If you’ve ever set your desktop wallpaper to magical blue-green waters wishing you possibly can be transported there, you’ll be comfortable to know the perfect hikes in Colorado will do this. Colorado is thought for its gorgeous pure magnificence in addition to its abundance of out of doors adventures together with some epic hikes. With its rugged mountains, speeding rivers, and pristine forests, Colorado gives a few of the most scenic and difficult hikes in the USA. Whether you’re a newbie or an skilled hiker, there are climbing trails for you in Colorado.
Hiking in Colorado is an expertise not like another. The state is residence to 53 peaks that rise above 14,000 ft, often called “14ers,” and over 40 state parks with tons of of miles of trails.
Top Colorado Hikes
In this text, we’ll discover a few of the finest hikes in Colorado, from straightforward family-friendly hikes to tougher multi-day hikes. We may also present ideas for planning your journey and staying protected whereas on the paths. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a newbie, climbing in Colorado is an journey you’ll always remember.
At the middle of the perfect hikes in Colorado are the Rocky Mountains, which stay pristine regardless of no matter else is happening in different elements of the US. The Rocky Mountain National Park is residence to gems of the visible sort. And surrounding these mountains are many different Colorado parks which can be equally as gorgeous. We embody all of them in this checklist.
1. Bear Lake Trail
This is a half-mile traditional hike for the entire household in Rocky Mountain National Park. It is among the finest hikes in Colorado for households with younger kids because it provides them an opportunity to expertise the wilderness whereas additionally guaranteeing they’re protected and on pretty degree floor.
The path has an elevation acquire of simply 50 ft. Despite being a reasonably straightforward and flat hike you get completely gorgeous views of the encircling mountains, together with Hallett Peak and Longs Peak. You can attain the trailhead from the Beaver Meadows entrance of the park. This is unquestionably a Colorado climbing path you need to add to your checklist in case you are in search of a pleasant straightforward hike with the household. It can also be used as a jumping-off level for different climbing trails in the realm together with the Emerald Lake Trail.
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2. Chasm Lake Trail
If you need to expertise one of the vital lovely crystal clear alpine lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park, it is best to try the Chasm Lake Trail. The path is 8.5 miles lengthy and has an elevation acquire of 2500 ft. It is taken into account a troublesome path as you’ll be beginning out the path at an elevation of virtually 9500 ft, which suggests it’s going to be chilly and you possibly can even be in for lightning.
You can attain the trailhead to Chasm Lake on the Longs Peak Ranger Station, which is situated on the east facet of Rocky Mountain National Park, close to the city of Allenspark. From there, you’re going to be handled to 360 levels of the gorgeous surroundings of the Rockies. The path can have you exploring the tallest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, Long’s Peak. On high of that, you get to take a look at one of many United States’ most gorgeous alpine lakes, Chasm Lake, which is nestled under Long’s Peak.
3. Emerald Lake Trail
To rise up shut and private with blue-green water that may have you ever feeling such as you’re in a Disney film it’s essential to do the Emerald Lake Trail. This Rocky Mountain National Park path is straightforward at simply 3.6 miles with an elevation change of 650 ft.
The path winds via aspen groves and pine forests, alongside mountain streams, and previous a number of different smaller lakes earlier than reaching the gorgeous Emerald Lake. Along the way in which, you’re going to see Nymph Lake, and Dream Lake and undergo a gorge alongside Tyndall Creek. Once you attain Emerald Lake itself your jaw will drop. The lake is surrounded by towering peaks and gives unbelievable picture alternatives, particularly throughout the fall when the aspen timber are altering colours.
If you’re a fisherman you possibly can attempt your hand at fishing for trout, or just chill out and luxuriate in a picnic lunch, which is what we did. There is a purpose this is among the hottest Colorado climbing trails. Getting to the path is straightforward as a result of it’s on Bear Lake Road and also you begin the hike on the Bear Lake Trailhead.
If you’re visiting throughout excessive season, try to arrive earlier than sundown or take the park’s shuttle service because the parking zone on the trailhead fills up quick.
4. Glacier Gorge Trail – Sky Pond Trail
This is among the finest hikes in the Rocky Mountains for severe hikers. It is a 9-mile loop with a 2162-foot elevation change. You’ll see unbelievable views at Sky Pond in addition to from Glass Lake and Timberline Falls is the piece de resistance.
You can get to the hike from the Bear Lake Trailhead, however the parking zone is small so arrive early. Also, notice that you’ll find snow proper into June and July so it’s a good suggestion to carry poles and snowshoes.
