If you’ve ever set your desktop wallpaper to magical blue-green waters wishing you may be transported there, you’ll be joyful to know one of the best hikes in Colorado will do this. Colorado is understood for its beautiful pure magnificence in addition to its abundance of outside adventures together with some epic hikes. With its rugged mountains, speeding rivers, and pristine forests, Colorado gives among 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 every other. The state is residence to 53 peaks that rise above 14,000 ft, referred to as “14ers,” and over 40 state parks with a whole bunch of miles of trails.
Top Colorado Hikes
In this text, we’ll discover among the greatest hikes in Colorado, from straightforward family-friendly hikes to more difficult multi-day hikes. We will even present suggestions for planning your journey and staying secure 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 one of the best hikes in Colorado are the Rocky Mountains, which stay pristine regardless of no matter else is occurring in different components of the US. The Rocky Mountain National Park is residence to gems of the visible form. And surrounding these mountains are many different Colorado parks which are equally as beautiful. We embrace all of them in this record.
1. Bear Lake Trail
This is a half-mile traditional hike for the entire household in Rocky Mountain National Park. It is without doubt one of the greatest hikes in Colorado for households with younger youngsters because it provides them an opportunity to expertise the wilderness whereas additionally guaranteeing they’re secure and on pretty stage floor.
The path has an elevation achieve of simply 50 ft. Despite being a reasonably straightforward and flat hike you get completely beautiful 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 record in case you are searching for a pleasant straightforward hike with the household. It can 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 lovely crystal clear alpine lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park, it’s best to take a look at the Chasm Lake Trail. The path is 8.5 miles lengthy and has an elevation achieve of 2500 ft. It is taken into account a tough 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 may even be in for lightning.
You can attain the trailhead to Chasm Lake on the Longs Peak Ranger Station, which is positioned on the east aspect of Rocky Mountain National Park, close to the city of Allenspark. From there, you’re going to be handled to 360 levels of the attractive surroundings of the Rockies. The path could have you exploring the tallest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, Long’s Peak. On prime of that, you get to take a look at one of many United States’ most beautiful alpine lakes, Chasm Lake, which is nestled beneath Long’s Peak.
3. Emerald Lake Trail
To stand 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 simple 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 beautiful 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 unimaginable photograph alternatives, particularly through the fall when the aspen timber are altering colours.
If you’re a fisherman you may strive your hand at fishing for trout, or just calm down and luxuriate in a picnic lunch, which is what we did. There is a purpose this is without doubt one of the hottest Colorado climbing trails. Getting to the path is simple 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, attempt 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 without doubt one of the greatest hikes in the Rocky Mountains for critical hikers. It is a 9-mile loop with a 2162-foot elevation change. You’ll see unimaginable 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, be aware that you’ll find snow proper into June and July so it’s a good suggestion to deliver poles and snowshoes.
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5. Alberta Falls Trail
The Alberta Falls Trail is without doubt one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Rocky Mountains and that’s saying quite a bit as there are various once you go to Colorado. The Alberta Falls path is a 1.7-mile out-and-back hike with elevation adjustments of 232 ft which are tender 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 among the best day hikes once you’re staying in city.
6. The Rocky Mountains Colorado Trail
Do you even hike in case you’ve by no means been on the Colorado Trail? The Colorado Trail is an virtually 500-mile hike that crosses via the state. The path runs from Durango to the Waterton Canyon Trailhead in Durango and is without doubt one of the most tough 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 will see a big swath of Colorado full with rolling hills and rocky inclines. Along the path, you’re experiencing 8 mountain ranges and shall be hitting a excessive of greater than 13,000 ft in the San Juan Mountains in your uphill climbing. The Colorado Trail is a very talked-about hike since you get one of the best climbing in Colorado alongside one route.
Most individuals deal with 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 may hike many of those individually. Some of essentially the most lovely sections are Segments 5-8. For extra info on every phase take a look at 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 last word north finish can refill quick.
That means you’ll have plenty of individuals on the hike with you on the prime and backside of the path. However, you’ll get one of the best climbing in once you’re in the center. Doing the entire path is greatest for skilled hikers as the center components can get a bit tough.
7. Blue Lakes Trail
This is probably going one of the best hike in Colorado to see mountain goats as a herd is understood to roam the realm. The hike is simply 1 mile lengthy with an elevation achieve of simply 108 ft however getting there is usually a problem as you’ve acquired to stand up a steep gravel street to get to the Blue Lakes trailhead which is healthier for 4WD automobiles. Alternatively, you’ll be able to simply stroll the gravel street as much as the trailhead. Just be aware this hike is to not be confused with the Blue Lakes Hike close to Telluride. They are 2 totally different hikes.
