Colorado is considered one of the best spots for hiking in the country. There are hundreds of trails to choose from and it’s hard to know where to begin. As running enthusiasts, we’ve assembled a list of the best Colorado hikes, ranging from easy 1 mile strolls to challenging 8-mile round trip hikes in the scenic Rocky Mountain National Park. The variety of trails and majestic views that Colorado offers is perfect for planning your next day hike.
Here is just a handful of out some of the best hikes Colorado provides:
Maroon Bells’ trails near Aspen feature multiple hiking trails and some of the most beautiful spots in Colorado. The landscape is decorated with lakes, golden aspens, cascades against the backdrop of the Maroon Bells peaks. Visitors can discover five trails that are 1 to 13 miles round trip (depending on the trail), with easy and moderate options. There are also many camping sites and shuttle options for those hoping to plan a days-long excursion.
Moderate in difficulty, Hanging Lake features a short but demanding hike that takes you to two waterfalls and what is commonly known as one of the most beautiful lakes in Colorado. The nearly three-hour drive to the trailhead from Denver is located just south of Glenwood Springs, a family-oriented vacation spot in Colorado. Often considered the most popular hike in all of Colorado, visitors should arrive early for parking. This Hanging Lake Trail Guide gives you a comprehensive set of tips and details for making this day hike a fun family adventure.
Fountain Valley Trail at Roxborough State Park
An easy escapade for those who want a peaceful nature walk, Fountain Valley Trail doesn’t shy away from the scenic views. The 2.3-mile trail near Denver in Roxborough State Park is often cited as the Garden of the Gods, featuring giant pink and orange rock slabs that make for a beautiful contrast against the blue sky. On foggy days, hiking the trail feels enchanting. Similar to the Rocky Mountain National Park, no pets are allowed and all entrants are required to purchase a state park pass or pay a daily fee.
First and Second Flatirons
Located just 45 minutes outside of Denver, these hikes offer moderate difficulty and 2.6 miles round trip. It’s the perfect spot to start off with a hike that’s a bit more challenging. Hiking in the Flatirons leads visitors through a green meadow and then through a notch between the first and second flatirons. Continue to the backside of the majestic giants and find a shaded alcove where you can take in the snow-topped front range of the Colorado Rockies.
Rocky Mountain National Park
With so many hiking paths to choose from in the large frontier, Rocky Mountain National Park offers no limit to its hiking options. If you want to visit a waterfall within the park, check out Alberta Falls, a favorite among the short hikes in the park. Starting at Alberta Lake, hikers can explore such areas like the Loch, Timberline Falls and the Glacier Gorge.
Fern Falls boasts a 5.4-mile round trip and moderate difficulty. Located on the east side of the park, the waterfall cascades over rock and fallen trees and moss and ferns as it winds down through the forest near the trail. Adventurers often hike beyond Fern Falls to Fern Lake, another stunning destination in the national park.
If you’re looking for something more challenging, Timberline Falls feature a demanding but rewarding hike. Passing through Alberta Falls and into the wonderful Loch Vale, many hikers extend their hike beyond these falls to the alpine lakes above. Before you start out on the trail, it’s best to explore the full trail profile.
Additionally, the 6.4-mile Four Lakes and Waterfall loop offers a more moderate hiking experience. This mesmerizing hike takes you to four beautiful subalpine lakes and leads to Alberta Falls, the most frequently visited waterfalls in the park (mentioned above). As this trail offers a diversity of terrain and destinations, this is a great option if you’re looking for your money’s worth and only have one day to explore the park.