18 Best Hikes in Colorado For 2023

18 Best Hikes in Colorado For 2023


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 very best hikes in Colorado will try this. Colorado is thought for its beautiful pure magnificence in addition to its abundance of out of doors adventures together with some epic hikes. With its rugged mountains, dashing 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 mountain climbing trails for you in Colorado.

Hiking in Colorado is an expertise in contrast to 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 tons of of miles of trails.

Top Colorado Hikes

Top Hikes in Colorado

In this text, we’ll discover among the finest hikes in Colorado, from straightforward family-friendly hikes to more difficult multi-day hikes. We may 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 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 variety. And surrounding these mountains are many different Colorado parks which are equally as beautiful. We embody all of them in this listing.

1. Bear Lake Trail

Estes Park

Best Hikes in Colorado Bear Lake

This is a half-mile basic hike for the entire household in Rocky Mountain National Park. It is likely one of the finest hikes in Colorado for households with younger kids because it offers 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 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 mountain climbing path you need to add to your listing 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 mountain climbing trails in the realm together with the Emerald Lake Trail.

Book this highly-rated personal tour of Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver the place your information will discover the very best spots for wildlife, images, elective quick hikes, and walks.

Length of Hike: .8 mile loop / 1.2 kilometers Difficulty: Easy Elevation Gain: 50 Feet Parking: Bear Lake Road – shuttles obtainable

2. Chasm Lake Trail

Estes Park

Best Hikes in Colorado Chasm Lake

If you need to expertise one of the vital 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 achieve 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 implies it’s going to be chilly and you may even be in for lightning. 

Best Hikes in Colorado Chasm Lake at Longs Peak

You can attain the trailhead to Chasm Lake on the Longs Peak Ranger Station, which is situated 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 can 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. 

Length of Hike: 8.5 miles / 13.1 kilometers out and again Difficulty: Difficult Elevation Gain: 2543 Feet Parking: Longs Peak Trailhead

3. Emerald Lake Trail

Estes Park

Best Hikes in Colorado 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 could 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 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 gives unbelievable picture alternatives, particularly throughout the fall when the aspen bushes are altering colours.

Best Colorado Hikes Dream Lake Emerald Lake Trail

If you’re a fisherman you may strive 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 likely one of the hottest Colorado mountain 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, try to arrive earlier than sundown or take the park’s shuttle service because the parking zone on the trailhead fills up quick.

Length of Hike: 3.6-mile loop / 5.5 kilometers Difficulty: Easy Elevation Gain: 650 ft Parking: Club Lake Trailhead

4. Glacier Gorge Trail – Sky Pond Trail

Estes Park

Best Hikes in Colorado Sky Pond Trail

This is likely one of 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, word that yow will discover snow proper into June and July so it’s a good suggestion to deliver poles and snowshoes.   

Length of Hike: 9-mile loop / 14.5 kilometers Difficulty: Hard Elevation Gain: 2162 Feet Parking: Bear Lake Trailhead

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

Estes Park

Best Hikes in Colorado Alberta Falls

The Alberta Falls Trail is likely one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Rocky Mountains and that’s saying so much as there are a lot of while you go to Colorado. The Alberta Falls path is a 1.7-mile out-and-back hike with elevation modifications of 232 ft which are delicate and gradual.

Best Colorado Hiking Trails Alberta Falls

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 facility 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 while you’re staying in city.

Length of Hike: 1.7-mile loop / 2.7 kilometers Difficulty: Easy Elevation Gain: 232 Feet Parking: Glacier Gorge Trailhead

6. The Rocky Mountains Colorado Trail 


Best Hikes in Colorado The Colorado Trail

Do you even hike in case 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 likely one of the most troublesome 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 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 very fashionable hike since you get the very best mountain climbing in Colorado alongside one route.

Best Colorado Hiking Trails The Colorado Trail Ridgeway

Most individuals deal with this hike in segments. If you had been to do all the 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 stunning sections are Segments 5-8. For extra info on every phase 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 individuals on the hike with you on the prime and backside of the path. However, you’ll get the very best mountain climbing in while you’re in the center. Doing the entire path is finest for knowledgeable hikers as the center components can get somewhat troublesome.

Length of Hike: 485 miles / 780 kilometers however you are able to do sections. Difficulty: Hard Elevation Gain: 89,000 Feet Parking: Waterton Canyon Trailhead  Website: The Colorado Trail Foundation

7. Blue Lakes Trail

Best Colorado Hiking Trails Blue Lakes Trail

This is probably going the very best 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 achieve of simply 108 ft however getting there generally is a problem as you’ve bought to stand up a steep gravel highway to get to the Blue Lakes trailhead which is healthier for 4WD autos. Alternatively, you possibly can 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 totally 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 instances are potential. In addition to the goats, you’ll the attractive Blue Lakes and wonderful wildflowers when in season. Do word that there’s scrambling required. 

Length of Hike: 1 Mile or 1.6km Difficulty: Easy Elevation Gain: 108 Feet Parking: Blue Lakes Trailhead 

8. Hanging Lake Trail

Glenwood Springs

Best Hikes in Colorado 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.

Best Hikes in Colorado Hanging Lakes Trail Waterfall

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 through the Glenwood Springs trailhead. Hike early to keep away from crowds.

