 m
      0.5h

      Hiking the Sand Sheet Loop is an educational adventure that reveals the stark topographic diversity of Colorado. As you wander around the loop, you will be granted breathtaking panoramas of the rolling sand dunes and the Sangre de Cristo’s snow-capped peaks that scrape the clouds.

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      Open details for Mount Cutler Trail

      Mount Cutler Trail

      Very Easy
      2.7 km
      144 m
      1h

      Ideal for families, low-landers, and those seeking a short but scenic adventure, the Mount Cutler Trail delivers. This easy-going nature walk to the 2,204 m summit reveals some of the best vistas, including sights of the Front Range peaks, the foothills, Colorado Springs, and the Seven Falls. Chock-full of epic scenery, this family-friendly excursion is a must add to your adventure bucket list.

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      No Reviews
      Open details for Matthew/Winters Park

      Matthew/Winters Park

      Easy
      7.7 km
      221 m
      2-3h

      Many locals hike to this trail after work or in the morning before heading in to the office. This medium length trail is not too challenging but still gets the heart pumping and is enjoyed by trail runners, bikers, hikers and even those on horseback. 

      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 Twin Sisters Peak Trail

      Twin Sisters Peak Trail

      Moderate
      11.3 km
      627 m
      3.5-5h

      The Twin Sisters Trail is a fun summit hike that gives you a taste of many features of Rocky Mountain National Park. Getting to Twin Sisters Peak will have you hiking through wooded, rocky, and alpine terrain. It is a great hike to see so much of what RMNP has to offer.

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

      Other Activities in Colorado

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