Getting out into nature is not only a great way to stay active and healthy, but it also provides an opportunity to experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the great outdoors. Colorado, with its breathtaking landscapes and stunning mountains, offers hikers an endless amount of trails to explore. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner looking for a new adventure, here are 10 must-try hikes in Colorado that will be an amazing way to spend time outdoors and get a great workout in!
- Star Dune at Great Sand Dunes National Park: This unique landscape features towering sand dunes, and the hike to the Star Dune, the tallest dune in North America, is an exhilarating challenge. The panoramic views of the surrounding Sangre de Cristo Mountains make the trek even more rewarding.
- Garden of the Gods Inner Loop: Nestled in Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods is a geological marvel. The Inner Loop trail takes you on a journey through magnificent red rock formations, offering incredible photo opportunities. The hike is relatively easy, making it perfect for families or those seeking a leisurely stroll while taking in the natural wonders that make this place so special.
- Maroon Bells Hikes: The Maroon Bells, near Aspen, are often regarded as the most photographed mountains in Colorado. There are several hiking options available, ranging from shorter loops to longer, more challenging treks.
- Hanging Lake Hike: Located in Glenwood Canyon, the Hanging Lake hike is a true gem of Colorado. The trail is relatively short but offers a steep ascent, rewarded by the sight of a crystal-clear turquoise lake nestled within a natural rock amphitheater. Be sure to tread lightly and follow the Leave No Trace principles to help preserve this fragile ecosystem. Please note that reservations are needed to hike the Hanging Lake Trail.
- Mount Bierstadt: As one of Colorado’s iconic “14ers” (mountains exceeding 14,000 feet in elevation), Mount Bierstadt is a favorite among hikers. Located in the Front Range, the trail to the summit is challenging but rewarding, with sweeping views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.
- Monarch Lake to Crater Lake: For a serene mountain lake experience, head to Monarch Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. The hike to Crater Lake takes you through lush forests, open meadows, and rugged terrain before reaching the pristine alpine lake. Enjoy a peaceful picnic by the water’s edge and soak in the tranquility of this hidden gem.
- Section 16 / Palmer Loop: Located near Colorado Springs, the Section 16 / Palmer Loop trail offers a moderate hike with stunning views of the Front Range.
- Alberta Falls Hike at Rocky Mountain National Park: Rocky Mountain National Park is a hiker’s paradise, and the Alberta Falls hike is a must-do for nature enthusiasts. It’s a great choice for families and those looking for a moderate hike.
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison: Known for its dramatic cliffs and deep, narrow gorge, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison is a must-visit destination for adventurous hikers. The challenging hikes along the canyon rim offer breathtaking vistas and a sense of awe at the power of nature. Take your time to absorb the beauty and ruggedness of this unique Colorado treasure.
- Timberline Falls Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park: Embark on a thrilling adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park with the Timberline Falls hike. This challenging trek leads you through alpine tundra, dense forests, and finally to the magnificent Timberline Falls. The cascading waterfall and the surrounding mountain peaks make this hike truly unforgettable.
Colorado’s diverse landscapes provide an abundance of hiking opportunities for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. From the mesmerizing sand dunes to the towering peaks, each trail on this list offers its own unique charm and rewards. Lace up your hiking boots, pack your water bottle and camera, and get ready to take a memorable journey through the natural wonders of Colorado. Remember to practice Leave No Trace principles and respect the environment to preserve these magnificent trails for future generations. Happy hiking!