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Colorado Backpacking Trails

Rocky Mountain National Park: Sandbeach Lake Loop

Follow this 9.9-mile loop through vibrant wildflower displays and past snow-fed streams to a huge alpine lake with unbeatable campsite views of Mount Meeker.

Colorado 14ers: Longs Peak via Keyhole Route

This stiff but non-technical ascent leads to the highest point in Rocky Mountain National Park with unrivaled postcard views.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Beaver Mountain Trail

Thanks to only a little elevation gain, this 7-mile loop offers flatlanders great rewards (big views, wildlife, solitude) without much suffering. Pack plenty of water and sunscreen.

Colorado Springs: Palmer Lake to Cap Rock

Quiet rules on this mostly off-trail, 5.1-mile scramble up a boulder strewn canyon to a gnarly rocky crown with panoramic mountain views in Pike National Forest.

Boulder, CO: Heil Valley Ranch

Hike or ride smooth singletrack on this 7.2-mile lasso-loop, which climbs gently through rich scrubland and ponderosa forest to a killer mountainside overlook.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Fern Lake and Spruce Lake via Fern Lake Trail

Get high fast on this 9.1-mile, out-and-back to Fern and Spruce lakes, which sit in gorgeous alpine valleys beneath the Little Matterhorn and several other commanding peaks.

Boulder, CO: Meyers Homestead Trail

Cruise 5.2 miles along gentle foothills, Ireland-esque pastures, and past an old sawmill to a vista overlooking Boulder Canyon and the Front Range.

Grand Junction: Flume Creek

This 17.2-mile hike strings together two monster canyons with a hardy bushwhack across red-rock backcountry.

Boulder, CO: Caribou Lake via Arapaho Pass Trail

Discover the blue pearls of famed Indian Peaks Wilderness on this moderate 8.4-mile high alpine hike.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Pear Lake via Finch Lake Trail

This 12.4-mile out-and-back sweeps under a giant evergreen forest to a blossoming burn zone, then ends at an alpine lake perfect for stargazing.

Great Sand Dunes National Park: Star Dune Loop

Ascend North America’s tallest dunes for a day surrounded by alpine peaks, a desert valley, and shifting mountains of sand on this 6.6-mile loop in America’s newest national park.

Denver, CO: Bison Peak Trail

Hike lonely trails filled with Yosemite-like granite formations in Lost Creek Wilderness on this 15.4-mile out-and-back up the Retirement Range’s highest peak.

Denver: Bitterbrush to Nelson Loop

This 10-mile loop in Hall Ranch begins with a stiff, sometimes technical, climb then speeds into rolling forestland and endless grassy meadows to an old ranch in the shadow of Longs Peak.

Colorado Springs: Mosca Pass

This 6.8-mile hike leads through old Indian country and past views of Great Sand Dunes and a sacred Navajo peak to a historic pass traveled by settlers.

Grand Junction: Holy Cross Bike Loop

Ride some of western Colorado’s finest singletrack with tight turns, long descents, and stunning red sandstone on this 7.4-mile heart-pounder.

Colorado 14ers: Kit Carson Peak

Knock off two thrilling 14ers on this strenuous 11.2-mile, out-and-back adventure in Colorado’s rugged Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. Also makes a great overnight.

Colorado 14ers: Mount of the Holy Cross via the North Ridge

This 10.3-miler outside Vail is a leg- and lung-buster, but at the end of the day you’ll touch the sky on the summit of one of Colorado’s fabled Fourteeners.

Indian Peaks Wilderness: Camp Dick to Red Deer Lake

Hike into the core of Indian Peaks Wilderness on this 13.6-mile overnight, which leads past waterfalls to a sunbleached valley and a sweet lakeside campsite.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Lawn Lake Trail

A wicked flood raged through this valley 20 years ago, carving wide furrows down the Roaring River from Lawn Lake. This hike is 11.6 miles round trip.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Ypsilon Lake Loop

On this 8.4-miler, you’ll climb well-marked trails to the tentacle-like flanks of Ypsilon Mountain and its namesake lake, then return off-trail by following a mountain stream past unnamed waterfalls.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Lily Lake to Estes Cone

This moderately challenging 7.2-mile hike to a photogenic summit proves that sometimes it’s not how high you climb–it’s where you climb.