This place can get fairly busy and the parking zone is small so, we suggest 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 attractive Blue Lakes and wonderful wildflowers when in season. Do be aware 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 just under the cliff with remnants of its lake mattress nonetheless on prime 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 among the best hikes in Colorado to get a taste of the entire state, you want this hike It is positioned in White River National Park, and the Mayflower Lake and Mohawk Lakes path gives among the best hikes. This is a 7.8-mile hike with a 1920-foot elevation achieve. This is without doubt one of the greatest hikes in Colorado in case you are touring together with your canine as many trails don’t let permit 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 testing waterfalls alongside the way in which. The starting of the path is average 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 beautiful.
10. First and Second Flatirons Loop Trail
This 2.7-mile path goes to take you thru among the most beautiful surroundings in Colorado, but it surely definitely isn’t going to be straightforward. You should do some mountain climbing if you wish to see Boulder’s iconic flat irons. This flatirons path is concrete and steep in the start however then softens out once you get to the filth 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 positioned 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 a whole lot of 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 type 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 among the best hikes in Colorado for households. It takes you round Monarch Lake and makes for a pleasant method to spend time with household. Some animals do frequent the realm with a majority of the sitings being of moose. The trailhead is positioned on Highway 125 close to Monarch Lake. Here you can see bogs and parking.
13. Pawnee Pass Trail
You can take a look at a glacier as you make your means alongside Pawnee Pass Trail to Isabelle Lake. After that, you’re doing a little switchbacks to get to beautiful 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 when you have younger youngsters.
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 many 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 in case 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 previous stone constructing you’ll be able to discover. There are switchbacks and as we talked about, steep inclines, however this is without doubt one of the greatest climbing trails in Colorado in case you like an journey.
15. Crater Lake Trail
This 3.5-mile path is without doubt one of the greatest hikes in Colorado and doubtless one of the best in Aspen. It is positioned in the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness Area. It was fashioned from geological processes that passed off 1000’s 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 be positioned in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area, close to Aspen, Colorado. The path spans roughly 3.3 miles and takes hikers via among the most beautiful 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 among the most iconic in the Rocky Mountains, and their towering presence is a sight to behold particularly as they’re mirrored in the lake beneath. They are often known as essentially the most photographed mountains in North America.
The Maroon Bells Scenic Loop Trail is rated as average problem, making it accessible to hikers of all ability ranges. The path does get actually busy in the excessive season, however the views are price it. This can be the kicking-off level for the hike to Crater Lake and we might recommend incorporating that into your day as effectively.
17. South Colony Lakes Trail
The South Colony Lakes Trail is a difficult climbing path positioned in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains, close to Westcliffe, Colorado. The path is about 12 miles and takes you thru among the most beautiful pure landscapes in the realm.
The trailhead for the South Colony Lakes Trail is positioned on the finish of a mud street, 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 tougher, 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 are over 14,000 ft in elevation, together with Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle. These majestic peaks are among the most difficult to climb in Colorado, and their towering presence is awe-inspiring.
The South Colony Lakes Trail is rated as tough, making it appropriate for skilled hikers who’re in good bodily situation. The path is well-maintained and clearly marked, however hikers must be ready for steep climbs and doubtlessly difficult climate circumstances.
18. Fish Creek Falls Trail
Fish Creek Falls Trail is a well-liked climbing vacation spot positioned close to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The trailhead for Fish Creek Falls could be accessed from Fish Creek Falls Road, which is positioned roughly three miles from downtown Steamboat Springs.
The path is roughly 4.7 miles spherical journey and gives beautiful views of the 283-foot Fish Creek Falls. The rocky path is strenuous, with an elevation achieve 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 searching for a better route you’ll be able to take the straightforward, 0.3-mile paved path to the falls viewing space. Make certain to examine the web site as this path is usually closed because of avalanche danger in the winter and early spring.
Rocky Mountain National Park Entrance Fees
The first half of this information to one of the best hikes in Colorado focuses on among the greatest 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 one of the best 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 cross 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 essentially the most scenic hike in Colorado?
One of essentially 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, take a look at the Continental Divide at Wolf Creek Pass. That’s positioned in the San Juan Mountain vary and offers you beautiful 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 gives you an elevation achieve of 2500 ft with rock scrambles, and steep climbs, and in flip, is taken into account tough.
How many hikes are in Colorado?
There are a whole bunch 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 totally different hikes however a terrific place to start out a hike in your street journey in Colorado proper now could be to go to Rocky Mountain National Park. There you could have plenty of selections and you may ask the park ranger which is greatest to go on proper now relying on the season and closures.
Map of Colorado Hiking Trails
There is little question that climbing in Colorado is one thing that must be added to any outside lover’s bucket record. With one of the 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.