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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 161 to 180 of 1,000+
      Open details for Lower Columbine Trail

      Lower Columbine Trail

      Very Easy
      3.5 km
      94 m
      1h

      Immerse yourself in nature along the Lower Columbine Trail. This stunning adventure through the North Cheyenne Canyon exhibits sights of craggy granite walls that line the babbling water of North Cheyenne Creek. This epic trek is well worth the detour from Colorado Springs.

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      Open details for Green Mountain

      Green Mountain

      Hard
      7.7 km
      738 m
      3.5-5h

      The hike to the summit of Green Mountain takes you to one of the five highest peaks near Boulder. This is a popular training route for hikers aspiring to tackle some of Colorado’s many 14ers. After hiking to the summit of Green Mountain, you can enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding peaks. This hike does not disappoint!

      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 Diamond Lake Trail

      Diamond Lake Trail

      Moderate
      9.9 km
      361 m
      3-4h

      Diamond Lake Trail is a nice, half-day hike that takes you out to a crystal clear alpine lake with stunning mountain views. We love this longer hike because the terrain is exciting, and Diamond Lake is remarkable. We recommend putting in the hours for this trek. It’s worth it.

      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 Horsetooth Falls Hike

      Horsetooth Falls Hike

      Easy
      3.5 km
      120 m
      1-1.5h

      The Horsetooth Falls Hike is a crowd favorite in the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, and we completely understand why. This short, but sweet hike is suitable for hikers of all skill levels and culminates at a picturesque cascading waterfall. Everyone loves a good waterfall, right?

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      Open details for Purgatory Trail

      Purgatory Trail

      Moderate
      16.6 km
      555 m
      4.5-6.5h

      The Purgatory Trail is a fantastic outdoor adventure in Colorado that will take you through a forested gulch alongside several winding creeks. While out hiking the trail, you will descend through the forest alongside Purgatory Creek to reach the banks of Cascade Creek, following as it winds to the southeast through the sloping woodland landscape. This is an amazing hiking route to pair with a fun weekend of camping in the area.

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      Open details for Browns Creek Waterfall Trail

      Browns Creek Waterfall Trail

      Moderate
      10.0 km
      287 m
      2.5-3.5h

      The Browns Creek Waterfall is a stunning woodland adventure along the gurgling creek, past cascades, and up to the creek. This enchanting excursion is a crowd favorite, and rightfully so. The lush pine trees, vibrant aspen groves, mesmerizing cascades, and stunning shimmering waters provide a relaxing hike through the San Isabel National Forest. This wonderful day hike is a must-add to your Colorado adventure itinerary.

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      Open details for Templeton Trail

      Templeton Trail

      Very Easy
      6.3 km
      160 m
      1.5-2h

      The Templeton Trail is an exciting adventure through Palmer Park that boasts views of Pikes Peak, the cityscape, and the unique sandstone spires, hoodoos, bluffs, and canyons, which decorate the landscape. The whole family can enjoy the trail, which exhibits all the best that the park has to offer.

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      Open details for Herman Gulch Trail

      Herman Gulch Trail

      Moderate
      11.6 km
      541 m
      3.5-5h

      Hike up the Continental Divide to a picturesque alpine lake. The Herman Gulch Trail is a wonderful day hike in the Arapaho National Forest. Hike one of the most panoramic routes in the Front Range. The trail is a section of the much longer, Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, if you are feeling adventurous, continue hiking one of the connecting routes!

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      Open details for Mount Eolus Hike

      Mount Eolus Hike

      Hard
      28.0 km
      1,776 m
      10-14h

      The Mount Eolus Hike is a very challenging adventure in the Rocky Mountains that will take you to the summit of a rugged fourteener, making it suitable only for experienced hikers. While out on the trail, you will traverse the vast Chicago Basin and climb up to the Twin Lakes, before pushing on to the rocky summit of Mount Eolus for incredible views of the surrounding landscape. This is a long and difficult hike that will certainly take a full day, so make sure to plan your adventure out well in advance.

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      Open details for Bartlett Gulch Loop Trail

      Bartlett Gulch Loop Trail

      Easy
      6.3 km
      262 m
      2-2.5h

      The Bartlett Gulch Loop Trail is an awesome day hike near the Twin Lakes that exhibits the diversity and beauty of the Colorado wilderness. This stunning nature walk guides adventurers through the verdant evergreen woodlands interspersed with vibrant aspen groves and luxuriant meadows. This wonderful excursion presents the perfect excuse to get the whole family out into the fresh air.