Denver: Antelope Trail to Nelson Loop

Rolling forestland and endless grassy meadows provide abundant habitat for mule dear, wild turkeys, and other wildlife on this 6.8-miler to an old ranch in the shadow of Longs Peak.

Denver: Devils Thumb Loop

Bag two peaks on this 9-mile, fido-friendly loop around Boulder’s signature Flatirons.

Denver, CO: Apex Loop

Downtown and need a post-meeting fix? This heart-pounding 4.3-mile scramble in Apex Park gives new meaning to that old runner’s high.

Denver, CO: Dakota Ridge via Red Rocks Trail

Hike rolling grassland punctuated by towering redrock formations to a ridge overlooking the Front Range on this 6-mile loop just minutes from the city.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Mirror Lake

Wander through lush forests and high-alpine meadows to a pair of secluded mountain lakes nestled at the foot of the Mummy Range.

Boulder, CO: Boulder Skyline

Bag three peaks and bird’s-eye views of Boulder on this tour of the Flatirons. Bring a few extra energy bars: This out-and-back gains 5,000 feet in 11 miles.

Boulder, CO: Betasso Preserve Loop

This 5.2-mile trail kicks off with a short albeit aggressive climb, then rambles through meadows that explode with wildflowers in the summer. Craggy mountain vistas abound.

Denver: South Boulder Creek to Rogers Pass

A 1,900-foot gain in 2 miles rewards with stellar views of James Peak on this 6.6-mile round-trip hike beneath the Continental Divide.

Colorado 14ers: Mount Antero

This 15.2-mile route runs over gemstone deposits of quartz and aquamarine to a rocky summit in the southern Sawatch Range.

Colorado 14ers: Mount Belford, Mount Oxford and Missouri Mountain

String together three Sawatch summits on this popular circuit with long alpine traverses overlooking the Continental Divide.

Colorado 14ers: Mount Democrat, Mount Lincoln and Mount Bross

Tour three 14,000-foot peaks (and one unranked 14er) on this loop in the Mosquito Range.

Colorado 14ers: Capitol Peak

Rocky scrambles and a knife-edge ridge lead up one of the most challenging Fourteeners. Stellar views over the untamed Elk Range are endless.

Colorado 14ers: Castle Peak

This stiff climb to the tallest peak in the Elk Range offers unforgettable views of the Roaring Fork River and Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area.

Colorado 14ers: Mount Elbert

This 11.6-mile route wanders through a lovely forest, climbs wind-swept slopes and ends with top-of-the-world vistas on Colorado’s tallest peak.

Colorado 14ers: Culebra Peak

The long waiting list to climb the airy spine of Culebra (located on private property) makes this summit one of the hardest to check off your 14er life list.

Colorado 14ers: Huron Peak

A well-marked trail unfurls up this mountain and leads to sublime panoramas across a sea of granite and ice in the Sawatch Range.

Colorado 14ers: Handies Peak

Solitude rules on this remote trek through wildflower meadows to a skyscraping post above the rugged backcountry of the San Juan Mountains.

Colorado 14ers: La Plata Peak

Trek up sparsely-covered slopes and a broad talus ridge in the Sawatch Range to an overlook with endless alpine vistas.

Colorado 14ers: Pikes Peak

Escape the cars and crowds and take this 11.8-mile trip up the glacier-carved slopes of Pikes Peak, a legendary summit noted for its gold rush in the late 1850s.

Colorado 14ers: Redcloud Peak and Sunshine Peak

Tackle the iron-stained slopes of two secluded summits to photograph pristine views of the rugged San Juan Mountains.

Colorado 14ers: Mount Lindsey

A stout 3,382-foot climb up scree-filled gullies ends with rewarding sights on this solitary Sangre de Cristo summit.

