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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 141 to 160 of 1,000+
      Open details for Loch Lomond Colorado Trail

      Loch Lomond Colorado Trail

      Easy
      7.4 km
      273 m
      2-3h

      The Loch Lomond Colorado Trail is a shared OHV route up to Loch Lomond Lake. This trail can be completed either on foot or by 4x4 vehicles. Travel through the lush Colorado woodlands up to the Continental Divide to an alpine lake. Flanked by craggy cliffs and a cascading waterfall, the Loch Lomond Lake is a sight for sore eyes. This versatile trail has something for everyone, not to mention it can also be snowshoed in the winter months!

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      Open details for Whetstone Vista Loop

      Whetstone Vista Loop

      Moderate
      4.3 km
      159 m
      1-1.5h

      The Whetstone Vista Loop is a pleasant hiking route in Crested Butte, Colorado that will see you traverse a forested hillside for views across the Slate River Valley. While out hiking the trail, you will meander uphill along the lower slopes of Crested Butte Mountain, passing through the tree cover to enjoy beautiful views of nearby Whetstone Mountain. The latter portion of this trail does follow alongside the road, so make sure that you are being mindful of passing vehicles, especially if children or dogs are present.

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      Open details for Mount Sneffels via Yankee Boy Basin Hike

      Mount Sneffels via Yankee Boy Basin Hike

      Hard
      11.4 km
      1,012 m
      5-6.5h

      The Mount Sneffels via Yankee Boy Basin Hike is an exhilarating adventure in the San Juan Mountains that will take you up to the summit of a rugged fourteener. While out hiking the trail, you will pass through the scenic landscape of the Yankee Boy Basin, before traversing a loose scree slope on the way up to the summit of Mount Sneffels at 4,315 m. This route does require a bit of scrambling through rocky terrain, so be sure to bring any necessary gear for the weather conditions, including crampons and a climbing helmet.

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      Open details for Timberline Lake Trail

      Timberline Lake Trail

      Moderate
      8.9 km
      276 m
      2.5-3.5h

      Reconnect with nature as you trek the timberline Lake Trail—a stunning adventure through the Holy Cross Wilderness. Reserved for intrepid spirits, this partially maintained trail demands stream crossings and ascents through towering pines up to the shimmering blue-hued lake. Forest treks, mountain views and an alpine lake, what more could you ask for?

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      Open details for Pinyon Flats Campground Trail

      Pinyon Flats Campground Trail

      Very Easy
      1.6 km
      27 m
      0.5h

      When staying in the Pinyon Flats Campground, the Pinyon Flats Campground Trail is a wonderful nature walk to get your blood following. This easy-going hike can be enjoyed by hikers of all skill levels and ages.

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      Open details for Ute Valley Park Loop

      Ute Valley Park Loop

      Very Easy
      6.1 km
      132 m
      1.5-2h

      Enjoy mountain panoramas and cityscape vistas as you venture the Ute Valley Park Loop. This amazing adventure conveniently located near Colorado Springs warrants awe-inspiring scenery and a good workout. If you are seeking a spontaneous day hike, then this trek is a must-do!

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      Open details for South Boulder Peak

      South Boulder Peak

      Hard
      12.7 km
      897 m
      4.5-6.5h

      The South Boulder Peak hike takes you to Boulder’s highest peak. This is a somewhat strenuous hike, taking you through a patch of recently burned forest. The views from the summit of South Boulder Peak are well worth the climb!

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      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 Bear Creek Lake Park Hike

      Bear Creek Lake Park Hike

      Very Easy
      6.8 km
      39 m
      1.5-2h

      This city park has activities for the whole family and a peaceful hiking trail to escape the bustling crowds:  a walk in nature, nestled in the city.

      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 Blue Lake Trail

      Blue Lake Trail

      Easy
      6.0 km
      195 m
      1.5-2h

      The Blue Lake Trail in Indian Peaks, Colorado, is an epichike that takes you through some of the best alpine meadows in the region. We hope you like wildflowers because in the summer this trail has them in spades. To top it off, the grand finale of this trek is the beautiful Blue Lake with Mount Toll sitting in the background.

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      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 Pinewood Reservoir Hike

      Pinewood Reservoir Hike

      Easy
      8.5 km
      175 m
      2-3h

      The Pinewood Reservoir Hike is an epic adventure for the whole family to enjoy. Hike the shores of the picturesque lake and then finish the excursion with kayak, canoe, paddleboard or do some fishing! The Pinewood Reservoir Trail and the surrounding recreational area is ideal for a weekend adventure into nature!

