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Best Hiking Trails In Colorado – 10 Amazing Facts

Of course a life in the city can be exhilarating and with all the hustle and bustle of the crowd of this concrete jungle, it can as well be exciting and alluring too. In this era of the modern states, where the city never sleeps, it brings you forth various opportunities to indulge yourself in an uncountable number of activities. But just like even the magnificent moon has a darker side, the life in the city possesses the same too.

Apart from all the lively and exciting side, this life for many can also be the one where most of us might find ourselves trapped in. With all the modern day requirements to meet the necessary standard of a normal day-to-day life, one might perhaps find themselves stuck in this never ending labyrinth of existence.

Therefore, it is also absolutely necessary at times “to break away from all the liveliness and the flurry of activities and to be the one with Nature”, as this might help you to discover something which you might have lost. Which is why, today, most of the globetrotting individuals find themselves travelling not to the city areas but to the mountains and the jungles, and the hills and the valleys.

Hence, this particular article will help you explore and give you various ideas about the best 13  hiking trails in Colorado and if you are the one trapped within the confines of the modern day society, looking for a break, then this article goes out for you.

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1. Colorful Colorado

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Millions of tourists visit Colorado every year to relish its picturesque landscape and soak up the splendor of nature. It possesses a plethora of towns and cities, each having its own distinctive outdoor attractions, cultural hot-spots, and general charm of Colorado. Owing to its stunning mountains, abundant wildlife, vibrant cities, and rich western heritage, Colorado is an ideal spot to visit at any time of year.

2. Hiking Trails in Colorado

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Colorado, also known as “The Centennial State”, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts as it offers a plethora of scenic views and thrilling possibilities. Colorado is home to some of the best hiking trails in the world, from well-known hikes that explore remote, windswept terrain to magnificent treks through national parks, stunning sandstone monoliths and breath-taking mountain landscapes.

3. 13 Best Hiking Trails in Colorado

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One of the most popular activities in Colorado is hiking, and there are trails for all skill levels, from beginner day walks to challenging multi-day treks. Each of these hiking trails in Colorado offers something a little different and contributes in strengthening your mountain hiking abilities.

Therefore listed below are 13 most beautiful hiking trails in Colorado handpicked just for you.

3.1 Emerald Lake Trail

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Hike Distance: 3.6 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Elevation Gain: 682 ft

Located in the Rocky Mountain National Park close to Estes Park, is Emerald Lake Trail, one of the most popular hiking trails in Colorado that leads to a gorgeous mountain lake.

The trek to Emerald Lake is a great choice if you are visiting Rocky Mountain National Park for a brief stay. It generally takes 1 hour and 34 minutes to complete this route, which is considered to be relatively simple.

You’ll see a bunch of crystal clear alpine lakes glistening clear along the stretch. Before reaching the Emerald Lake encircled by Flattop Mountain and Hallett Peak’s magnificent spires, you’ll travel through, first, the Nymph Lake, the smallest pool after which comes the Dream Lake, where you can witness elk herds and even rainbow trout leaping in the lake.

Even families and individuals who aren’t accustomed to the altitude will relish this out-and-back hike because of its moderate difficulty.

Therefore a very popular area for snowshoeing and hiking, this delightful Emerald Lake Trail can be explored anytime of the year.

3.2 Hanging Lake Trail

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Hike Distance: 3 miles round trip

Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

Elevation Gain: 1135 ft

One of the best hikes in Colorado in the Rocky Mountains involves exploring Hanging Lake.

The Hanging Lake Trailhead is conveniently close to Glenwood Springs, one of Colorado’s best mountain towns, and is relatively easy to reach.

Hanging Lake is a beloved natural wonder that lingers long after being visited. It is a scene made up of tranquil waterfalls and a serene pond and appears to be a place where fairies and gnomes would reside.

You could stop by Spouting Rock Falls on the same trip and even get beneath the falls!

In case you plan to hike Hanging Lake, remember to book a reservation prior you leave home.

To say the least, everyone has Hanging Lake on their bucket list given that it is one of the most scenic hikes in Colorado.

3.3 Sky Pond via Glacier Gorge Trail

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Hike Distance: 8-9 miles round trip

Difficulty: Difficult

Elevation gain: 2870 ft

Rocky Mountain National Park offers plenty of excellent hikes, the Sky Pond being one of them.