Colorado 14ers: Snowmass Mountain

Bag a rugged fourteener on this 20.8-mile lasso loop linking shady evergreens and long sunny scrambles to a beautiful peak high above the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.

Colorado 14ers: Mount Princeton

Drawn-out switchbacks lead past jumbled boulder gardens and old mining ruins to a sweeping finale above the high tundra. Post-trip bonus: Soak in the steamy baths at Princeton Hot Springs.

Colorado 14ers: Pyramid Peak

Traverse slippery shale and narrow sandstone ledges up this exposed pinnacle. Helmets recommended and a stomach for gut-clenching scrambles is mandatory.

Colorado 14ers: Mount Sherman

The perfect prelude to the rest of Colorado’s 14ers is this gentle 8.4-mile climb up talus slopes, past old mines to a broad summit in the Mosquito Range.

Colorado 14ers: Mount Shavano and Tabeguache Peak

Link the bare summits of the Sawatch Range’s southernmost 14ers for far-reaching views over the San Isabel National Forest.

Colorado 14ers: Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle and Humbolt Peak

Scale three lofty summits on this route in the sheer contours of the Sangre de Cristo Range, including the signature, knobby face of Crestone Peak.

Colorado 14ers: Uncompahgre Peak and Wetterhorn Peak

This backcountry trek to two classic San Juan summits, serves up vertical scrambles, formidable ridges, not to mention miles of stunning scenery.

Colorado 14ers: Mount Eolus, Sunlight Peak and Windom Peak

Earmark 3-5 days for this backcountry trek to a campsite in Chicago Basin, where you’ll have a chance to climb a cluster of three 14ers in the San Juan Mountains.

Colorado 14ers: Grays and Torreys Peaks

Lasso two 14ers in 3 hours during the most moderate (and popular) 5-mile ascent you’ll find in Colorado’s Front Range.

Colorado 14ers: Mount Yale

A leg-busting 8.4-mile round trip up Yale’s relentless southwest slopes culminates with soaring views over the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness and Arkansas River Valley.

Colorado 14ers: Quandary Peak

Follow this popular route up a long, gentle ridge to gain intimate views of the Tenmile Range and the Continental Divide.

Colorado 14ers: Mount Sneffels

This 4.8-mile out-and-back climbs steep, boulder-covered slopes and an often snow-filled couloir to a compact San Juan summit overlooking turquoise mountain lakes.

Colorado 14ers: Mount Massive

This 11.2-mile hike strings together the five summits of Colorado’s second-highest peak where supreme vistas open over a landscape of glacial till and alpine lakes.

Colorado 14ers: San Luis Peak

Quiet meadows, lonesome tundra slopes, and elk highlight this crowd-free summit tucked in La Garita Wilderness.

Colorado 14ers: Mount Bierstadt and Mount Evans

See for yourself why early explorers and painters adored these beautiful peaks. This trip highlights two classic routes to the double crowns of the Front Range.

Colorado 14ers: South Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak

The payoffs at the top are huge, but tricky, technical scrambles and advanced route finding make these photogenic peaks in the Elk Range anything but easy.

Colorado 14ers: El Diente Peak, Wilson Peak and Mount Wilson

These challenging routes run through a land of rugged spires, swift streams, snowy gullies, and golden aspen stands. Experts: Connect the knife-edged ridge between Mount Wilson and El Diente.

Colorado 14ers: Little Bear Peak, Blanca Peak and Ellingwood Point

This challenging hike ascends steep gullies and traverses serrated ridges for a chance at three peaks in the Sangre de Cristo Range.

Colorado 14ers: Mount Harvard and Mount Columbia

It’s a scholarly debate on which summit–Mount Columbia or Mount Harvard–is the best. So reserve a long weekend to climb both in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, and decide for yourself.

Never Summer Wilderness: Baker Gulch to Bowen Gulch

Moose, knee-high flowers, two alpine lakes, and infinite views are just a few reasons to hike this 19-mile loop in the Never Summer Wilderness.