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      Open details for Buttermilk Mountain Trail

      Buttermilk Mountain Trail

      Moderate
      12.1 km
      605 m
      4-5.5h

      The Buttermilk Mountain Trail is a fun hiking route in Aspen that will lead you up a ski hill for some beautiful views of the surrounding area. While out on the trail, you will navigate the winding paths that meander through the trees and lead up to the top of Buttermilk Mountain, where you will enjoy some lovely views overlooking Aspen. This may not be the most challenging route in the area, but it is a straightforward adventure with some great scenery as a reward.

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      Open details for Lizard Head Trail

      Lizard Head Trail

      Hard
      29.6 km
      1,666 m
      10-14h

      The Lizard Head Trail is a long and difficult adventure in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado that will lead you through a variety of rugged terrain and offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape. While out hiking the trail, you will work your way through forests and meadows, before traversing the mountainous terrain surrounding Lizard Head for incredible views of the Lizard Head Wilderness Area around you. While there are trails that are technically more challenging, the overall distance of this route is the real killer.

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      Open details for Beaver Lake Trail

      Beaver Lake Trail

      Moderate
      10.1 km
      515 m
      3-4.5h

      The Beaver Lake Trail is an awesome adventure near Avon, Colorado, that exhibits wonderful sights of the Beaver Creek Ski Resort before immersing hikers into the verdant woodlands up to the quaint alpine lake. This hike presents the perfect opportunity to acclimate to the area’s altitude before attempting a technical summit climb up a Colorado 14er.

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      Open details for Sand Ramp Trail

      Sand Ramp Trail

      Easy
      10.8 km
      155 m
      2.5-3.5h

      The Sand Ramp Trail lives up to its name—the sandy path makes for an incredible hiking experience. Traveling through meadowlands and pine forests, this adventure exhibits breathtaking vistas of the rolling dunes and the snow-capped summits of the Sangre de Cristo Range.

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      Open details for Columbine Trail

      Columbine Trail

      Easy
      12.2 km
      490 m
      3.5-5h

      The Columbine Trail is a stunning nature walk that exhibits the beauty and diversity of the area’s terrain. Travel through lush forests, along babbling tributaries, and past granite massifs on this extremely rewarding hike.

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      Open details for Bluebird Lake

      Bluebird Lake

      Hard
      19.6 km
      987 m
      6-8.5h

      The Bluebird Lake hike is in the lesser known Wild Basin area of RMNP. Bluebird Lake offers amazing panoramic views of RMNP and Longs Peak. Be sure to tack on some extra time not only for the views at the top, but the whole route is scenic and breathtaking!

      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 Echo Lake Trail

      Echo Lake Trail

      Very Easy
      2.1 km
      24 m
      0.5h

      The Echo Lake Trail is a wonderful scenic adventure for the whole family. This hike is short and sweet. Weave along the shores of the picturesque lake and through dense pine forests. This well-maintained path is perfect for hikers of all-skill levels and is the departing trail for those venturing to the Chicago Lakes and Mount Evans.

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      Open details for Wetterhorn Peak Hike

      Wetterhorn Peak Hike

      Hard
      10.9 km
      929 m
      4.5-6.5h

      The Wetterhorn Peak Hike is an extremely challenging, but beautifully scenic, adventure in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado that should only be undertaken by experienced climbers. While out on the trail, you will work your way uphill alongside Matterhorn Creek and climb through an alpine basin, before completing a difficult and exposed class the ascent of the summit. This is a physically demanding route, but the breathtaking views from the summit are sure to be a memory that will last forever.

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      Open details for Mount Shavano Hike

      Mount Shavano Hike

      Very Hard
      15.0 km
      1,356 m
      6.5-9h

      Put your endurance to the test as you adventure the Mount Shavano Hike. This demanding excursion is unassumingly picturesque but warrants an intrepid spirit and stamina! Traveling over 1,000 m up to the summit, the sweeping vistas of the encompassing peaks will undoubtedly motivate even the most discouraged hikers. We love this expedition, and we think you will too.

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      Open details for Star Dune Trail

      Star Dune Trail

      Moderate
      11.7 km
      292 m
      3-4h

      Hiking the Star Dune Trail is an other-worldly experience. Adventure through the Great Sand Dunes National Park up to one of the highest sand dunes in North America. If you don’t mind doing some off-roading, then you will love the Star Dune Trail.

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