Check out the best hiking trips in colorado

Check out the best hiking trips in colorado

Searching for the best hiking trips in Colorado? Want to know where to go hiking in Colorado? In this guide, we show you the best trails, trips, and places to visit in the state of Colorado. As many of our readers know, Colorado is home to some of the best hiking destinations in all of North America, and it offers opportunities for beginners and experienced hikers alike to get outside and interact with nature. There is nothing more breathtaking than being out on a hiking adventure soaking in all the beauty that the magnificent landscape of Colorado has to offer.

Whether you are looking for a hiking trail that is easy to trek through or want to challenge your physical and mental endurance, there are numerous trails available in Colorado, ranging from easy day hikes that only take several hours to week-long adventures that require proper planning and preparation.

In this review guide of the best hiking trips and places to visit while hiking in Colorado, we show you trails that are certain to take your breath away and leave you wanting to return again soon. We reveal the most intricate details about the six best destinations to try out. For each trail on our list, we highlight the following information to help you properly prepare:

  • Best time to go to Colorado

  • Maximum elevation of Colorado’s trails

  • Duration of trails

  • Difficulty of trails

  • Distance on each Colorado trail

While there are indeed more destinations to consider, we have narrowed down the best hiking trips in Colorado to what we deem to be the top six that you are going to want to try out, which include:

Colorado is home to some of the best hiking trips in the united states

Colorado is home to some of the best hiking trips in the united states

Now, let’s get into the best hiking trips in Colorado. Keep in mind that each one has a certain recommended hiking skill level, so be sure to take your experience and personal preference into consideration when choosing which trail to try first.


#1: Best Hiking Trips in Colorado

Mount Elbert


A quick guide to Mount Elbert:

  • Best time to go: June - September

  • Max elevation: 14,400 feet

  • Duration:  1-3 days

  • Difficulty: Intermediate

  • Distance: 9.0 miles

Mount elbert is one of the best hiking trips in coloroad

Mount elbert is one of the best hiking trips in coloroad

Mount Elbert features some of the most breathtaking viewpoints in all of the United States, and it provides an excellent challenge for experienced hikers who are looking for a more strenuous hiking trail to travel. However, it might not be the best trail for beginners who are new to hiking.

The feature that makes Mount Elbert the most appealing - and also the feature that makes it not the most suitable for the less experienced - is Mount Elbert offers the highest elevation point in all of Colorado, with a total elevation gain of 4,700 feet. Although the trek can be rigorous, there are plenty of lodging opportunities along the route, so do not let the toughness of the hike scare you way as long as you properly prepare for the adventure.

Location

The most notable Mount Elbert trailhead is the Northeast Ridge, which is located right outside of Leadville. The trail stretches across nine miles, so it is a rather short trail that only takes a couple of days to complete

What to expect

It is essential to always keep in mind the high elevation you will be in when hiking Mount Elbert. Be sure to properly prepare yourself with extra water to drink along the route and ensure you stay hydrated at all times. Outside of the more difficult physical endurance test the mountain offers, it is a relatively easy hike to trek and should not cause any real issues as long as you prepare.

From a landscape perspective, you can expect a beautiful view of the mountains in front of you, and it is a genuinely peaceful hike to make.

Weather conditions

The weather conditions are always unpredictable in the Rocky Mountains so be prepared for the worst but also stay hopeful for the best. If lightning begins, be sure to be extra cautious as the high elevation may pose more of a threat. Depending on the time of the year you go, it may be somewhat cold, so be sure to bring a jacket with you.

mount elbert is located right outside of the town of leadville

mount elbert is located right outside of the town of leadville

Lodging

There are numerous lodging opportunities offered along the way, from surrounding ski towns to historic hotels. While it is not necessary, it is a good idea to plan your lodging accommodations to avoid stopping at a hotel that may not have an extra room.

Additional information

Mount Elbert offers a very high elevation gain, which means that precautions should be taken to avoid altitude sickness. Be sure to properly prepare yourself before the trip begins and continue to do what is necessary to prevent any issues as you gradually continue to rise in elevation.

The bottom line

Mount Elbert is perfect for experienced hikers who want to try a tough, physical test of their endurance, but it is not the best place to go for your first ever hike. However, the climb itself is relatively easy, but always keep in mind the high elevation you are going to be at while on the trail.