Colorado 14ers: All 54 Peaks

This interactive map highlights each of the 54 highest peaks in Colorado with links to more detailed routes, maps, and photos. Bonus: Fly over these monster peaks in 3-D with Google Earth.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Mills Lake

The must-see list for this 5.7-mile dayhike to Glacier Gorge is long: raging waterfalls, alpine lakes, and a skyline of humbling mountain views.

Boulder, CO: Eldorado Canyon Trail

No ropes required, but a camera is recommended, on this shady and scenic 5.6-mile out-and-back stroll into the heart of Eldorado Canyon climbing country.

Grand Junction: Flume Creek-Pollock Creek Canyons

This 17.2-mile hike strings together two monster canyons with a hardy bushwhack across red-rock backcountry.

Grand Junction, CO: Liberty Cap

Wind across vibrant landscapes cut dramatically by sheer-walled canyons and rising plateaus to a sandstone monolith in Colorado National Monument.

Colorado Springs: Waldo Canyon Loop

Don’t forget the camera: This scenic 7.1-mile loop in Pike National Forest serves up short climbs, fast descents, and fine views of Pikes Peak.

Colorado National Monument: Independence Monument

This 4.6-mile out-and-back twists through a red rock canyon ending at a towering rock monolith in Colorado National Monument.

Denver: North Halfmoon Lakes

Trek across vibrant wildflower meadows to two alpine lakes tucked into a rocky chasm below Mt. Massive on this 5.8 miler outside Leadville.

Denver: Apex Park Loop

Just a short bus ride from downtown, this 5.1-mile dayhike climbs loops around the panoramic ridgelines of Indian Mountain.

Boulder, CO: Devils Thumb Lake

Leave your car at home: To explore Continental Divide country, you only need a bus ticket and your bike.

Denver, CO: Mount Falcon Open Space Park, Summer White House

The views on this 5.9-miler are so grand that this parkland was once proposed as the summer grounds for a second presidential White House.

Weminuche High Route

Try a stunning new hike in the Colorado Rockies’ top spot for big backpacking adventures.

Grand Junction: Eagles Wing Loop

This 5.7-mile loop features golden hills rimmed by crimson mesas, abundant rock formations, and revealing views into Colorado National Monument.

Colorado Springs, CO: Garden of the Gods

Tour a rock garden of giant proportions on this 4.8-mile loop, passing towering redrock monoliths, golden hillsides, and views of Pikes Peak.

Boulder, CO: Bear Peak via Shadow Canyon

Put your quads and endurance to the test on this 6.6-mile hike that features steep scrambles, boulder-strewn canyons, and dramatic views from Bear Peak.

Denver, CO: Bison Peak

Scramble up a forgotten peak in the Lost Creek Wilderness.

Buena Vista, CO: Timberline Trail to Huron Peak

This 3-day trek follows a choice route through Colorado’s high and wild Collegiate Peaks.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Ouzel Falls

Connect subalpine waterfalls, gurgling creeks, and overlooks above Wild Basin on this 5.3-miler in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Continental Divide Trail: Copper Mountain to Bakerville, CO

Travel across lush forest, grassy meadows, and exposed alpine slopes to the rocky crown of Grays Peak on this 67-mile section of the Continental Divide Trail.

Fort Collins, CO: Comanche Peak Wilderness Loop

Explore remote Rockies scenery and WWII history on this 22-mile hike in the Roosevelt National Forest.

Grand Junction, CO: Kannah Creek

Check off seven kinds of forest ecosystems on this 7.6-mile shuttle hike in Grand Mesa National Forest.

Boulder, CO: Green Mountain via Gregory Canyon

Pine-dotted canyons, a gurgling creek, and summit views of Rocky Mountain National Park highlight this 5.4-mile dayhike near Boulder.

Grand Junction, CO: Rustler’s Loop

This intro to Fruita, CO mountain biking speeds along smooth singletrack for 4.8 miles passing sandstone domes and overlooks perched above the Colorado River.

Grand Junction, CO: Horsethief Bench Loop

Blast through rock gardens and banked singletrack before a final downhill blitz on this 7.7-mile ride on Horsethief Bench.

