Posted: 28 July 2017
Planet earth is full of beautiful destinations.
Humans have an undeniable need to connect with mother nature.
Maybe that’s because humans feel the many benefits of spending time outdoors. Recent studies have shown that hiking can restore your mental energy, improve your mood, relieve stress, and reduce inflammation.
Outdoors fanatics love to make their way down blazed trails through natural beauty or veer from the beaten path to create their own.
The national average of time spent outside during a normal day is only 5%. This is only an issue because the many benefits of being outdoors can only affect you if you’re spending ample time out there.
A great way to get your fill of nature’s benefits: hiking.
While there are many destinations outside the U.S. for great hiking, we do have many of the world’s best hiking opportunities right in our backyard.
The home of the Rocky Mountains makes for some of the most beautiful hiking experiences an outdoorsman can ask for.
Colorado hiking is full of rich terrain and steep mountains which make for scenic views of rollicking rivers and serene lakes. Wildlife also runs beautifully rampant in the state, providing acres and acres of a homeland for elk, goats, and bald eagles.
Within just miles of Boulder City or Denver, you can find the hiking paradise you’ve been daydreaming of from your work desk.
Here are the top 10 Colorado hiking trails you need to explore:
1. Longs Peak
While this trail winds up the 13th highest mountain in Colorado, the summit views make the trail well worth the while for any avid hiker.
Round trip this hike is 15 miles, and only 50% of hikers that attempt the journey ever end up making it all the way to the top (don’t worry, they don’t die, they just turn around).
The first part of the trail may not seem as challenging as you may be expecting, but once you cross the threshold after the easy part, you will find yourself in a trail of mountain majesty.
At around 15,000 feet, this trail is not necessarily for beginners, but if you take proper precaution, anyone with a love of hiking can do it.
Starting early in the morning will get you where you need to be with the right amount of light.
Watch out for the tricky Trough area, look for the beautiful views throughout the Narrows, and get ready to climb your way up wide rocks for the home stretch.
2. Diamond Lake
The Diamond of Colorado HikingIf you’re looking for an experience with the continental divide, this is your best bet.
While this is one of the shorter hikes on our list at about 2.4 miles out and back, you are sure to find some of the most beautiful fields of wildflowers around. There are great campsites around the trail as well.
The postcard views and great fishing make for a wonderful Colorado hiking experience. Rainbow, brook, and cutthroat trout fish run plentifully through the lake.
There are large meadows just off the beaten path if you’re looking for some privacy and a place to call your own.
3. Four Pass Loop
This is a very big hike in the Maroon Bells Wilderness. At 26.6 miles of backpacking circuitry, this is a four-day hike in which you will tackle four mountain passes.
The hike has an 8,000 feet elevation gain. It is also surrounded by waterfalls, lakes, and plenty of wildlife.
It is suggested to wait until mid summer for this adventure, as early summer attempts may run you into overflowing rivers from snowmelt. If you are looking to avoid any crowds, shoot for early fall.
One precaution you should take is to make sure you use IGBC approved bear-proof food storage containers. Here’s a list of some of the Maroon Bells Wilderness’s rules and regulations.
4. Mount Elbert Peak
Don’t let the peak part of this hike throw you off. This trail is a great fit for anyone in decent physical condition.
Though this is the highest peak in Colorado, it’s even accessible to beginners.
Though the hike may be simple, the views at the top are not! This peak offers some of the most stunning views in Colorado hiking.
Named after Samuel Elbert who was a territorial governor of the area in 1873, the peak had to fight for its rank as the highest in Colorado. Many people at the time believed that its neighboring peak, Mt. Massive, deserved the title although it was a few meters short.
One group of hikers went as far as to put boulders on top of Mt. Massive to help it reach a height deserving of the title.
From the top of the peak, you can see Mt. Massive, La Plata Peak, and beautiful views of the mountain range.
The only thing to really watch out for on this hike is a risk of lightning. The high elevation may be a source of concern during any of the notorious thunderstorms that often hit down afternoon.
Your safest bet is to conquer this peak for noon each day.
5. Lost Creek Wilderness Loop
A strenuous and beautiful loop. It will take you some time at 37 miles, and may leave you breathless occasionally during the 5,500 feet elevation gain. But this trail is worth it.
Come prepared for a night or two of camping. There are beautiful spots all along this trail to set up for the night. This a no charge trail, and you don’t need a permit. Dogs are also allowed but must be leashed.
Lost Creek is truly a magical experience, full of perfect photo opportunities. McCurdy Park and Bison Pass stretch make for a scenic hike.
A great time for this trail is in the first part of July. The temperature usually falls in the high 70s during the day and rests at about 35 degrees at night.
Bring repellent for the mosquitos, and watch for the beautiful orange boulders which just seems out of nowhere against the lush green backdrops.
Wide open stretches of meadows will give you a reprieve between thick forest stretches.
6. Lory State Park Loop
This loop is fantastic because there are six different trails available to you. It’s a low elevation hike that can be easy or difficult depending on which trail you choose.
You will hike through Horsetooth Reservoir (beautiful and scenic) and Arthur’s Rock (a boulder lover’s dream).
While there is a $7 daily fee, this trail is convenient and inclusive.
7. Crater Lake
Crater Lake is scenic, relaxing, and one of the easier trails when it comes to Colorado hiking.
The lake itself lies in a tree-lined bowl. It’s great for photos of nearby North Twilight Peak too! The lake lies in the West Needle Mountains and is the only trail that explores this part of the Colorado Wilderness.
At 5.5 miles and an elevation gain of 1,300 feet, this is a trail you can do on a whim or with planning.
You can still camp here if you choose to. The base camp is at Silverton, just a stone’s throw from the trailhead.
8. Kruger Rock Trail
Calling all wildlife enthusiasts: this one is for you.
Kruger Rock Trail is the home to black bears, moose, and mule deer. These animals have made their homes amongst the thick conifer forest at the base of Longs Peak.
You’ll climb hillsides and rest in saddles all along this hike. You’ll descend eventually into a perfect view of the Mummy Range.
While you will use a few hand holds during this hike, it is a relatively easy journey for any experienced hiker.
The trailhead is located in Hermit Park, which is just outside of the town called Estes Park.
Permits are $6 a day per vehicle.
9. Glacier Gorge
Many Colorado hiking experts would consider this the most beautiful hike in the Rockies.
The hike includes waterfalls, alpines lakes, and spectacular views of fields full of wildflowers.
The hike doesn’t allow dogs and is sometimes heavily trafficked. When planning your hike, shoot for an off-peak season to avoid crowds.
The hike offers many forks and is multifaceted, making for an entertaining and surprising hike. Loch Lake and Lake of Glass are two of the hidden gems on this route. While the trail gets hard at times, it is doable for most experienced hikers.
The glaciers during the spring season are a massive draw here.
10. Mount Bierstadt
This hike offers many options for optimal Colorado hiking. You can select a challenging or easy route.
This is a popular trail in Colorado hiking because it’s so close to Denver. If you’re heading for a hike here anytime during the spring, be prepared for sudden weather changes in the mountains as snow can suddenly appear well into the late spring.
Bierstadt is a great hike for families. The trail will swing you by mountain lakes and through beautiful willows. Your four-legged family members are also welcome on this trail as long as they are on a leash.
Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike, beautiful lakes, wildflowers, or wildlife, Colorado hiking is the ultimate choice for lovers of the outdoors.
So pack up your camping gear, enter this giveaway for a supply of hiking trail mix, and make your way to the Rockies.
Contact https://www.nextadventurecompany.com/ for more travel ideas to make your trips a success.