#2: Best Hiking Trips in Colorado

Maroon Bells


A quick guide to Maroon Bells:

  • Best time to go: May - October

  • Elevation gain: 12,500 feet

  • Duration: 1-3 days

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Distance: 1-13 miles

maroon bells is one of the most popular and best hiking trails in colorado

maroon bells is one of the most popular and best hiking trails in colorado

Maroon Bells is one of the more popular hiking trails to visit during the summer months. One of the things that make Maroon Bells so popular is the astounding beauty that offered around every turn you take. Additionally, the trail is rather easy to hike through, although some areas can be tough depending on the exact route you take.

There are many different routes, and it is easy to tailor your experience according to your personal preference, physical endurance and experience level. The trail location is around the city of Aspen, and there are numerous other fun activities to participate in before and after your hike.

Location

Maroon Bells is near Aspen, Colorado - which is a popular tourist destination. If you plan to visit the beautiful city of Aspen at any time, then you have to try out the Maroon Bells hiking trails, along with the numerous other recreational activities the area offers.

What to expect

The trail is rather easy to hike, so it should not be too strenuous or stressful for those that are less experienced. There are also numerous trailheads to begin your hike, and there are a wide variety of routes to take from each starting destination. It is always a good idea to plan your hike well in advance.

When on the trail, I must warn you that you may become overwhelmed by the magnificent beauty the area offers, especially when at some of the higher elevations. Also, the city can be crowded from tourists, so parking may become a bit of a challenge.

Weather conditions

The weather ultimately depends on the time of the year you go. If you visit during late October or November, the conditions can be rather cold. However, the summer months offer warmer weather, and a jacket is likely not needed, although rain is always a possibility, so a rain jacket may help.

best hiking trips in colorado: Guide by AngelOUtdoors.com

best hiking trips in colorado: Guide by AngelOUtdoors.com

Lodging

The good news is there are numerous lodging centers around the area and along the route. The bad news, however, is the area can be quite busy, which means some of the hotels fill fast. Be sure to plan your route and obtain a lodging reservation in advance.

Additional information

From the Maroon Creek Trail to the Scenic Loop Trail to the Crater Lake Trail, there are several different routes you can take on the Maroon Bells. Be sure to do some research before you head out to know which path you want to take. Some trails are more comfortable than others, so try and choose one that is the most suitable for your skill level. Regardless of the path you want, you are going to see incredible beauty everywhere you look.

The bottom line

Maroon Bells is perfect for those who visit Aspen on vacation and want a nice hiking trail to go down. If you live in the area and have not been down the trail yet, then what are you waiting for? It is truly a trail you are going to want to check out and a great experience overall.


#3: Best Hiking Trips in Colorado

Four Pass Loop


A quick guide to Four Pass Loop:

  • Best time to go: May - October

  • Max elevation: 12,000 feet

  • Duration: 3-4 days

  • Difficulty: Intermediate

  • Distance: 26.6 miles

the four pass loop passes through maroon bells and the snowmass wilderness

the four pass loop passes through maroon bells and the snowmass wilderness

The Four Pass Loop is a fantastic hiking trail to consider if you are in the Aspen area. The Four Pass Loop includes part of the Maroon Bells, along with the breathtaking scenery of the Snowmass Wilderness. The trail is one of the most respected and best-reviewed trails in Colorado, and it is sure not to disappoint.

However, it is a longer trek and stretches over twenty-six miles in a loop, which means you are required to commit to the experience and adequately prepare for the adventure. Of course, there are surrounding towns to stop at along the way for lodging, and the trip should not take more than a week.   

Location

The Four Pass Loop is located in the Maroon Bells- Snowmass Wilderness - which is near Aspen in Central Colorado. The trail is likely to be somewhat crowded with tourist on the weekends during summer months, so plan your trip accordingly. There are also many other recreational activities to check out nearby.

What to expect

One of the reasons the Four Pass Loop is regarded well among those who have hiked it is due to the magnificent beauty that is offered along the route. It is a breathtaking experience for most and is sure to deliver a fantastic experience that you are going to remember for a lifetime.

Amidst all the beauty, however, is a somewhat strenuous hike that is more tailored for experts who are willing and able to take on a strenuous hike. While beginners can safely hike the Four Pass Loop as long as they prepare properly, it may not be the most suitable destination if you are hiking for your first time.

Weather conditions

The weather varies depending on the time of the year you go. From a temperature standpoint, it should feel comfortable during the spring, summer and early fall months. However, the precipitation can be somewhat unpredictable and the first spring months may be a challenge due to the melting snow and subsequent fast-moving rivers.

The four pass loop is one of the best hiking trips in colorado

The four pass loop is one of the best hiking trips in colorado

Lodging

There are lodging opportunities along the route, and you can also camp out as well. However, it is required to have a permit to camp in the Conundrum Hot Springs Zone, so be sure to get your permit if you plan to stay the night there. Since the trail is long and strenuous, be sure to plan your accommodations.

