Best Hiking Trails in Colorado

Man hiking in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado in autumn season
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Colorado is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with its stunning natural landscapes and diverse terrain offering endless opportunities for adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, Colorado has something to offer for everyone. With hundreds of hiking trails to choose from, it can be challenging to decide which ones to explore. In this blog post, we’ve compiled a list of the best hiking trails in Colorado, each offering breathtaking views and unique experiences that will make your trip to the Centennial State unforgettable. So, grab your hiking boots, pack your backpack, and get ready to discover the beauty of Colorado’s great outdoors!



Longs Peak Trail

Trail Length: Approximately 14.5 Miles Roundtrip | Difficulty Level: Strenuous | Elevation Gain: Approximately 5,100 Feet | Trailhead: Longs Peak Ranger Station, located in Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado

Longs Peak Trail is one of the most challenging and rewarding hikes in Colorado. At an elevation of 14,259 feet, the summit of Longs Peak offers panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains and the surrounding wilderness. With stunning views, alpine lakes, and the chance to spot wildlife, this trail is not to be missed by experienced hikers.

Reasons to Hike Longs Peak Trail:

  • Stunning Views: The Longs Peak Trail offers some of the most breathtaking views in all of Colorado, including panoramic vistas of the Rocky Mountains and the surrounding wilderness.
  • High-Altitude Challenge: At an elevation of 14,259 feet, Longs Peak is one of the most challenging hikes in Colorado. If you’re up for the challenge, this trail will test your endurance and push you to your limits.
  • Wildlife Viewing: The Longs Peak Trail is home to a variety of wildlife, including elk, bighorn sheep, and even the occasional black bear or mountain lion. Keep your eyes peeled for these magnificent creatures as you hike.
  • Alpine Lakes: Along the Longs Peak Trail, you’ll have the opportunity to explore a number of alpine lakes, including Chasm Lake and Mills Lake. These crystal-clear lakes are the perfect spot to stop for a rest and take in the beauty of the surrounding landscape
  • Sense of Accomplishment: Summiting Longs Peak is a significant accomplishment, and completing the Longs Peak Trail is no small feat. If you’re up for the challenge, this trail will test your limits and leave you with a profound sense of accomplishment that you’ll never forget.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Trekking Poles, Headlamp, Water Bottle, Sunscreen, First Aid Kit


Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness

Trail Length: Varies | Difficulty Level: Varies | Elevation Gain: Varies | Trailhead: Multiple – including Maroon Lake, East Maroon Portal, and West Maroon Portal

Nestled in the heart of Colorado, the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness beckons adventurers with its enchanting beauty. This vast wilderness area boasts towering mountains, shimmering alpine lakes, and abundant wildlife. Whether you seek a leisurely stroll or a challenging hike, the trails of Maroon Bells-Snowmass offer a gateway to awe-inspiring landscapes and an unforgettable outdoor experience.

Reasons to Hike Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness:

  • Breathtaking Scenery: The Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is known for its stunning natural beauty, including majestic mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and colorful wildflowers.
  • Abundant Wildlife: The area is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including elk, bighorn sheep, black bears, and mountain lions.
  • Varied Terrain: The trails in the wilderness area offer a range of terrain, from easy strolls around Maroon Lake to challenging treks through high alpine passes.
  • Outdoor Recreation Opportunities: In addition to hiking, the area offers opportunities for camping, fishing, kayaking, and more.
  • Historical Significance: The Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is also home to several historic sites, including ghost towns, mining relics, and ancient Native American rock art.

Recommended Gear: Daypack, Water Bottle, Hiking Shoes, Sunscreen, Insect Repellent, First-Aid Kit, Rain Jacket


Hanging Lake Trail

Trail Length: 1.2 Miles Roundtrip | Difficulty Level: Moderate | Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet | Trailhead: Hanging Lake Trailhead, located off Exit 125 on Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon

The Hanging Lake Trail is a popular hiking destination in Colorado that leads to a stunning turquoise lake nestled in a narrow canyon. The hike is a moderately challenging ascent with plenty of rewarding views along the way. The trail offers opportunities for nature observation, wildlife viewing, and educational experiences, making it a must-do for anyone visiting the area.

