Hiking in the Centennial State gives you a lot of options, but how do you know which trail to choose? Here is a list of the best hiking in Colorado.
The snow is beginning to melt up high and the sun is brightly shining; it’s time for hiking season in Colorado!
But, how do you know where to begin? The state is a veritable cornucopia of scenic vistas and jaw-dropping singletrack, so we’d suggest choosing a trail based on your desired region of the state. Breckenridge? Denver? Boulder? Crested Butte? Truly, you can’t go wrong, as the state is simply dotted with trails begging to be explored! Once you know where you want to go, take a look at the following trails to find some of the best hiking in Colorado.
Best Hiking in Colorado
Length: 4.9 miles
Elevation gain: 1,100 feet
hiking with children can opt for the shortest trek to the lake for some chilly summer splashing, while experienced hikers can continue up the glacier, or even up nearby James Peak (13,294 feet).
Length: One mile RT to the lake and back; 1.5 miles RT to the top of the glacier
Elevation gain: 410 feet
Parking: $5 fee
Related: Hiking Near Denver? Here Are The 7 Best Hikes
Note: While Mills Lake isn’t the most difficult trail in the park, it does expose hikers to Colorado’s infamous high altitude. The trailhead is located at 9,240 feet, so be sure to bring a lot of water and stay hydrated!
Length: 5.3 miles (one way)
Elevation gain: 780 feet
Parking: The trailhead is located off Bear Lake Road. Due to the popularity of this road during high season, it may be wise to take the free park shuttle rather than deal with the hassle of driving your own car.
You can tackle this loop in either direction, and it can be accessed from three different trailheads scattered around the trail. Both directions are worth your time, so you can’t go wrong. The toughest section of trail occurs when the singletrack dips down to South Boulder Creek, the lowest point on the trail. Steep stairs or singletrack climb away from the stream to regain elevation.
Length: 7.7 miles
Elevation gain: 892 feet
We’d suggest tackling the Castle Trail for a less-crowded option to see the ruins. The first few miles flaunt some steep switchbacks, but it’s a well-maintained trail that is worth the sweat equity.
Length: 7.9 miles RT
Elevation gain: 1,827 feet
The Red Rocks Trail makes a great jaunt for sunrise strolls or even trail running excursions. It’s also a wonderful family-friendly option, since the scenery is top-shelf and the location is easy to get to. Families will love this option, since you can hike as much or as little as you’d like with your little ones in tow. Plus, do we need to remind you of how iconic Red Rocks is?
Length: 6.3 miles RT
Elevation gain: 1,335 feet
For those who continue, Snodgrass is an exceptional option if you consider yourself a leaf-peeper. Golden leaves dot the trailside, and the path offers outstanding views of the rugged Elk Range to the north. If you catch Snodgrass during wildflower season (late June-early July usually), you’ll also witness an eyeful of astonishingly gorgeous wildflowers. Trust us, it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen!
Length: 6.1 miles RT
Elevation gain: 1,421 feet
Length: 2.2 miles RT
Elevation gain: 551 feet
The beauty of this hike is that it starts and ends above tree line, but the trailhead is accessible by vehicle, so most of the climbing is done before you even get out of your car. That said, you are hiking at high elevations (above 11,500 feet), so take the necessary precautions. Pack plenty of water and sun protection, and don’t forget a shell to block wind and rain. Weather up that high is notoriously fickle!
Length: 3 miles RT
Elevation gain: 700 feet
The Mohawk Lakes themselves are beautiful, and the scenery makes the somewhat difficult hike blur into your memory. There is a fair bit of elevation gain on this trail, so plan accordingly!
Length: 6 miles RT to Lower Mohawk Lake; 6.8 miles RT to Upper Mohawk Lake
Elevation gain: 1,700 feet