Additional information

While the Four Loop Pass may be the main attraction, there are some neat opportunities outside of hiking to try out as well, such as white water rafting. Whether you go by yourself, with friends or with your family, be sure to find something everyone wants to do outside of hiking to make the trip even better.

The bottom line

The Four Pass Loop offers some of the most astounding scenery in all of Colorado, and it can truly take your breath away. While beginners should prepare adequately and understand the obstacles that lie ahead, it is a great trail that everyone who lives in or visits the Aspen area should try.


#4: Best Hiking Trips in Colorado

Longs Peak


A quick guide to Longs Peak:

  • Best time to go: May - October

  • Elevation: 14,259 feet

  • Duration: 1-2 days

  • Difficulty: Expert

  • Distance: 13.1 miles

longs peak is one of the best hiking trips in colorado

longs peak is one of the best hiking trips in colorado

The Longs Peak Trail can be a reasonably difficult challenge to take on, but it is indeed worth the extra effort required. The summit reaches over 14,000 feet, and it can be a challenging experience making it to the top. Beginner hikers who want to try a 14er in Colorado may not want to make this their first one to tackle.

However, those who are up for the challenge and are willing to prepare for the long trek properly will love the beauty and peacefulness that hiking Longs Peak offers. Be sure to take your time during the hike and soak in the entire experience as it has so much to offer.

Location

Longs Peak is near Allenspark, Colorado, which is also a popular tourist destination for hikers and outdoorsman in general. In addition to the hike of Longs Peak Trail, there are other attractions around, including fantastic food, great lodging opportunities and much more.

What to expect

It is critical to prepare for a challenging trek to the top of the of Longs Peak. It is a thirteen-mile hike, but for many, it feels much longer and can take an entire day - if not multiple days - to reach the end. The trek includes traveling approximately five miles before the climb to the top begins, at which point the ascension to the summit can be quite steep.

Among the physical challenge, you are going to experience extreme beauty everywhere you look. From beautiful mountains that lie ahead of you, colorful trees and fascinating wildlife, it is an excellent experience for anyone who loves to hike.

Weather conditions

The weather is entirely unpredictable, and it can seem like a perfect day without a single cloud one moment and a downpour of hail the next. Subsequently, be sure to bring the necessary backpacking gear and perhaps camping equipment to have emergency shelter just in case.

the beautiful and scenic longs peak is one of the best trails to hike in colorado

the beautiful and scenic longs peak is one of the best trails to hike in colorado

Lodging

There are not many lodging opportunities along the route, so it is essential to plan for proper camping if it is a multiple day trip for you. However, most can travel the entire distance in a single day, although it may take between eleven to fifteen hours to complete.

Additional information

The trail can be quite crowded as it is relatively well known among those who love to hike, especially those who are fascinated with trying what is considered by many as the most exciting 14er. Therefore, be sure to plan your route accordingly. If you would rather hike when it is less busy, then pick a weekday or time of the year when hiking is less common as summer weekends can be quite hectic.

The bottom line

Longs Peak can be a difficult journey and requires proper planning and endurance to make it from start to finish. While there are times when your stamina is sure to be tested, there is no doubt that making it to the peak is a journey worth making.


#5: Best Hiking Trips in Colorado

The Devil’s Causeway


A quick guide to The Devil’s Causeway:

  • Best time to go: April - October

  • Max elevation: 11,800 feet

  • Duration: 1 day

  • Difficulty: Intermediate

  • Distance: 10.0 miles

the devil’s causeway is one of the best HIKING trips in colorado for anyone looking for a unique adventure

the devil’s causeway is one of the best HIKING trips in colorado for anyone looking for a unique adventure

The Devil's Causeway is a unique hiking trail that provides an exciting twist that hikers are sure to love. Although the trek itself is not long or require a high level of exertion, the entire trek exists on a very narrow strip of land, which can be as small as three feet wide in some instances.

For those who love a thrill are going to enjoy The Devil's Causeway, which can be quite intimidating and get the heart rate up as you trek through the narrow strip. It may not provide everything a more traditional trail will provide, but it is indeed an experience not to miss out on.

Location

The Devil's Causeway is near Burns, Colorado, which is in the northern part of Eagle County. The trail is considered a part of the Flat Tops Wilderness Area, which offers a wide variety of outdoor activities to try out, including numerous additional hiking trails in addition to The Devil's Causeway.