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5. Alberta Falls Trail
The Alberta Falls Trail is among the most gorgeous waterfalls in the Rocky Mountains and that’s saying quite a bit as there are various if you go to Colorado. The Alberta Falls path is a 1.7-mile out-and-back hike with elevation modifications of 232 ft which can be delicate and gradual.
Along the way in which, you see attractive aspens and expertise the winding and musical Chaos Creek. The falls themselves drop about 30 ft and as you stand there surrounded by the Rockies, it actually provides you an appreciation for the ability of Mother Nature. You can attain the path by heading out on Bear Lake Road to the Glacier Gorge Trailhead. That’s about 12 miles from Estes Park and makes for the most effective day hikes if you’re staying in city.
6. The Rocky Mountains Colorado Trail
Do you even hike when you’ve by no means been on the Colorado Trail? The Colorado Trail is an nearly 500-mile hike that crosses via the state. The path runs from Durango to the Waterton Canyon Trailhead in Durango and is among the most troublesome trails in Colorado.
This is the mom of all of the climbing trails in Colorado. When you get on this path, relaxation assured that you’re going to see a big swath of Colorado full with rolling hills and rocky inclines. Along the path, you’re experiencing 8 mountain ranges and will likely be hitting a excessive of greater than 13,000 ft in the San Juan Mountains in your uphill climbing. The Colorado Trail is a extremely popular hike since you get the perfect climbing in Colorado alongside one route.
Most individuals sort out this hike in segments. If you have been to do your complete hike it could take you wherever from 4 to six weeks. Luckily, it’s damaged up into 28 segments and you’ll hike many of those individually. Some of probably the most lovely sections are Segments 5-8. For extra data on every section try The Colorado Trail Foundation.
Along the way in which, you’re going to see wildlife like bighorn sheep simply moseying round. You’re additionally going to be leaping over tiny creeks and strolling alongside rivers because the Rockies watch on. The parking space in the south finish in addition to the final word north finish can replenish quick.
That means you’ll have plenty of individuals on the hike with you on the high and backside of the path. However, you’ll get the perfect climbing in if you’re in the center. Doing the entire path is finest for knowledgeable hikers as the center elements can get a bit of troublesome.
7. Blue Lakes Trail
This is probably going the perfect hike in Colorado to see mountain goats as a herd is thought to roam the realm. The hike is simply 1 mile lengthy with an elevation acquire of simply 108 ft however getting there is usually a problem as you’ve acquired to rise up a steep gravel highway to get to the Blue Lakes trailhead which is best for 4WD autos. Alternatively, you’ll be able to simply stroll the gravel highway as much as the trailhead. Just notice this hike is to not be confused with the Blue Lakes Hike close to Telluride. They are 2 completely different hikes.
This place can get fairly busy and the parking zone is small so, we advocate carpooling and visiting mid-week, when the crowds are at their lowest.
More individuals report seeing mountain goats in the afternoon than in the morning, however each occasions are attainable. In addition to the goats, you’ll the gorgeous Blue Lakes and beautiful wildflowers when in season. Do notice that there’s scrambling required.
8. Hanging Lake Trail
Surely the identify alone entices many. What precisely is a dangling lake? Well, this hanging lake is a results of some geological actions that pushed the lake mattress off the cliff it was on. The results of that may be a lake sitting slightly below the cliff with remnants of its lake mattress nonetheless on high of the cliff from which a waterfall drops into it.
The lake itself is a crayon blue-green and all of that magnificence has made the Hanging Lake Trail a well-liked hike in Colorado. This is a 3-mile hike in White River National Forest, taking you proper into the thick of the park. You can get to the path by way of the Glenwood Springs trailhead. Hike early to keep away from crowds.
9. Mayflower Lake and Mohawk Lakes Trail
For the most effective hikes in Colorado to get a taste of the entire state, you want this hike It is situated in White River National Park, and the Mayflower Lake and Mohawk Lakes path gives the most effective hikes. This is a 7.8-mile hike with a 1920-foot elevation acquire. This is among the finest hikes in Colorado in case you are touring together with your canine as many trails don’t let enable your pooch on the paths.
You can begin your hike on the Spruce Creek Trailhead which is discovered simply outdoors of Breckenridge on Spruce Creek Road. You’ll be crossing streams and trying out waterfalls alongside the way in which. The starting of the path is reasonable alongside the Mohawk Lakes however will get steep midway via at Mayflower Lake. The views of Lower Mohawk Lake after which Upper Mohawk Lake are gorgeous.
