You can hike pretty much anywhere in Colorado, as it’s all pretty scenic. Some hikes lead you to the top of a snowy peak or through alpine valleys, while some pass spooky ghost towns and secluded hot springs.
Hiking Trails in Colorado
There are literally too many hiking trails in the state to name. Every city, state and national park has at least one, and that’s only a small fraction of what’s located throughout public land. Below are longer hikes, which can be done in sections as a day hike, or multi-day trek.
Guide to Hiking Trails in Colorado
Colorado is a hiker’s paradise. From jagged 14,000 foot peaks to rolling forest hills, you can find it here. Remember to adjust for the elevation and prepare properly.
Summer is the most popular time of year to hike. The spring snow has had a chance to melt off the trails by June, and locals’ and tourists hit the trails. Afternoon thunderstorms are most common in June and July, so always start your hike early, and turn back if you see signs of a storm rolling in.
Two of the most notable, long-distance hiking trails in Colorado:
Colorado Trail – 486 mile trail from Waterton Canyon in Littleton to Durango; built by mostly volunteers, this outstanding route connects the foothills, near Chatfield Reservoir with Southwest Colorado. It passes through 7 national forests, 6 wilderness areas, and 5 major river systems.
Continental Divide Trail – 3,100 mile national trail through the Rockies from Canada to Mexico. It passes through Colorado for approximately 800 miles. It crosses paths with the Colorado Trail several times.
Hiking trails in Colorado’s parks and wilderness
From quick lunch break treks to a more enduring adventure into the vast wilderness, Colorado’s full of great hikes. Prep your backpack and take on an overnight hike. Or just find something perfect for a morning triumph, so you’re back by dinner.
City parks provide an easy opportunity for a relaxing trek. National parks and monuments are great places to hike. All state parks offer a chance to stretch your legs and walk around.
These towns show nearby hiking with trails of varying lengths and difficulty.
Hiking gear checklist
Depending on the hike length and difficulty, gear needs change. On a short, quarter-mile hike, you’ll probably be fine with running shoes and a t-shirt. On longer treks though, you’ll need to pack smarter.
Always dress in layers so you can remove longer-sleeves while you hike uphill and add them on again when you need them. It’s smart to have a lightweight rain-jacket that you can compress inside your pack. It can double as a layer of warmth when needed. Most importantly, bring a friend, and tell someone else where you’re going and when you expect to be back.
Here is a simple hiking checklist:
- Hat and sunglasses
- Water and food
- Knife, compass, map
- Camera, cell phone
- Sunscreen, lip balm
- Poncho or rain gear – a heavy duty garbage bag is excellent
- Cold weather gear – gloves, jacket, pants
- Weatherproof matches and fire starter
- Flash light and spare batteries
- First aid kit (affiliate link)
- Waterproof zip-lock bags for select items
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Most of the activities on this site can be combined with hiking in some way. At the end of the day, a campsite is a wonderful place to unwind. Some hikes lead to remote fishing gems, while others begin by them. Many of the snow fueled waterfalls require a short hike to reach.