If you’ve ever set your desktop wallpaper to magical blue-green waters wishing you may be transported there, you’ll be glad to know the most effective hikes in Colorado will try this. Colorado is understood for its gorgeous 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 provides among the most scenic and difficult hikes in the USA. Whether you’re a newbie or an skilled hiker, there are mountain climbing trails for you in Colorado.
Hiking in Colorado is an expertise not like every other. The state is dwelling to 53 peaks that rise above 14,000 toes, referred to as “14ers,” and over 40 state parks with lots of of miles of trails.
Top Colorado Hikes
In this text, we are going to discover among the greatest hikes in Colorado, from simple family-friendly hikes to more difficult multi-day hikes. We can even present ideas for planning your journey and staying secure whereas on the paths. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a newbie, mountain climbing in Colorado is an journey you’ll always remember.
At the middle of the most effective 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 dwelling to gems of the visible variety. And surrounding these mountains are many different Colorado parks which might be equally as gorgeous. We embody all of them in this listing.
1. Bear Lake Trail
This is a half-mile basic hike for the entire household in Rocky Mountain National Park. It is among 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 toes. Despite being a reasonably simple 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 certainly a Colorado mountain climbing path you need to add to your listing in case you are searching for a pleasant simple hike with the household. It can be used as a jumping-off level for different mountain climbing trails in the realm together with the Emerald Lake Trail.
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2. Chasm Lake Trail
If you need to expertise some 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 toes. It is taken into account a tough path as you’ll be beginning out the path at an elevation of virtually 9500 toes, 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 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 could 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 you could do the Emerald Lake Trail. This Rocky Mountain National Park path is straightforward at simply 3.6 miles with an elevation change of 650 toes.
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 best way, 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 provides unbelievable photograph alternatives, particularly in the course of the fall when the aspen bushes are altering colours.
If you’re a fisherman you may strive your hand at fishing for trout, or just loosen up and luxuriate in a picnic lunch, which is what we did. There is a cause this is among the hottest Colorado mountain 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 might be 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 among 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 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, word that yow will discover 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 rather a lot as there are a lot of whenever you go to Colorado. The Alberta Falls path is a 1.7-mile out-and-back hike with elevation adjustments of 232 toes which might be gentle and gradual.
Along the best way, 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 finest day hikes whenever you’re staying in city.
6. The Rocky Mountains Colorado Trail
Do you even hike if you happen to’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 tough trails in Colorado.
This is the mom of all of the mountain 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 shall be hitting a excessive of greater than 13,000 toes in the San Juan Mountains in your uphill climbing. The Colorado Trail is a highly regarded hike since you get the most effective mountain climbing in Colorado alongside one route.
Most folks deal with this hike in segments. If you had been to do the complete hike it could take you anyplace from 4 to six weeks. Luckily, it’s damaged up into 28 segments and you may hike many of those individually. Some of probably the most lovely sections are Segments 5-8. For extra info on every section take a look at The Colorado Trail Foundation.
Along the best way, 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 a lot of folks on the hike with you on the high and backside of the path. However, you’ll get the most effective mountain climbing in whenever you’re in the center. Doing the entire path is greatest for skilled hikers as the center components can get just a little tough.
7. Blue Lakes Trail
This is probably going the most effective 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 toes however getting there could be a problem as you’ve obtained to rise up a steep gravel highway to get to the Blue Lakes trailhead which is healthier for 4WD automobiles. Alternatively, you may simply stroll the gravel highway as much as the trailhead. Just word 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 suggest carpooling and visiting mid-week, when the crowds are at their lowest.
More folks report seeing mountain goats in the afternoon than in the morning, however each occasions are potential. In addition to the goats, you’ll the gorgeous Blue Lakes and wonderful wildflowers when in season. Do word that there’s scrambling required.
8. Hanging Lake Trail
Surely the title 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 preferred 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 finest 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 provides among the finest hikes. This is a 7.8-mile hike with a 1920-foot elevation achieve. This is among the greatest hikes in Colorado in case you are touring along 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 best way. 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 among the most gorgeous surroundings in Colorado, but it surely definitely isn’t going to be simple. 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 whenever you get to the filth path portion.
When you get to the highest you may completely spectacular views of the Rocky Mountain vary. To get to the path you may take Baseline Road to the Gregory Canyon trailhead the place you may 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 consists of the Gods trails, and is taken into account fairly simple. Despite being a simple hike, there’s quite a lot of journey available alongside the best way with purple rock formations abound.
If you’re fortunate, you may 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 simple and tremendous common and makes it among the finest 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 one can find 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 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 toes so it’s not precisely a family-fit journey in case you have younger youngsters.
It is a superb 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 12 months 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, you could have mountain climbing boots if you wish to do an outside journey on the Ice Lakes Basin Trail mountain climbing trails. This path sits in San Juan Forest and also you’re going to have an incline of 3000- toes which is rather a lot for common Colorado hikes. You ought to have poles if you happen to selected going to this mountain climbing vacation spot.
There are steep climbs however you might be additionally rewarded with views of ice lakes, together with an island lake, and even an outdated stone constructing you may discover. There are switchbacks and as we talked about, steep inclines, however this is among the greatest mountain climbing trails in Colorado if you happen to like an journey.
15. Crater Lake Trail
This 3.5-mile path is among the greatest hikes in Colorado and doubtless the most effective in Aspen. It is situated in the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness Area. It was shaped from geological processes that happened 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 may 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 mountain climbing path that can be situated 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 gorgeous pure landscapes in the nation.
The trailhead for the Maroon Bells Scenic Loop Trail is located at Maroon Lake. From there, hikers can observe the path because it winds via the wilderness space, passing by groves of aspen bushes, 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 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 ability ranges. The path does get actually busy in the excessive season, however the views are value it. This can be the kicking-off level for the hike to Crater Lake and we might counsel incorporating that into your day as effectively.
17. South Colony Lakes Trail
The South Colony Lakes Trail is a difficult mountain 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 among 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 simple, passing via a forest of aspen and pine bushes. 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 might be over 14,000 toes 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 needs to be ready for steep climbs and probably difficult climate situations.
18. Fish Creek Falls Trail
Fish Creek Falls Trail is a well-liked mountain 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 provides gorgeous views of the 283-foot Fish Creek Falls. The rocky path is strenuous, with an elevation achieve of roughly 1,450 toes, so be ready for a exercise. Lots of people flip round at Upper Fish Creek Falls, however in case you are extra adventurous you may proceed on to Long Lake (this provides one other 7.6 miles to your journey, so be ready).
If you might be searching for a neater route you may take the straightforward, 0.3-mile paved path to the falls viewing space. Make positive to test the web site as this path is typically closed resulting from avalanche threat in the winter and early spring.
Rocky Mountain National Park Entrance Fees
The first half of this information to the most effective 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 the most effective 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 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 mountain climbing trails, take a look at 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 obtained 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 achieve of 2500 toes with rock scrambles, and steep climbs, and in flip, is taken into account tough.
How many hikes are in Colorado?
There are lots 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 just a few completely different hikes however an incredible place to begin a hike in your highway journey in Colorado proper now can be to go to Rocky Mountain National Park. There you’ve a lot of decisions 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 mountain climbing in Colorado is one thing that needs to be added to any out of doors lover’s bucket listing. With some of the lovely National Parks in the US, well-maintained trails, contemporary mountain air, and the chance for backcountry mountain climbing there is no such thing as a doubt you’re going to adore it right here. So seize your sturdy mountain climbing boots, do your analysis, and plan your subsequent mountain climbing journey in Colorado.