Almost every hiker that visits Rocky attempts the challenging ascent to Sky Pond via Glacier Gorge Trail.

True to its name, this stunning alpine lake is home to a variety of towering rock formations that seem to defy gravity.

Although difficult, the Glacier Gorge Trailhead leading to Sky Pond situated east of Estes Park in the center of Rocky Mountain National Park is a stunning hike. Nonetheless, this hiking trip is favored for its breathtaking mountain scenery and abundant wildlife despite its strenuous conclusion.

The first place you’ll reach after commencing your hike is Alberta Falls that is relatively crowded. Beyond which comes The Loch, the largest among the crystal-clear alpine lakes of the region, following which comes the Lake of Grass, Timberline Falls and finally the Sky Pond.

Sky Pond is renowned for its rugged landscape and is surrounded by the jagged peaks of Petit Grepon, Sabre, and Sharkstooth. Delicate wildflower meadows and a trickle of small waterfall add contrast to its dramatic, rough backdrop.

Therefore, a rewarding sight awaits those who ascend through the Glacier Gorge Trail all the way to the Sky Pond.

3.4 Four Pass Loop

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Hike Distance: 25.7 miles

Difficulty: Difficult

Elevation Gain: 2920 ft

Undoubtedly one of the best hikes in Colorado (although difficult because of its elevation gain) is the Four Pass Loop via the Maroon Bells Wilderness. The duration of this long backpacking journey takes usually up to 3 to 4 days.

You will cross four mountain passes on this trail: Buckskin, Trail Rider, Frigid Air, and West Maroon.

Wildflowers, alpine lakes, waterfalls, and a wide variety of fauna can all be found in the picturesque surroundings.

The majority of the time, you’ll get up close and personal views of mountains like Maroon Peak, Trail Rider, and Snowmass.

Along the trail, there are a number of waterfalls and, depending on the season, endless meadows of wildflowers. Expect a wide range of hues, from red to blue to green, as this region is home to multiple geologic wonders.

Note that safety measures should be taken because this location is bear territory. Therefore, bear canisters are a trekking necessity, and bear spray ought to be brought along for safety’s sake.

3.5 Ice Lakes Basin in the San Juan Mountains

hiking trails in colorado
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Hike Distance: 8 miles

Difficulty: Difficult

Elevation Gain: 3093 ft

Ice Lakes Basin, which is in the San Juan Mountains, is unquestionably among the top hikes in Colorado.

Despite being categorized as strenuous as well as being a very popular hike and far from an urban center, it is a very popular trail.

Magnificent alpine lakes are a major magnet for tourists in Colorado and elsewhere.

You’ll pass through waterfalls, meandering creeks, and one of the most exquisitely colored lakes you’ve ever witnessed on your trek into the Ice Lake Basin. This trip’s breathtaking scenery and distinctive terrain make every ounce of climbing worthwhile.

The Ice Lake is possibly the bluest lake in the entire Rocky Mountains, making it a very popular ascend for a very good reason.

The Ice Lakes Trail, a well-liked hike just outside of Durango, offers gorgeous mountain views, enormous fields of vibrant wildflower blooms in the summer, and bursts of golden aspen leaves in the fall.

Thus, the reward for reaching the summit of this mountain is sitting by tranquil Ice Lake that soars above the Timberline and reflects turquoise-colored light.

3.6 Sand Dunes National Park

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Hike Distance: 3 miles

Difficulty: Difficult

Elevation Gain: 629 ft

Sand Dunes National Park is one of the prominent hiking trails in Colorado.

Out of the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Great Sand Dunes seem to emerge at random, of which the Star Dune is the largest.

The topography of the Sand Dunes National Park makes the hike more strenuous and difficult than you might imagine, regardless of just how much fun it is.

Although a well-known trail for backpacking, camping, and hiking, you are still able to discover some tranquility during the slower periods of the day.

Sand makes hiking challenging, but the view is likely to blow your mind. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains provide a stunning backdrop, and the sand dunes seem to go on forever.

All visitors to the park, including hikers, runners, and walkers, should be reminded that dogs are allowed exclusively in areas up to High Dune and not in the interior area of the dune field, including Star Dune.

The months of May through October are ideal for hiking this trek.

3.7 Mount Bierstadt Trail

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Hike Distance: 7.5 miles

Difficulty: Difficult

Elevation gain: 2782 ft

The Mount Bierstadt Trail, one of Colorado’s most renowned and spectacular 14er treks is strenuous, due to its tremendous elevation rise, yet a gorgeous hike.