Grand Junction, CO: Zippety Do Da

This 6.5-mile mountain bike loop features the best of the Bookcliffs trails: Zippety Do Da’s steeps, the gnarly drop off Joe’s Ridge, and Kessel Run’s slalom course.

Grand Junction, CO: Chutes and Ladders

Scream down chutes, spin up ladders, and squeal like a little kid on this 5.5-mile loop of sick singletrack rollers near Fruita.

Grand Junction, CO: The Ribbon

A favorite of hikers and mountain bikers alike, this 7.2-mile out-and-back rolls through a creek wash and climbs an expansive slickrock ribbon overlooking the Grand Valley.

Silverthorne, CO: Ptarmigan Peak

This 11.8-mile dayhike links quiet forests and wildflower-filled meadows to a broad mountaintop overlooking Lake Dillon.

Boulder, CO: Mount Audubon

Compared to its jagged neighbors, this 13,000-foot summit is one of the easier peaks (no technical scrambling required) to tick off in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Grand Junction, CO: Black Ridge Trail

Take in far-reaching vistas of high peaks and russet canyons on this 5.4-mile shuttle hike in Colorado National Monument.

Durango, CO: Falls Creek

Explore a Durango secret: This network of trails in San Juan National Forest is just minutes from town.

Boulder, CO: Mount Sanitas Loop

This 3.4-mile loop, featuring countless log steps and narrow rock passages, travels up and over one of Boulder’s challenging summits.

Boulder, CO: Mount Sanitas via Mount Sanitas Trail

Navigate an obstacle course of countless log steps, steep rock slabs, and giant boulders on this 2.8-mile hike to a small summit overlooking Boulder.

Boulder, CO: Mount Sanitas via Dakota Ridge Trail

This 4-miler starts with a gentle climb along rolling ridgeline, then cranks it up a notch with an obstacle course of steep rock steps and tightly-spaced boulders.

Boulder, CO: Lost Lake (Winter Route)

Snowshoe into a small mountain lake on this gentle, 5-mile out-and-back in Indian Peaks Wilderness–a perfect winter getaway from the city.

Boulder, CO: Bear Peak via Fern Canyon

The climb on this 7.6-mile loop to Bear Peak is, well, a bear, gaining 2,800 stair-studded feet. The payoff: Long views into Boulder, Denver, and the Indian Peaks.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Lost Lake

Lost Lake. Stormy Peaks. These places represent their names well on this 19.4-mile out-and-back in the northeast corner of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Lumpy Ridge Loop

Go counterclockwise on this 10.2-mile loop touring the rocky cliffs and odd-shaped boulders of Lumpy Ridge to an alpine lake and several campsites in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Cub Lake Loop

This 5.9-mile loop is great for eager flatlanders who are acclimating to the thin Rocky Mountain air.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Timber Lake and Mount Ida

Summit a lesser-traveled 13,000-foot peak, then catch some summer alpine fishing at Timber Lake on this 13.4-mile out-and-back.

Boulder, CO: Rainbow Lakes

In the shadow of Caribou Peak and Bald Mountain, this easy 1.6-mile out-and-back leads to a pot of gold—a cluster of Rainbow Lakes.

Denver, CO: Golden Gate Panorama Point

Catch views of the Continental Divide (and mule deer, elk, and black bear) on this 12.3-mile loop in Golden Gate Canyon State Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Lone Pine Lake via East Inlet Trail

Following an ancient glacial retreat, this 13.5-mile out-and-back on the East Inlet Trail traverses moose country toward a couple of lonely alpine lakes.

Durango, CO: Animas City Mountain

Test your endurance on this 5.6-mile loop that powers up Animas City Mountain to a remote mountain viewpoint and stellar mesa-edge views of downtown Durango.

Aspen, CO: Buckskin Pass to Snowmass Lake

There is fierce competition for the finest scenery on this challenging trek to Snowmass Lake: alpine lakes, rocky chasms, and 14,000-foot peaks.