Reasons to Hike Hanging Lake Trail:

  • Unique Natural Wonder: Hanging Lake is a breathtakingly beautiful and unique natural wonder, featuring crystal-clear water cascading over mossy rocks and surrounded by towering cliffs.
  • Challenging Hike: The Hanging Lake Trail is a moderately challenging hike that rewards hikers with stunning views and a sense of accomplishment upon reaching the top.
  • Proximity to Other Attractions: The trail is located near other popular attractions, including Glenwood Springs, the Glenwood Canyon bike path, and the Iron Mountain Hot Springs.
  • Educational Opportunities: The area offers educational opportunities, such as interpretive signs and programs, to learn about the geological and ecological significance of the site.
  • Wildlife Viewing: The trail offers opportunities to view a variety of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, black bears, and a variety of birds.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Shoes, Water Bottle, Backpack, Sunscreen, Hat, Snacks, and Camera


Chautauqua Park

Trail Length: Varies | Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate | Elevation Gain: Varies | Trailhead: Chautauqua Park Trailhead

Chautauqua Park is a popular hiking destination located in Boulder, Colorado. It’s an iconic landmark that offers stunning views of the flatirons, and is a perfect spot for a day hike or a leisurely stroll. With easy access to multiple trails, ranging from easy to moderate difficulty, this park is an ideal destination for hikers of all skill levels.

Reasons to Hike Chautauqua Park:

  • Stunning Scenery: Chautauqua Park offers breathtaking views of the Flatirons and the surrounding foothills.
  • Diverse Trail Options: With over 40 miles of trails, hikers of all skill levels can find a trail that suits them.
  • Historical Significance: Chautauqua Park is a designated National Historic Landmark, making it a unique cultural destination as well as a natural one.
  • Proximity to Boulder: Located just minutes from downtown Boulder, Chautauqua Park is an easily accessible outdoor retreat.
  • Wildlife Sightings: Hikers in Chautauqua Park have reported spotting a wide variety of wildlife, including deer, foxes, and even the occasional mountain lion.

Recommended Gear: Water Bottle, Comfortable Hiking Boots, Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Hat, Snacks, Backpack


Garden of the Gods

Trail Length: Varies | Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate | Elevation Gain: Varies, up to 300 Feet | Trailhead: Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center

Garden of the Gods is a stunning geological wonder located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This unique hiking destination offers breathtaking panoramic views of towering sandstone rock formations that have been shaped over millions of years. Visitors can enjoy leisurely strolls along well-maintained trails or more challenging hikes for a closer look at the stunning formations.

Reasons to Hike Garden of the Gods:

  • Unique Rock Formations: Garden of the Gods is renowned for its awe-inspiring and distinctive red rock formations, creating a surreal and picturesque landscape.
  • Scenic Beauty: The park offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and Colorado Springs, providing a scenic backdrop for your hike.
  • Diverse Trails: With a variety of trails catering to different skill levels and preferences, you can find a trail that suits your needs, whether you prefer an easy stroll or a more challenging hike.
  • Wildlife Viewing: Garden of the Gods is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including mule deer, rabbits, and various bird species. You may have the opportunity to spot wildlife during your hike.
  • Cultural and Geological Significance: The park holds both cultural and geological significance, with its rich history and fascinating rock formations. You can learn about the area’s natural history and Native American connections through interpretive signs and exhibits throughout the park.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Shoes, Sunscreen, Hat, Water Bottle, Camera, Snacks, Backpack


Mount Elbert

Trail Length: 14.5 Miles | Difficulty Level: Difficult | Elevation Gain: 4,700 Feet | Trailhead: South Mount Elbert Trailhead

Mount Elbert is the highest peak in Colorado and the second-highest peak in the contiguous United States. Located in the Sawatch Range, the mountain offers a challenging and rewarding hiking experience. With stunning views of the surrounding area and a chance to stand atop the highest point in the state, Mount Elbert is a must-do for experienced hikers seeking a true Colorado adventure.

Reasons to Hike Mount Elbert:

  • Highest Peak in Colorado: Standing at 14,440 feet (4,401 meters), Mount Elbert offers the exhilarating opportunity to conquer the highest peak in the state, providing a sense of accomplishment and stunning panoramic views.
  • Breathtaking Scenery: The trail to Mount Elbert showcases the natural beauty of Colorado, with stunning vistas of alpine meadows, dense forests, and majestic mountain ranges that will leave you in awe.
  • Outdoor Adventure: Hiking Mount Elbert is an adventure that offers a challenge to outdoor enthusiasts, allowing you to test your physical fitness, endurance, and hiking skills on a rewarding and memorable journey.
  • Wildlife and Flora: As you ascend the mountain, you may encounter various wildlife species such as marmots, pikas, and mountain goats. The trail is also adorned with vibrant wildflowers, adding to the enchanting experience.
  • Sense of Accomplishment: Reaching the summit of Mount Elbert is an achievement that provides a great sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. Standing atop the highest peak in

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Water Bottle, Layered Clothing, Trekking Poles, Sunscreen, Snacks


Mount Bierstadt

Trail Length: 7 Miles Roundtrip | Difficulty Level: Moderate | Elevation Gain: 2,850 feet | Trailhead: Guanella Pass

Mount Bierstadt is a popular and accessible hiking destination located in the Mount Evans Wilderness of Colorado. The trail is known for its stunning views of alpine meadows, wildflowers, and rocky peaks. At 14,060 feet, it’s considered one of the easier 14ers to climb, making it a great option for those looking for a challenging but doable high-altitude hike. The trailhead is easily accessible from Denver and the surrounding areas, making it a popular weekend destination.