Length of Hike: 3 miles / 5.0 kilometers Difficulty: Moderate Elevation Gain: 1188 Feet Parking: Glenwood Springs trailhead Permit: Required – Visit the Website for particulars

9. Mayflower Lake and Mohawk Lakes Trail


Best Hikes in Colorado Mohawk Lake Trail

For top-of-the-line 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 top-of-the-line hikes. This is a 7.8-mile hike with a 1920-foot elevation achieve. This is likely one of the finest hikes in Colorado in case you are touring along 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 best way.  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.

Length of Hike: 7.8 miles / 12.7 kilometers Difficulty: Moderate Elevation Gain: 1923 Feet Parking: Spruce Creek Trailhead Permit: Not Required

10. First and Second Flatirons Loop Trail


Best Hikes in Colorado Flatirons Loop

This 2.7-mile path goes to take you thru among the most beautiful surroundings in Colorado, however it actually 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 while you get to the filth path portion.

Best Hikes in Colorado Flatirons Loop Trail Sunrise

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. 

Length of Hike: 2.7 miles / 4.3 kilometers Difficulty: Hard Elevation Gain: 1428 Feet Parking: Gregory Canyon Trailhead or Chautauqua Trailhead Permit: Not Required

11. Fountain Valley Trail (Garden of the Gods)

Colorado Springs

Best Hikes in Colorado Garden of the Gods Colorado Springs

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 simple hike, there’s numerous journey available alongside the best way with pink 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. 

Length of Hike: 2.2 miles / 3.7 kilometers Difficulty: Easy Elevation Gain: 324 Feet Parking: Willow Creek Trail Permit: Fee to enter Park

12. Monarch Lake Loop Trail


Best Hikes in Colorado Monarch Lake

This 4.2-mile path in Arapaho National Forest is tremendous straightforward and tremendous widespread and makes it top-of-the-line hikes in Colorado for households. It takes you round Monarch Lake and makes for a pleasant approach 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’ll discover loos and parking.

Length of Hike: 4.2 miles / 6.4 kilometers Difficulty: Easy Elevation Gain: 279 Feet Parking: Gregory Canyon Trailhead or Chautauqua Trailhead Permit: Not Required

13. Pawnee Pass Trail



You can try a glacier as you make your approach alongside Pawnee Pass Trail to Isabelle Lake. After that, you’re performing some 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 if in case you have younger kids.

Best Hikes in Colorado Pawnee pass Isabelle Lake

It is a superb 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.

Length of Hike: 10 miles / 17.2 kilometers Difficulty: Hard Elevation Gain: 3000 Feet Parking: Brainard Lake Conservation Area Permit: Conservation Area prices a payment per automobile. Details right here

14. Ice Lakes Basin Trail


First and foremost, you could have mountain climbing boots if you wish to do an out of doors 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- ft which is so much for common Colorado hikes. You ought to have poles in case you selected going to this mountain 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 possibly can discover. There are switchbacks and as we talked about, steep inclines, however this is likely one of the finest mountain climbing trails in Colorado in case you like an journey.

Length of Hike: 8.2 miles / 13.2 kilometers Difficulty: Hard Elevation Gain: 3070 Feet Parking: South Mineral Campground Permit: Not Required

15. Crater Lake Trail


Best Hikes in Colorado Crater Lake Trail

This 3.5-mile path is likely one of the finest hikes in Colorado and possibly the very best in Aspen. It is situated in the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness Area. It was fashioned from geological processes that happened 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 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


Best Hikes in Colorado Maroon Bells Scenic Loop

The Maroon Bells Scenic Loop Trail is a picturesque mountain 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 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 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 beneath. They are also referred to as probably the most photographed mountains in North America.

The Maroon Bells Scenic Loop Trail is rated as average issue, making it accessible to hikers of all talent 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’d recommend incorporating that into your day as effectively.

17. South Colony Lakes Trail

Canon City

Best Hikes in Colorado 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 beautiful 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 bushes. 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 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 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 doubtlessly difficult climate situations.

Length of Hike: 8.5 miles / 13.7 kilometers Difficulty: Hard Elevation Gain: 2286 Feet Permit: Not Needed

18. Fish Creek Falls Trail

Steamboat Springs

Best Hikes in Colorado Upper 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 will 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 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 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 certain to test the web site as this path is usually closed as a result of avalanche threat in the winter and early spring.

Length of Hike: 4.7 miles / 7.6 kilometers Difficulty: Hard Elevation Gain: 1450 Feet Permit: Not Needed

Rocky Mountain National Park Entrance Fees

The first half of this information to the very best hikes in Colorado focuses on among 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 very 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 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

Best Hikes in Colorado FAQ

What is probably the most scenic hike in Colorado?

One of probably the most scenic hikes in Colorado is the Alberta Falls Trail which supplies 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, try the Continental Divide at Wolf Creek Pass. That’s situated 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 bought 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 achieve 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 just a few totally different hikes however an awesome place to start out a hike in your highway journey in Colorado proper now can be to go to Rocky Mountain National Park. There you could have numerous 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

In Conclusion

There is little doubt that mountain climbing in Colorado is one thing that ought to be added to any outside lover’s bucket listing. With one of the vital stunning National Parks in the US, well-maintained trails, contemporary mountain air, and the chance for backcountry mountain climbing there isn’t any doubt you will find it irresistible right here. So seize your sturdy mountain climbing boots, do your analysis, and plan your subsequent mountain climbing journey in Colorado.

Plan Your Next Trip to Colorado With These Resources


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