Aspen, CO: West Maroon Pass

This moderate 12.7-mile out-and-back climbs a glacial valley under America’s most photographed peaks, where sweeping views from 12,480-foot West Maroon Pass are more than picturesque.

Aspen, CO: Four Pass Loop

Four 12,000-foot passes, classic alpine views and a rugged loop around Colorado’s most-photographed peaks make this 26.5-mile backpack a Rocky Mountain epic.

Fort Collins, CO: Lake Agnes

One of Colorado State Forest’s most recommended trails, the short and steep trip to Lake Agnes delivers with craggy peaks, scree fields (home to pika), and fish-filled alpine waters.

Boulder, CO: Rabbit Mountain: Little Thompson Overlook Trail

Inspiring views of Big Thompson Valley await at the north end of this trail

Rocky Mountain National Park: Boulder Brook to Glacier Gorge

Rushing waterfalls, mountainous views, and a healthy dose of altitude highlight this 6.3-mile loop in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Ouzel Lake

Amble along rushing creeks, waterfalls, and lichen-covered rock outcroppings on the way to a secluded alpine lake in Rocky Mountain National Park’s Wild Basin.

Boulder, CO: Arapahoe Glacier Trail

From coniferous forests to intimate alpine lakes to views of the Continental Divide, this 12-miler offers classic Rocky Mountain scenery.

Boulder, CO: Rainbow Lakes to Arapahoe Glacier

Tour Rainbow Lakes’ subalpine waters before climbing through pine forests, past hidden lakes, and over 13ers en route to the Continental Divide.

Boulder, CO: Blue Lake

Sampling the best of the Indian Peaks Wilderness, this 5-milers traverses alpine meadows up to a sparkling lake perched below the Continental Divide.

Durango, CO: South Fork Roaring Gulch

Sweeping views and a memorable elk-spotting traverse at 11,000 feet await on this 22.3-mile multi-day loop in the Rio Grande National Forest.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Chasm Lake

For the ultimate view of Longs Peak’s 1,000-foot Diamond Face, climb to Chasm Lake on this 8.2-mile out-and-back that tops out above treeline.

Rocky Mountain National Park: North Inlet Trail

This 18.8-miler follows the North Inlet through aspen groves, spruce stands, and marshland (feeding grounds of bugling elk) to a campground tucked beneath the Continental Divide.

Boulder, CO: Arapaho Pass

Hike this gentle, 6.1-mile out-and-back in midsummer when an explosion of wildflowers dominates the climb to this grassy pass in the Indian Peaks.

Boulder, CO: Royal Arch

This popular loop through Boulder’s Chautauqua Park tops out at a stunning rock arch framing views of Front Range foothills and the plains.

Boulder, CO: Niwot Alternative Loop

Sample suburban recreational trails on this easy 3.8-mile Niwot route that showcases views of the Front Range along it’s eastern fringe.

Boulder, CO: Shanahan Ridge

Perfect for an after-work trail run or leisurely stroll, this 2.7-mile lollipop loop explores wide-open meadows in the shadow of Boulder’s iconic Flatirons.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Twin Sisters

Climb 2,400 feet to twin peaks on Rocky Mountain National Park’s east side. Aspen-shaded trails and unobstructed views of Longs Peak are just two rewards of this 7.2-mile out-and-back.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Flattop Mountain

A must-do for dayhikers, this 8.1-miler traverses windswept alpine tundra with dramatic overlooks and 360-degree views of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Bridal Veil Falls

Trace a mountain stream through knee-high grasslands and shady aspen groves to a 20-foot waterfall on this moderate 6.2-miler in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Boulder, CO: Mallory Cave

Climb past ponderosa stands, golden meadows, and Boulder’s iconic Flatirons to a hidden cave in Chautauqua Park on this 6.8-mile out-and-back.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Balanced Rock via Cow Creek Trail

Trek from a golden, mountain-rimmed valley to a ponderosa and lodgepole forest with towering rock formations on this 8.3-miler in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Glacier Gorge to Black Lake

Waterfalls, alpine lakes, and mind-blowing scenery. It’s all included on this 9.1-mile out-and-back hike in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Boulder, CO: Isabelle Glacier

Trek past cloud-scraping peaks and shimmering lakes en route to breathtaking views of the Isabelle Glacier on this 8.1-miler in the untamed Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Boulder, CO: Long Lake Loop

Enjoy the views and high elevation while looping around Long Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Boulder, CO: Flatirons Loop

Get up-close and personal with Boulder’s signature Flatirons on this popular 2.9-mile loop that leads to a rocky perch high above Chautauqua Park.