Reasons to Hike Mount Bierstadt:

  • Beautiful Scenery: Mount Bierstadt is known for its stunning alpine views and panoramic vistas.
  • Accessible Summit: With a relatively short hike, Mount Bierstadt is one of the easiest fourteeners in Colorado to summit.
  • Challenging Hike: While not the most difficult fourteener, the steep trail and high elevation provide a good challenge for hikers.
  • Wildlife: Hikers may spot a variety of wildlife, including mountain goats and bighorn sheep, along the trail.
  • Historical Significance: Mount Bierstadt was named after Albert Bierstadt, a famous landscape artist who explored the American West in the 19th century

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Water Bottle, Headlamp, Trekking Poles, Sunscreen, Layered Clothing


Royal Arch Trail

Trail Length: 3.5 Miles | Difficulty Level: Moderate to Difficult | Elevation Gain: 1,363 Feet | Trailhead: Chautauqua Park

The Royal Arch Trail is a challenging and rewarding hiking trail located in Boulder, Colorado. The trail offerstunning views of the Front Range and the city of Boulder. The highlight of the trail is the Royal Arch, a sandstone rock formation that serves as a natural archway. The trail is popular among locals and tourists alike, and is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a challenging and scenic hike.

Reasons to Hike Royal Arch Trail:

  • Stunning Views: The trail offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
  • Unique Rock Formations: Along the way, hikers will see unique rock formations, including the iconic Royal Arch.
  • Challenging Hike: The hike is challenging, with steep inclines and rocky terrain that will test your endurance.
  • Proximity to Boulder: The trailhead is only a short drive from Boulder, making it easily accessible.
  • Wildflowers and Wildlife: The trail is home to a variety of wildflowers and wildlife, providing hikers with an opportunity to observe and appreciate Colorado’s natural beauty.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Water Bottle, Snacks, Sunscreen, Hat, Trekking Poles


Devil’s Backbone Trail

Trail Length: 3.5 Miles Roundtrip | Difficulty Level: Moderate | Elevation Gain: 441 Feet | Trailhead: Devil’s Backbone Trailhead

Devil’s Backbone Trail is a picturesque hiking and mountain biking trail located in Loveland, Colorado. The trail gets its name from the jagged rock formations that resemble a giant spine and is known for offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The trail is accessible year-round, and hikers of all skill levels can enjoy the natural beauty and unique geological features.

Reasons to Hike Devil’s Backbone Trail:

  • Scenic Beauty: The trail offers breathtaking views of the unique rock formations and surrounding landscape.
  • Geological Wonders: Explore the fascinating geological features, including the backbone-like rock formations that give the trail its name.
  • Wildlife Spotting: Keep an eye out for wildlife, including deer, birds, and occasionally even bighorn sheep.
  • Variety of Trails: With multiple trail options, hikers of all skill levels can find a route that suits them.
  • Outdoor Recreation: Enjoy a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, trail running, and mountain biking, in a stunning natural setting.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Water Bottle, Sunscreen, Hat, Sunglasses, Trail Map


Rocky Mountain National Park

Trail Length: Varies | Difficulty Level: Varies | Elevation Gain: Varies| Trailhead: Multiple Trailheads

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of Colorado’s most iconic destinations and a hiker’s paradise, featuring over 350 miles of hiking trails ranging from easy strolls to strenuous alpine hikes. The park is home to stunning vistas of jagged peaks, alpine lakes, and abundant wildlife. Whether you are a seasoned backpacker or a day hiker, Rocky Mountain National Park offers an unforgettable experience for all who visit.

Reasons to Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park:

  • Stunning Scenery: With over 350 miles of trails, Rocky Mountain National Park offers breathtaking scenery of alpine lakes, rugged mountains, and dense forests.
  • Wildlife Viewing: From elk and bighorn sheep to marmots and pikas, visitors have the chance to see a variety of wildlife throughout the park.
  • Trail Diversity: With trails ranging from easy nature walks to strenuous mountain climbs, there is something for hikers of all skill levels.
  • Educational Opportunities: Rocky Mountain National Park offers interpretive programs and guided hikes led by park rangers, providing visitors with opportunities to learn about the park’s natural and cultural history.
  • Adventure Activities: In addition to hiking, the park offers activities such as rock climbing, backcountry camping, fishing, and winter sports.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Water Bottle, Rain Jacket, Sunscreen, Hat, Map, Compass


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