10. First and Second Flatirons Loop Trail
This 2.7-mile path goes to take you thru a few of the most gorgeous surroundings in Colorado, however it actually isn’t going to be straightforward. You should do some mountaineering if you wish to see Boulder’s iconic flat irons. This flatirons path is concrete and steep in the start however then softens out if you get to the grime path portion.
When you get to the highest you’ll be able to completely spectacular views of the Rocky Mountain vary. To get to the path you’ll be able to take Baseline Road to the Gregory Canyon trailhead the place you’ll be able to park and begin your journey. You can do the path in about 2 hours at a leisurely tempo.
11. Fountain Valley Trail (Garden of the Gods)
The Fountain Valley Trail is 2.2 miles lengthy with a 324 elevation change. The path is situated in Roxborough State Park, close to Colorado Springs, which is taken into account the Garden of the Gods and contains the Gods trails, and is taken into account fairly straightforward. Despite being a straightforward hike, there’s numerous journey available alongside the way in which with crimson rock formations abound.
If you’re fortunate, you would possibly even see a fox or mule deer poke their head up from behind a kind of formations. You can get to the trailhead from Willow Creek Trail close to the doorway of Roxborough State Park.
12. Monarch Lake Loop Trail
This 4.2-mile path in Arapaho National Forest is tremendous straightforward and tremendous standard and makes it the most effective hikes in Colorado for households. It takes you round Monarch Lake and makes for a pleasant solution to spend time with household. Some animals do frequent the realm with a majority of the sitings being of moose. The trailhead is situated on Highway 125 close to Monarch Lake. Here you will see bogs and parking.
13. Pawnee Pass Trail
You can try a glacier as you make your means alongside Pawnee Pass Trail to Isabelle Lake. After that, you’re performing some switchbacks to get to gorgeous views. You’ll see Mount Audobon and Apache Peak. The Pawnee Pass Trail is 10 miles lengthy with an elevation change of near 3000 ft so it’s not precisely a family-fit journey in case you have younger kids.
It is a good journey for each intermediate hikers and avid hikers alike with alpine meadows, lovely surroundings, and enjoyable rock scrambles. You will expertise snow and icy patches for a lot of the yr past the July and August months. You can get to the Pawnee Pass trailhead from Brainard Lake Road to the Brainard Lake Conservation Area. The precise trailhead inside Brainard Lake is on the Long Lake trailhead which is in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area.
14. Ice Lakes Basin Trail
First and foremost, it’s essential to have climbing boots if you wish to do an outside journey on the Ice Lakes Basin Trail climbing trails. This path sits in San Juan Forest and also you’re going to have an incline of 3000- ft which is quite a bit for common Colorado hikes. You ought to have poles when you selected going to this climbing vacation spot.
There are steep climbs however you’re additionally rewarded with views of ice lakes, together with an island lake, and even an outdated stone constructing you’ll be able to discover. There are switchbacks and as we talked about, steep inclines, however this is among the finest climbing trails in Colorado when you like an journey.
15. Crater Lake Trail
This 3.5-mile path is among the finest hikes in Colorado and possibly the perfect in Aspen. It is situated in the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness Area. It was shaped from geological processes that came about hundreds of years in the past when glaciers began floating away and left what we all know as Crater Lake.
If you’re staying in Aspen then there’s a shuttle that may take you to the trailhead from Rubey Park. Alternatively, you’ll be able to drive there on Highway 82 and get off on Maroon Creek Road to park in the parking space.
16. Maroon Bells Scenic Loop Trail
The Maroon Bells Scenic Loop Trail is a picturesque climbing path that can also be situated in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area, close to Aspen, Colorado. The path spans roughly 3.3 miles and takes hikers via a few of the most gorgeous pure landscapes in the nation.
The trailhead for the Maroon Bells Scenic Loop Trail is located at Maroon Lake. From there, hikers can comply with the path because it winds via the wilderness space, passing by groves of aspen timber, cascading waterfalls, and fields of wildflowers.
One of the highlights of the path is the chance to catch breathtaking views of the Maroon Bells themselves. These majestic peaks are a few of the most iconic in the Rocky Mountains, and their towering presence is a sight to behold particularly as they’re mirrored in the lake under. They are also called probably the most photographed mountains in North America.
