At the start, you will agree that there is no better way to see the world or enjoy every second of nature but to go on hiking. The incredible color specter, the sound of the leaves whispering around you, cheerful songs of the birds, or the lake that looks flat as a mirror – all of that you could experience in a right way only if you are on foot.
And if you are in the North America, well, everything west of Denver is saying come and see. Therefore, I will tell you about the richness which Colorado has to offer to a hiker through the 10 Best Hiking Trails in Colorado.
01 – Maroon Bells
Located near Aspen and 4-hour drive from Denver, the Maroon Bells are the two most famous mountains in Colorado. Also, this landmark is considered to be the most photographed view in all states. The hiking trails are different, and they could be from 1 to 13 miles.
The beautiful scenery of Maroon Bells is rich with lakes, cascades and golden aspens, and there is no doubt why this landscape is so popular and crowded with hikers. The difficulty of the terrain stretches from easy to moderate, and it is not to be underestimated – I thought I’ll handle the moderate one, and got extremely tired.
02 – Mount Elbert
With Mount Elbert, you will get the chance to brag about conquering the highest mountain in Colorado (yes, and the second largest peak in the lower 48 states of our country). The 14, 433 feet height isn’t difficult as it may sound, and there is a chance that you will meet up with school field trip. But, take notice that you should be physically fit when going up to Mount Elbert. Also, you should get down before any storm occurs.
03 – Crater Lake
You will probably hear from many hikers that the Crater Lake is the easiest but the most loved hiking trail destination in all Colorado. You will find this beautiful landscape beneath the Maroon Bells where the hiking trail starts. There is no doubt that during this short hiking endeavor you will take many breaks just to look at the Maroon Bells, and at the same time enjoy the magnificent Crater Lake.
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04 – Hanging Lake
This National Natural landmark can easily trick you to think that 2, 5 miles could be easily walked. You can find this hiking trail about 10 miles from Glenwood Springs, and probably it will be crowded with other enthusiastic hikers.
This downhill hiking trail is very rocky so you must come with the good shoes and plenty of water. Also, take notice that the ecosystem is very sensitive so be a responsible person and don’t leave anything behind.
05 – Longs Peak
The Longs Peak stands out as the tallest mountain in the Rocky Mountain National Park, and I have to say – it simply isn’t for everyone. The trail itself has 13, 6 miles, takes about 14 hours to complete, and through the path, you will experience more than 5000 feet elevation gain.
Some hikers are saying that the best time to start this route is at 2 a.m. so you can additionally experience the night hiking. You would be surprised by the heavy hiking traffic at that time! The experience is amazing!
06 – Monarch Lake
The Monarch Lake provides excellent moderate loop hiking trail which will lead you around the edge of the lake and into the woods where are both Arapaho and Buchanan Creeks. Although you are advised to take a trail map with you, every sight and turn are well marked. Additionally, you can take your dog with you, but it needs to be on a leash. And if you like kayaking, fishing or you just want to go on a picnic with family, the Monarch Lake has many to offer.
07 – Alberta Falls
No matter your hiking skills, the Alberta Falls trail is easy to master and very crowded by the traffic from May to the October. The path will lead you on a 1, 6 miles round trip which you can finish within two hours. The hiking trail itself connects to the other ones, so you will have the ability to visit and see Sprague Lake, Bear Lake, and Glacier Gorge. And if you want to make this hiking adventure a little more exciting, well, you can use a horse on a trail.
08 – The Incline
If you are an experienced hiker, the Incline trail should definitively be on your map. You can find this 3,70 miles heavily-trafficked loop path near the Manitou Springs, and it is accessible throughout the whole year. The trail itself is the remaining of the old railway on the top of Manitou Mountain, and while you are enjoying the wild flower landscape, there will be 2000 feet elevation within a mile. Believe me, when you reach the top you will see that the look from above is worth every effort.
09 – Mount Bierstadt
From June to September the Mount Bierstadt will offer you 7 miles out-and-back heavily trafficked hiking trail. Although the climbing up the Bierstadt could look comfortable, the crossing of the saw tooth that separates Mount Bierstadt, and Mount Evans is harsh and not child-friendly. Take notice, if you want to visit both peaks, you should start early in the morning and wear warm clothes because there will be lower temperatures and cold winds while you ascend.
10 – Red Rock Canyon
The Red Rock Canyon offers 5-mile loop trail with moderate traffic. Red Sandstone, wild flowers, grass fields and ponds are something that is worth seeing, and if you want to go more adventurous, visit the world famous Garden of Gods center and get the climbing permit (only if you have proper equipment).
And if you go about two miles to the south of the Garden you will find "Red Rock Canyon Open Space" which has geological value since the land there is used for over 9000 years.
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This modest and short guide represents just a little reflection of what Colorado has to offer for a hiking trail adventurer. I hope that through these ten places you will see a wider picture because either do you want to hike near the lake, climb the mountain, or take a break near the waterfalls – Colorado is waiting for you!