This beautiful trail can be accessed in the seasonal Guanella Pass Road close to Silver Plume, Colorado, a little over an hour from Denver.

The 7.5-mile journey will take you past the phenomenal Mount Evans Wilderness area over the breathtaking views of the mountains surrounding it along with an opportunity to see marmots and mountain goats up close.

The grassy meadows and surrounding rocky terrain will transform into wildflower fields as the winter melts.

Panoramic views of the Arapaho National Forest and neighboring peaks can be enjoyed from the summit; these include the two peaks on the Continental Divide: Grays Peak and Torreys Peak.

Note that this popular hike” is best experienced during the summertime and remains inaccessible during the winter.

3.8 Warner Point Nature Trail

hiking trails in colorado
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Hike Distance: 1.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Elevation Gain: 406 ft

This 1.5-mile out-and-back trail in Montrose, Colorado, is a fantastic opportunity to experience the exquisite grandeur of Black Canyon of Gunnison.

The 1.5-mile Warner Point Nature Trail is simple and gains minimal elevation. The hike offers stunning vistas of the inner canyon as well as adjacent mountain ranges.

Professional athletes often consider the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, one of the least visited Colorado National Parks.

Rock and ice climbers are drawn to Colorado’s highest cliff, Painted Wall that is in the Black Canyon of Gunnison as well as other vertical sides along with professional kayakers who come here to tackle this arduous stretch of the Colorado River.

If you are thinking of visiting the Warner Point Nature Trail then it’s suggested that you plan your trip between May and October for the finest experience.

Note that access to the park costs $15 per person, $20 per motorcycle, and $25 per car for guests.

3.9 South Colony Lakes Trail

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Hike Distance: 8.9 miles

Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

Elevation gain: 2286 ft

The most well-known hiking trails in Colorado near Denver that hardly anyone has ever heard of are the South Colony Lakes Trail.

Plenty of individuals have witnessed the Crestone Group from the Great Sand Dunes National Park. However, the South Colony Lakes Trail brings you up close to both Crestone Peak and the renowned Crestone Needle.

Creston Group is all 14ers of which the above mentioned two are regarded as some of the hardest to climb.

Along the trail, a waterfall can be found, and in the summer, there is an abundance of wildflowers. However conquering it does require a great deal of endurance and stamina.

The ideal spots for overnight camping will be apparent as soon as you approach the alpine lakes. Most people camp there to prepare for early-morning summit attempts on either Crestone Needle or Humboldt Peak.

The place is beautiful regardless of whether you plan to climb (or not) and spending an evening here is a wonderful experience that you wouldn’t want to miss.

A reminder: carry wag bags along with you.

3.10 Crater Lake via Cascade Creek Trail or Monarch Lake Loop (Indian Peaks)

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Hike Distance: 16 miles

Difficulty: Difficult

Elevation gain: 2507 ft

This phenomenal beauty is located in Elk Mountains; Pitkin County of Colorado is a definite place to visit. You can reach this lake via several routes, the most prominent and loved among them being the two following routes:

3.10.1 Crater Lake via Cascade Creek Trail

Arguably one of the best hikes in Colorado is the Cascade Creek Trail to Crater Lake.

This trail is an ideal beginning to backpacking trips because it is frequently used and has easy access to water.

Along with the above stated perks it also comes with stunning views of the surrounding landscapes and mountains.

Therefore, hiking through this trail you will not just enjoy and marvel at the scenic beauty of nature but also be acquainted with all kinds of flora and fauna.

3.10.2 Crater lake Via Monarch Lake (Indian Peaks)

The Indian Peaks Wilderness is an ideal substitute for Rocky Mountain National Park since it is more isolated, wilder, and equally spectacular.

Be informed that an overnight permit is required to camp in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

To get to the Monarch Lake Trailhead one should drive along the perimeter of Lake Granby, but note that the dirt road usually becomes impassable during the winter.

Summertime, however, brings a flurry of trekkers from near and far, bringing the place to life.

You’ll pass waterfalls, wildflowers, and the occasional hurried day hiker on the route.

The first lake in the series that you reach is the stunning lake known as Mirror Lake

Ascending slopes and walking through alpine meadows covered in wildflowers. Lone Eagle Peak, the most noticeable peak in Indian Peaks, should be visible next.