The Maroon Bells Scenic Loop Trail is rated as reasonable problem, making it accessible to hikers of all talent ranges. The path does get actually busy in the excessive season, however the views are value it. This can also be the kicking-off level for the hike to Crater Lake and we might recommend incorporating that into your day as properly.
17. South Colony Lakes Trail
The South Colony Lakes Trail is a difficult climbing path situated in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains, close to Westcliffe, Colorado. The path is about 12 miles and takes you thru a few of the most gorgeous pure landscapes in the realm.
The trailhead for the South Colony Lakes Trail is situated on the finish of a mud highway, and the primary few miles of the path are comparatively straightforward, passing via a forest of aspen and pine timber. However, because the path progresses, it turns into steeper and harder, with switchbacks and rocky terrain.
One of the highlights of the South Colony Lakes Trail is the chance to view a number of peaks which can be over 14,000 ft in elevation, together with Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle. These majestic peaks are a few of the most difficult to climb in Colorado, and their towering presence is awe-inspiring.
The South Colony Lakes Trail is rated as troublesome, making it appropriate for knowledgeable hikers who’re in good bodily situation. The path is well-maintained and clearly marked, however hikers ought to be ready for steep climbs and probably difficult climate situations.
18. Fish Creek Falls Trail
Fish Creek Falls Trail is a well-liked climbing vacation spot situated close to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The trailhead for Fish Creek Falls could be accessed from Fish Creek Falls Road, which is situated roughly three miles from downtown Steamboat Springs.
The path is roughly 4.7 miles spherical journey and gives gorgeous views of the 283-foot Fish Creek Falls. The rocky path is strenuous, with an elevation acquire of roughly 1,450 ft, so be ready for a exercise. Lots of people flip round at Upper Fish Creek Falls, however in case you are extra adventurous you’ll be able to proceed on to Long Lake (this provides one other 7.6 miles to your journey, so be ready).
If you’re in search of a better route you’ll be able to take the simple, 0.3-mile paved path to the falls viewing space. Make certain to examine the web site as this path is typically closed as a result of avalanche danger in the winter and early spring.
Rocky Mountain National Park Entrance Fees
The first half of this information to the perfect hikes in Colorado focuses on a few of the finest Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes. We then department out to discover extra of Colorado in the second half of the information. Read this entire information to the perfect Rocky Mountain National Park hikes
Note: Reservations Required for Rocky Mountain National Park: From May 26 via October 22, 2023, guests to Rocky Mountain National Park will want a timed entry allow and an entrance move to recreate in the park. Visit the RM National Park web site for extra particulars and path closures.
Get your Pocket Guide to the Best Easy Day Hikes of Rocky Mountain National Park Pick up your map of the Rocky Mountain National Park Trails on Amazon
Frequently Asked Questions
What is probably the most scenic hike in Colorado?
One of probably the most scenic hikes in Colorado is the Alberta Falls Trail which provides you views of beyond-real inexperienced waters and a waterfall that’s magical. If you need to really feel like an actual explorer out on the climbing trails, try the Continental Divide at Wolf Creek Pass. That’s situated in the San Juan Mountain vary and provides you gorgeous views.
What’s the toughest hike in Colorado?
The Classic Colorado Trail might be one of many hardest hikes in Colorado as a result of it’s lengthy and takes you over many geographical landscapes. To do that hike, you’ve acquired to dig in for the lengthy haul and be ready to camp and expertise incremental climate.
The Square Top Mountain Trail offers you an elevation acquire of 2500 ft with rock scrambles, and steep climbs, and in flip, is taken into account troublesome.
How many hikes are in Colorado?
There are tons of of hikes in Colorado. You can’t put a quantity to it as a result of many are mixed and others are off-trail.
Where can I hike in Colorado proper now?
You can do a number of completely different hikes however a terrific place to start out a hike in your highway journey in Colorado proper now could be to go to Rocky Mountain National Park. There you will have plenty of selections and you’ll ask the park ranger which is finest to go on proper now relying on the season and closures.
Map of Colorado Hiking Trails
There is little doubt that climbing in Colorado is one thing that ought to be added to any out of doors lover’s bucket checklist. With one of the vital lovely National Parks in the US, well-maintained trails, contemporary mountain air, and the chance for backcountry climbing there isn’t any doubt you’re going to find it irresistible right here. So seize your sturdy climbing boots, do your analysis, and plan your subsequent climbing journey in Colorado.
Plan Your Next Trip to Colorado With These Resources