What to expect

You can expect to be blown away by the entire experience. From the beauty that surrounds you to the challenge of hiking through a narrow strip of land, there may not be a more fascinating hiking experience in all of Colorado than The Devil's Causeway.

The trail is easy enough for a beginner or intermediate level hiker to make it through without too much trouble, but it is essential to have a pair of the best hiking boots with good traction as a slip and a fall in an area where the trail is narrow can be dangerous.

Weather conditions

The weather conditions vary depending mainly on the time of the year you go. In the summer, the weather is relatively warm, whereas early spring and late fall can bring colder weather to the trail. It is also important to know whether or not the path is wet from rain or snow as a wet terrain could mean a more strenuous hike.

the devi’s causeway is narrow and exciting

the devi’s causeway is narrow and exciting

Lodging

There is not a need for lodging in most instances as the trail is short and easy enough to tackle in one day. There are a variety of hotels just outside of the hiking trail to stay in, so you can easily find a place to rest the night before and the night of the hike.

Additional information

You are going to see a lot of lakes and beautiful natural elements along the route, and it is a great experience overall. You are allowed to bring dogs on the trail for those who are interested in doing so, although it is essential to keep them on a leash at all times during the hike.

The bottom line

The trail is not too steep, but it can be intimidating to some who have a fear of heights. It is a great place to take a significant other or close friend, and the journey through can provide a fantastic bonding opportunity.


#6: Best Hiking Trips in Colorado

Hanging Lake


A quick guide to Hanging Lake:

  • Best time to go: May - October

  • Max elevation: 7,040 feet

  • Duration: 1 day

  • Difficulty: Intermediate

  • Distance: 3.0 miles

hanging lake is one of the most beautiful and best hiking trails in colorado

hanging lake is one of the most beautiful and best hiking trails in colorado

Hanging Lake is a fantastic short hike that offers some of the best scenery in all of the state of Colorado. The hike can be quite steep as you make your way to the top, but a beautiful crystal-clear view of the lake awaits you, making the short, yet rigorous journey completely worth it.

The trail goes through Dead Horse Creek and Glenwood Canyon, which offers beauty in and of itself. Be sure to follow the posted signs as they are essential for staying on track and knowing about potentially dangerous areas ahead.

Location

Hanging Lake is located in the White River National Forest, which is near Glenwood Springs. The trailhead can be located at a rest stop off of I-70. Since the trail is short and only takes a few hours, be sure to also take advantage of the numerous other fun activities around the area.

What to expect

Hanging Lake is a rather short trail that is only three miles long, so it should just take several hours to make your way through. However, the elevation gain is over 1,000 feet over a relatively short distance, which means the hike is very steep and requires proper hiking gear to make it to the top.

The first thing you are likely to notice as you start your journey to Hanging Lake is the extraordinary beauty of the area, which offers outstanding views the entire way and the rich reward of a beautiful crystal clear view of a hidden lake. The pictures do not do the beauty justice, so be sure to check it out in person and see with your own eyes the beauty of Hanging Lake.

Weather conditions

The weather is dependent on the time of the year, and it is cold and potentially icy in the late fall and winter. If you go at the end of spring or during the summer, the weather should be much better and pose less of a hazard.

the trail to hanging lake is beautiful and is one of the best hiking trips in colorado

the trail to hanging lake is beautiful and is one of the best hiking trips in colorado

Lodging

The trail is three miles long and only takes a few hours of your time, so lodging is not needed along the journey. However, there are lodging centers around the White River National Forst, but be sure to get a reservation during summer weekends.

Additional information

The trail is a popular spot for tourists, so be sure to plan your trip accordingly. If you would rather go at a time there are not many other people there, then you may want to plan your trip to be during the week or during a slower time of the year, rather than a summer weekend or holiday.

The bottom line

If you are looking for the best short hike in all of Colorado, Hanging Lake may be the premier hiking destination for you. It only takes a few short hours, and you are sure to create memories that stay with you for a lifetime - but make sure not to forget your camera!


Before you go, check out Angel Outdoors’

Amazing Outdoor Gear…


The quality of your hike is dependent mainly on how well you prepare beforehand. If you equip yourself with the right attire - including high-quality hiking boots, backpacks and camping equipment - then you can worry less about potential obstacles and spend more time enjoying the experience. Here are a few items you may want to bring with you on your next Colorado hiking adventure:

Now that you know the best hiking trips in Colorado, the ball is in your court. Pick which trail you want to try first, gather some friends to go with you and schedule a time to hit the hiking trail and make some fantastic memories.