Therefore, wouldn’t you give these trails a try, the next time you decide to hike around Colorado?

3.11 Longs Peak

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Hike Distance: 14.5 miles

Difficulty: Extremely difficult

Elevation Gain: 4911 ft

One of the most prominent hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park is the Keyhole Route that ascends to the summit of Longs Peak.

Although being an extensively traveled route, this hike is only appropriate for the most advanced and experienced hikers who aren’t afraid of exposure extreme drops and who are accustomed to scrambling. Along with being hike that requires one to wear a helmet, it is also demanding and arduous.

Hikers must start before the dawn in order to avoid afternoon thunderstorms and reach summit in a single day.

Some people decide to camp the night before summiting at the Boulder Field considering the hike takes between 10 to 15 hours to accomplish.

This path has loose rock, ledges that are quite narrow, and sheer cliff sides but the experience will be rewarding for those with courage and skill and for those who are looking for a getaway as this trail surely offers you not just a great hike but also an exhilarating experience of an adrenaline rush which is bound to make you feel refreshed.

Hiking tips: For an unforgettable journey, you’ll need specialized equipment (like hiking boots) or you can hire a guide.

3.12 Royal Arch Trail-Boulder

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Hike Distance: 3.5 miles round trip

Difficulty: Difficult

Elevation Gain: 1469.8 ft

One of the best hiking trails in Colorado during daytime from Denver is to Boulder, wherein there are many fantastic hiking trails. Locals highly recommend the Royal Arch Trail since it leads to an outstanding rock feature.

The hike commences in Chautauqua Park. From there, several of intriguing pathways can be explored which lead to Royal Arch.

The stone arch’s 20-foot height enables visitors to admire the entire structure.

The views into Bluebell Canyon and above the town of Boulder are breathtaking.

Hikers are rewarded with a spectacular sight at the trail’s end.

Also, be sure to wear appropriate traction.

3.13 Colorado Trail

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Hike Distance: 567 miles

Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

Elevation Gain: 5500ft to 13,000+ ft

The Colorado Trail or the Colorado Hiking Trail, which stretches roughly 500 miles from the Denver metropolitan area to Durango, is accessible to mountain bikes, horses, and hikers.

There are 28 segments to the Colorado Trail, the most of which can easily be accomplished in a day or as an overnight hike. The entire trail will take hikers through six national forests and through eight mountain ranges in the state.

As a thru-hike, the entire route takes around a month’s time to complete.

Hence, this entire journey even though if it might take you more than you had originally anticipated, the best hikes in Colorado is incomplete without bringing into the limelight about the renowned Colorado Trail.

Starting from Segment 1 which is near to Denver and ending in Segment 25 at Molas Pass this entire trail is bound to have you thrilled.

With uncountable number of exceptional views throughout this journey such as Colorado Springs, blue lakes, rocky trail, steep terrain to topography, including snow-capped mountains, luscious forests, and meadows, the Colorado hiking trails is bound to astound you.

4. Conclusion

Thus, mentioned above are 13 best hiking trails in Colorado that is surely going to give an experience of a lifetime or perhaps the break that you always needed.

Among the above best hiking trails in Colorado, other honorable mentions can be made too. Some of the other Colorado hikes being the Fountain Valley Trail, Fish Creek Falls, Rattlesnake Arches, Devil’s Canyon, Gem Lake, Seven Bridges Trail,

etc.

Therefore, it is definitely a thing to wonder about how even in this modern era of concrete jungles and never ceasing factories and companies, so much of our planet still remains untouched and unexplored and perhaps it is better this way!

Yes, surely modernization has its perks but we cannot overlook the fact that with all the good also comes the bad. In this particular case, the natural resources and habitat being depleted and destroyed; all the modern companies and factories being built for our comfort at the expense of the natural way of life, affecting the flora and fauna, surely can’t go ignored.

Hence, the above written article brings you the best hiking trails in Colorado, which all in its own respective way is bound to have your mouth gaping in awe of the untouched beauty that Mother Nature still has to offer to this world.

And this conclusion is to bring to the limelight the importance of the untouched side of nature and why it should remain untouched by modernity.

Click here to know more about this phenomenal destination.

Suggested Reads:

4 Fun Things To Do At Silver Lake Sand Dunes

16 Most Incredible Waterfalls in Colorado!

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