If you’ve ever set your desktop wallpaper to magical blue-green waters wishing you would be transported there, you’ll be joyful to know the very best 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 presents a number of the most scenic and difficult hikes in the USA. Whether you’re a newbie or an skilled hiker, there are mountaineering trails for you in Colorado.
Hiking in Colorado is an expertise not like some other. The state is residence to 53 peaks that rise above 14,000 ft, often called “14ers,” and over 40 state parks with a whole lot of miles of trails.
Top Colorado Hikes
In this text, we’ll discover a number of the greatest hikes in Colorado, from straightforward 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, mountaineering in Colorado is an journey you’ll always remember.
At the middle of the very best hikes in Colorado are the Rocky Mountains, which stay pristine regardless of no matter else is happening in different components 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 embrace all of them in this checklist.
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 offers them an opportunity to expertise the wilderness whereas additionally making certain they’re secure 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 encompassing 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 mountaineering 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 mountaineering trails in the world together with the Emerald Lake Trail.
Book this highly-rated non-public tour of Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver the place your information will discover the very best spots for wildlife, pictures, optionally available quick hikes, and walks.
2. Chasm Lake Trail
If you need to expertise some of the stunning crystal clear alpine lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park, it’s 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 just about 9500 ft, which implies it’s going to be chilly and you would 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 gorgeous surroundings of the Rockies. The path may 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 stand up shut and private with blue-green water that can have you ever feeling such as you’re in a Disney film you should 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 by 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 presents unimaginable photograph alternatives, particularly through the fall when the aspen bushes are altering colours.
If you’re a fisherman you would attempt your hand at fishing for trout, or just loosen up and revel in a picnic lunch, which is what we did. There is a motive this is among the hottest Colorado mountaineering 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, attempt to arrive earlier than sundown or take the park’s shuttle service because the car 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 severe 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 car parking zone is small so arrive early. Also, be aware that you will discover snow proper into June and July so it’s a good suggestion to deliver poles and snowshoes.
Visiting Denver, Colorado? This half-day tour takes you to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to see the Red Rocks Amphitheater, Evergreen Lake, and a scenic drive across the Lariat Route. Book it right here and really feel snug with straightforward cancellation inside 24 hours of the tour.
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 numerous once 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 tender 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 offers 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 top-of-the-line day hikes once 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 by 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 mountaineering 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 very best mountaineering in Colorado alongside one route.
Most folks deal with this hike in segments. If you had been to do all the hike it might 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 stunning sections are Segments 5-8. For extra data on every section try 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 numerous folks on the hike with you on the high and backside of the path. However, you’ll get the very best mountaineering in once you’re in the center. Doing the entire path is greatest for knowledgeable hikers as the center components can get a little bit troublesome.
7. Blue Lakes Trail
This is probably going the very best hike in Colorado to see mountain goats as a herd is understood to roam the world. The hike is simply 1 mile lengthy with an elevation acquire of simply 108 ft however getting there generally is a problem as you’ve acquired to stand up a steep gravel street to get to the Blue Lakes trailhead which is best for 4WD automobiles. Alternatively, you possibly can 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 car 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 doable. In addition to the goats, you’ll the gorgeous Blue Lakes and beautiful 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 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 top-of-the-line 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 presents top-of-the-line hikes. This is a 7.8-mile hike with a 1920-foot elevation acquire. 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 exterior of Breckenridge on Spruce Creek Road. You’ll be crossing streams and trying out waterfalls alongside the best way. The starting of the path is reasonable alongside the Mohawk Lakes however will get steep midway by 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 number of the most gorgeous surroundings in Colorado, but it surely 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 once you get to the dust path portion.
When you get to the highest you possibly can completely spectacular views of the Rocky Mountain vary. To get to the path you possibly can take Baseline Road to the Gregory Canyon trailhead the place you possibly can 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 consists of the Gods trails, and is taken into account fairly straightforward. Despite being a straightforward hike, there’s a variety of journey available alongside the best way with pink rock formations abound.
If you’re fortunate, you may 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 in style and makes it top-of-the-line hikes in Colorado for households. It takes you round Monarch Lake and makes for a pleasant option to spend time with household. Some animals do frequent the world with a majority of the sitings being of moose. The trailhead is positioned on Highway 125 close to Monarch Lake. Here you will see loos and parking.
13. Pawnee Pass Trail
You can try a glacier as you make your manner 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 when you’ve got younger youngsters.
It is a good journey for each intermediate hikers and avid hikers alike with alpine meadows, stunning 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 should have mountaineering boots if you wish to do an out of doors journey on the Ice Lakes Basin Trail mountaineering 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 mountaineering 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 possibly can discover. There are switchbacks and as we talked about, steep inclines, however this is among the greatest mountaineering trails in Colorado when you like an journey.
15. Crater Lake Trail
This 3.5-mile path is among the greatest hikes in Colorado and doubtless the very best in Aspen. It is positioned in the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness Area. It was shaped from geological processes that passed off 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 possibly can 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 mountaineering path that can also be positioned in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area, close to Aspen, Colorado. The path spans roughly 3.3 miles and takes hikers by a number 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 by 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 a number 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 referred to as probably the most photographed mountains in North America.
The Maroon Bells Scenic Loop Trail is rated as reasonable issue, 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 also 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 mountaineering 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 a number of the most gorgeous pure landscapes in the world.
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 by 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 can be over 14,000 ft in elevation, together with Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle. These majestic peaks are a number 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 mountaineering vacation spot positioned close to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The trailhead for Fish Creek Falls may 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 presents 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 possibly can 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 neater route you possibly can take the straightforward, 0.3-mile paved path to the falls viewing space. Make positive to examine the web site as this path is usually closed attributable to avalanche danger in the winter and early spring.
Rocky Mountain National Park Entrance Fees
The first half of this information to the very best hikes in Colorado focuses on a number of 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 very best Rocky Mountain National Park hikes
Note: Reservations Required for Rocky Mountain National Park: From May 26 by October 22, 2023, guests to Rocky Mountain National Park will want a timed entry allow and an entrance go 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 mountaineering trails, try the Continental Divide at Wolf Creek Pass. That’s positioned in the San Juan Mountain vary and offers 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 will provide you with 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 a whole lot 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 couple of totally different hikes however an incredible place to begin a hike in your street journey in Colorado proper now could be to go to Rocky Mountain National Park. There you’ve gotten numerous selections and you’ll 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 mountaineering in Colorado is one thing that ought to be added to any out of doors lover’s bucket checklist. With some of the stunning National Parks in the US, well-maintained trails, recent mountain air, and the chance for backcountry mountaineering there isn’t any doubt you will like it right here. So seize your sturdy mountaineering boots, do your analysis, and plan your subsequent mountaineering journey in Colorado.