I can't tell you the amount of times I've made the trek from my home state of Texas to Colorado. As an avid hiker, I appreciate how there's always a new hiking trail to explore, tirelessly admiring the breath-taking landscapes I encounter along the way. Astonishing rock formations, crystal alpine lakes, meadows full of wildflowers and aspen trees, and so much more accompany each refreshing journey I take. So what would I consider as the best hikes in Colorado?
Good question. The great thing about this state is that there's so much to see, you simply can't fit all Colorado has to offer in one adventure. But that also means that you have a wide variety to choose from if you want to take on a Colorado hike. Normally, people will shoot for day hikes on Pikes Peak or a backpacking trip somewhere on the Continental Divide. And while those are both great options, trust me--you have so much more to explore. So check out this list of some of the best hikes in Colorado!
Best Hikes in Colorado: 21 Trails for Hikers at All Levels
1. First and Second Flatirons Trail
Located in Boulder, this moderate hike is a 2.6-mile round trip across a green meadow, where you'll intake views of the snow-capped front range of the Colorado Rockies.
2. Pyramid Peak
If you're looking for more of a challenge, this hike is one of the more difficult ones on this list. As one of the 14ers (mountains that hit 14,000 feet!) in Aspen, you'll take on an 8.2-mile round trip, and it'll take even expert hikers around eight to ten hours.
3. Four Passes Loop Trail
Also located in Aspen, this hike's trailhead begins at the popular Maroon Bells Lake. And according to Colorado natives, it's one of the top 10 hikes because you'll get the most spectacular views of theTrail Rider, Snowmass, and Maroon Peak Mountains.
4. Ice Lakes Basin
This eight-mile loop showcases arguably the bluest basin in the Rocky Mountains, and many would even say its one of the best scenic hikes in the state. During this moderate hike, you'll also encounter some beautiful wildflowers as well.
5. Peak 6 via the Colorado Trail
This lesser-known hike in Breckenridge begins in the overflow parking lot of Copper Mountain at the Colorado Trail trailhead. The seven-mile round trip will take you through a shady forest into vast, open mountain meadows and incredible views of Copper Mountain.
6. Fountain Valley Trail
As the Roxborough State Park equivalent to Garden of the Gods, you'll hike this 2.3-mile trail while beholding pink and orange rock formations that contrast against the blue sky. Even on a rainy day, the area still feels like a magical realm.
7. Hanging Lake Trail
You'll find this 2.4-mile round trip hike near Glenwood Springs. Although short, its demanding path will take you to two waterfalls and one of the most beautiful lakes in all of Colorado.
8. Seven Falls Trail
In Colorado Springs, you'll find this trail in the actual Garden of the Gods. This trail features a magnificent series of waterfalls, as you embark on the 224 step adventure to get to the hiking trails that take you to the streams that feed Seven Falls.
9. Emerald Lake Trail
In Rocky Mountain National Park, this easy trail will take you through four iconic refreshing alpine lakes. It's 3.6-mile range is also considered as one of the best lake hikes in Colorado.
10. Blue Lakes Basin Trail
This 6.7 mile trail in Telluride also has an elevation gain of 4,000 feet as you continue on its path. However, the trek is worth it as you'll pass through a forest of spruce and fir to reach the peaks and the Blue Lakes. There, you can fish for Cutthroat Trout before heading to the steep switchbacks that lead to Blue Lake Pass.
11. Sky Pond
Another great trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, this eight-mile journey starts at Glacier Gorge trailhead on Bear Lake Road and goes through a few gorgeous lakes and waterfalls and sky-scraping rock formations before reach the stunning Sky Pond.
12. The Colorado Trail
This well-known trail runs a whopping 486 miles from Denver to Durango. Although hiking the whole thing is not realistic to do in one sitting, it's actually broken into 28 segments that can be done as individual day hikes.
13. Star Dune
Although this isn't your typical hiking trail, this sacred site rises out of the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and is worth the effort. You'll be walking up a steep, squishy sand hill, but get to behold the grandness of Great Sand Dunes National Park once you reach the top.
14. Crater Lake Trail via Monarch Lake
Backpack the Indian Peaks Wilderness area to the gorgeous Crater Lake as an alternative to Rocky Mountain National Park. It's just a four-mile loop around Monarch Lake before you reach the Cascade Creek trailhead to start your climb.
15. Mount Bierstadt Trail
Explore this trail near Silver Plume as it takes you through the Mount Evans Wilderness area. If you're a novice hiker and want to take on 14ers, this is an iconic trail to start with.
16. San Luis Peak
As another 14er, this long day-hike starts in a pine forest and passes by ponds and pools before reaching large meadows. This San Juan mountain, despite its intimidating height, is actually an easy trail to follow.
17. Royal Arch Trail
Located in Boulder, your journey begins at the Chautauqua trailhead. The hike up to Royal Arch is a local favorite, offering views of the Flatirons once you reach the arched rock formation.
?18. Mayflower Gulch
A beautiful wildflower hike, this easy trail is only 2.6-miles and is also dog-friendly. Its dramatic scenery makes it one of the most scenic hikes in Colorado.
19. Longs Peak
This difficult 14er near Estes Park is made for expert hikers. If you choose to embark on this striking, but challenging, hike, you'll pass the Keyhole, a distinct landmark along the way.
20. St. Mary's Glacier Trail
Located in the Arapaho National Forest, this 2.4-mile trail is near Idaho Springs and is pretty moderate to hike. You'll take in the stunning views of a beautiful alpine lake and glacier.
21. Rattlesnake Canyon Arches
This long hike is worth the commitment as you'll see red sandstone canyons and arches along the way. The difficult trail runs 14 miles, so if you're an experienced hiker, this adventure is for you.
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READ MORE: Explore "Red Rock Country" Through the Best Hikes in Sedona
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