Top 10 Best Hiking Trails in Colorado

Autumn lake

Hikers very often visit this particular American state.

The fact is that there are many more challenging trails here than in the other regions.

Colorado is home to the world-famous Rocky Mountains which occupy almost the entire state.

At times, it may seem that the choice is too broad and you do not know where to start.

Therefore, we selected the most worthy trails to make your choice easier.

1. Four Passes Loop

First, you should know that one loop is not enough to enjoy the trail to the full.

Four Passes Loop is one of the best hiking trails in Colorado that hikers do multiple times.

So there are always crowds of people, especially around the Maroon Bells lake.

But if you go a little further, down the Maroon Scenic Lake, the tourists will be fewer.

That’s actually where your trail will start.

Choose between the Snowmass Trail Fork and the West Maroon Trail and start your journey. 

You’ll then have the chance to photograph the incredible Rocky Mountains from the Elk Mountain and the Snowmass Wilderness.

Depending on the season, you will enjoy waterfalls, flowered fields, or multicolored leaves.

Maroon Lake

Distance: 43 km

Days: 3-5 

Type: Loop

2. Ice Lakes Basin

Ice Lakes Basin is a second extremely popular hike in Colorado which is also really simple to do.

You start at the camping area named South Mineral not far from Silverton and make a loop from Lower Ice Lake to Higher Ice Lake.

The bluish colors of this place and the variety of beautiful peaks make you feel like a Frozen movie character. 

If you are ready to stay overnight, you can have another day hiking upper to the Swamp Pass. 

Although, the trail may be exhausting.

lake in the mountains

Distance: 12 km

Days: 1 day

Type: Loop

3. Sky Pond 

To reach the Sky Pond Trail, you need a road on Bear Lake which is often trafficked.

So you better come early in the morning or use a transfer from the Rocky Mountains.

Sky Pond is a very picturesque place with unbelievable peaks, slopes, and flora.

There’s one crowded place in the area of Albert Falls which is a famous waterfall hike.

As you have enjoyed the views, you can head further to the Loch and see the largest lake with your own eyes.

Wear comfortable boots because you are going to face obstacles here on the Sky Pond trail. 

Colorado mountains

Distance: 12 km

Days: 1

Type: Out-and-back

4. Longs Peak

If you are going to hike for more than two days here, you should take a tent and camp in the area. 

The Longs Peak requires as many as one or two days and offers the most stunning views around Colorado. 

This trail is located not far from the cities in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Advanced and experienced hikers find this path not appropriate for new hikers because of numerous obstacles like landslides or heavy rains.

Some hikers manage to climb to the top despite the difficult route. 

If you have a piece of reliable equipment and feel like you can do this, try it.

Rocky Mountains

Distance: 20 km

Days: 1-2

Type: Climb

5. Crater Lake via Monarch Lake

The official start of the trail is the Cascade Creek.

It is located on the opposite side of Monarch Lake beyond Granby and Elkdale Lakes.

You should not take the trail frivolously, as there are several difficult sections here, for which you need patience, experience, and dexterity.

Due to the fact that Crater Lake is closer to Lone Eagle Peak, we recommend going there.

However, you can choose the second path and stop near Mirror Lake.

Compared to the lakes in the Rocky Mountains, Crater Lake is very picturesque, and the area around is more calm and quiet.

If you decide to stay overnight, this can only be done with the permission of the ranger.

Therefore, most tourists go hiking in the daytime.

Sunset over the lake

Distance: 24 km

Days: 1-2

Type: Out-and-back

6. Missouri Lakes

Are you going to Denver on a weekend?

Only two and a half away from the city, there’s a piece of incredible nature that you should definitely visit. 

You will need only one day to hike the Missouri Lakes Basin starting from the Fancy Lake Trailhead.

We recommend you getting free permission to stay here overnight and enjoy the nature of the Missouri Lakes.

At the end of the journey, you can choose to go back home or hear further to the Holy Cross Wilderness which

has a lot more to see.

Colorado fall

Distance: 11 km

Days: 1

Type: Out-and-back

7. South Colony Lakes and Crestone Group

The South Colony Lakes and Crestone Group are less popular among hikers because of the Crestone Needle recommended for very experienced travelers. 

Nevertheless, the landscapes are well worth it. 

You are going to the eastern flank of Crestone Group which is located in the Sangre de Cristo Range.

To get to the Crestone Needle of Humboldt Peak, you can first go to the South Colony Lakes and camp there overnight. 

By the way, a 4×4 vehicle is often required for the road to South Colony Lakes, and you should be really cautious of the washouts. 

It is recommended to park the car down the trail, then keep going on foot.

Mountain

Distance: 13 km

Days: 1-2

Type: Out-and-back

8. Lost Creek Loop

The starting point of the Lost Creek Loop is the Lost Creek Trailhead.

You need to come to the Spruce Grove Campground and walk to the trail.

The Lost Creek Trail is an absolutely different experience because the trail is not as well laid as the other trails.

Nevertheless, hikers love this trail for its wildness, meadows, creeks, and towers made of stone.

This trail rather consists of a few small paths with waymakers so you don’t get lost.

Remember to take some water and food with you because drinking water is hard to find in this area.

The same applies to campsites.

Colorado

Distance: 45 km

Days: 3-4 

Type: Loop

9. Huron Peak

Huron Peak is another great idea for daytime hiking in Colorado.

You will have to climb and this is not the easiest trail, but it is one of the most memorable, scenic, and easy to access one as it is located not far from Denver.

While you can drive any vehicle at the lower part of Huron Peak, you will need a four-wheel-drive car to access the higher part.

As you reach the summit of Huron Peak, you will the epic views around.

Keep in mind, that you have to climb down by 2 pm in the summer because there are often thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Therefore, plan well in advance and include the time spent on the top which is usually 30 minutes to one hour.

Denver

Distance: 11 km

Days: 1

Type: Climb

10. Elk Park/Needleton Loop

Between Durango and Silverton, there is the Weminuche Wilderness the hights and views of which will literally take your breath away. 

The best way to get there is by taking the Needleton Loop.

Thus you will pass by the most scenic places in the Weminuche and find hidden lakes and rugged peaks there.

This is one of the Colorados 58 mountain peaks that exceed 4 km.

As you might guess, the hike is one of the difficult ones.

To get to the starting point of the trail, you have to find yourself in Elk Park.

And there is no other way to get there unless you use the historical railroad.

If you are a new hiker and have little experience, think twice.

The trail is fairly difficult though doable.

Historical train

Distance: 72 km

Days: 5-7

Type: Loop

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