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      Open details for Palmer Trail to Siamese Twins

      Palmer Trail to Siamese Twins

      Very Easy
      2.4 km
      45 m
      0.5-1h

      The Palmer Trail to Siamese Twins is an impressively scenic adventure to the unique sandstone sculptures that decorate the landscape. Venture through woodlands and past immense outcroppings before arriving at the picturesque landmark.

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      Open details for Rainbow Lakes Trail

      Rainbow Lakes Trail

      Very Easy
      5.0 km
      84 m
      1-1.5h

      The Rainbow Lakes Trail is a nice family-friendly hike that will - in a short amount of time - take you to four scenic mountain lakes. The trailhead leaves at the Rainbow Lakes Campground, so if you want to plan a trip with the kids, this is a great activity to wear off all those s’mores you ate the night before.

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

      Flattop Mountain and Hallett Peak Hike

      Hard
      14.2 km
      866 m
      5-7h

      The Flattop Mountain hike can be a challenge as you climb towards the summit, but you are rewarded with stunning views. As you are hiking you can peer down onto some of the park’s other fantastic routes, such as the hikes to Dream Lake, Sprague Lake, and Emerald Lake.

      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 Gregory Canyon to Flagstaff Mountain

      Gregory Canyon to Flagstaff Mountain

      Easy
      6.0 km
      409 m
      2-3h

      The hike from Gregory Canyon to Flagstaff Mountain takes you to two of Boulder’s finest overlooks: Realization Point and Artist Point. This is a relatively easy hike, however it provides stunning views of the surrounding ranges and the continental divide!

      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 Chief Mountain Hike

      Chief Mountain Hike

      Moderate
      4.5 km
      287 m
      1.5-2h

      Hike the Chief Mountain Trail and be rewarded with 360-degree panoramic vistas of the Rocky Mountain Range. This easy trek is perfect for a family outing or a spontaneous day hike in the Front Range. The minimal effort needed to revel in spectacular views is why we—and so many other adventurers—love this short mountain excursion.

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      Open details for Ridgway Reservoir Trail

      Ridgway Reservoir Trail

      Moderate
      11.1 km
      261 m
      2.5-4h

      The Ridgway Reservoir Trail is a lovely hiking route in Ridgway State Park that will take you along the edge of the water for beautiful views of the surrounding area. While out hiking the trail, you will work your way around the eastern shore of the Ridgway Reservoir, passing through open terrain and some loose tree cover, before passing by the dam wall and turning abc on the return leg. This is a great hike to pair with an afternoon of swimming and relaxing by the water’s edge.

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      Open details for Interlaken Trail

      Interlaken Trail

      Very Easy
      7.4 km
      65 m
      1.5-2h

      Shimmering alpine lakes, aspen groves, pine and spruce forests, mountain views, and historic buildings—what more could you ask for? The Interlaken Trail is a stunning nature walk that exhibits the beauty of the Sawatch Mountain Range. This magical adventure is a must-do the next time you find yourself near Leadville.

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      Open details for Susan G. Bretag Trail and Palmer Trail Loop

      Susan G. Bretag Trail and Palmer Trail Loop

      Easy
      4.0 km
      98 m
      1-1.5h

      Explore the beauty of Garden of the Gods as you venture the Susan G. Bretag Trail and Palmer Trail Loop. This amazing trail through the park reveals breathtaking sights of the sculptures, spires, and bluffs that decorate the landscape.

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      Open details for Carter Lake’s Sundance Trail

      Carter Lake’s Sundance Trail

      Easy
      9.5 km
      81 m
      2-2.5h

      Carter Lake’s Sundance Trail is a crowd-favorite in Larimer County Park. Hike along the shores of the reservoir and bask in the grandeur of the lake and the surrounding Colorado wilderness. Whether you are a seasoned adventurer or a novice hiker, you will appreciate this stunning trail. Next time you find yourself in the Loveland area make sure to stop by the Carter Lake Reservoir.

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      Open details for Pagosa Peak Hike

      Pagosa Peak Hike

      Hard
      17.9 km
      1,198 m
      6.5-9h

      The Pagosa Peak Hike is a tough route north of Pagosa Springs, Colorado that will take you to the summit of the mountain for incredible views over the San Juan Mountain Range. While out hiking the trail, you will climb uphill through a vast stretch of woodland terrain and skirt around the slopes of Black Mountain, before making the final push up the rocky terrain of Pagosa Peak for some stunning views. This hike is tough but is not overly technical, making it a great option if you are looking to push yourself with a more difficult route.

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