Boulder, CO: Caribou Ranch Loop

Nestled between Nederland and the Indian Peaks Wilderness area, this 4.3-mile lollipop trail reveals mountain vistas en route to a 19th-century homestead.

Denver, CO: Enchanted Forest

An invigorating climb at the base of Lookout Mountain, this 5.4-mile lollipop loop follows a bustling creek into a forest thick with trees and elk.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Sky Pond

This 8.1-mile hike skirts wind-scoured lakes and scrambles up the edge of a waterfall before arriving at Sky Pond, where crumbling spires stretch 2,000 feet into the air.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Loch Vale

This 5.4-mile out-and-back in Rocky Mountain National Park leads to The Loch, a mountain lake ringed by spectacular granite cliffs.

Fort Collins, CO: Montgomery Pass (Winter Route)

Grab your skis or snowshoes to experience this wintry route that climbs past snowy landscapes to Montgomery Pass, a ridge-top lookout in Colorado’s Medicine Bow Mountains.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Emerald Lake

Tour two mountain lakes en route to Emerald Lake, a picturesque tarn with stunning views of Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain, on this popular hike in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Denver, CO: Beaver Brook

One of the Front Range’s best hikes, this 10.1-mile point-to-point offers solitude, mountain views, and a couple of thigh-burning climbs.

Durango, CO: Engineer Mountain via Pass Creek Trail

Gaining 2,300 feet in just 2.6-miles, this out-and-back climbs the slopes of Engineer Mountain and rewards with high-altitude wildflowers and views of a rare rock glacier.

Colorado Springs, CO: Blodgett Peak

This popular, and moderately challenging, 4.7-miler climbs through mixed forest and over talus fields to lofty views of Colorado Springs, the eastern plains, and Pikes Peak.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Grand Loop

Follow a long-forgotten 5- to 7-day loop in Rocky Mountain National Park across the Continental Divide, through moose-infested meadows, and up Longs Peak via a rarely climbed route.

Boulder, CO: Woods Quarry

Hit the Enchanted Mesa en route to this little-visited destination–stone recliners overlooking the city of Boulder–on this 2.9-mile loop in Chautauqua Park.

Boulder, CO: Anne U. White Trail

The rocky recess of Fourmile Canyon offers up one of Boulder’s less-traveled foothill trails. Canyon shade and a crisscrossing creek keep this 3.1-miler perfect for a summer afternoon.

Boulder, CO: Shadow Canyon

This 3.5-mile out-and-back climbs into Shadow Canyon, passing an old homestead and striking views of Boulder’s Flatirons.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Lily Lake to Sprague Lake Loop

Traverse exposed ridgelines and thick pine forests for postcard views of Rocky Mountain National Park on this 20.6-mile lollipop loop.

Telluride, CO: Cornet Falls

Just a 30-minute trek from downtown, this short-and-steep trail lands at the base of Cornet Falls, an 80-footer that is one of Telluride’s most accessible cascades.

Telluride, CO: Bear Creek

Warm up to Telluride’s steep ascents with this mellow 4.5-miler that climbs steadily along Bear Creek to a 100-foot falls in the Uncompahgre National Forest.

Gunnison, CO: Dillon Pinnacles

Cruise the high-mountain desert to a pinnacle overlook in the Curecanti National Recreation Area. This 3.8-miler offers an up-close look at the volcanic activity that shaped the natural wonders nearby.

Telluride, CO: Jud Wiebe Trail

Set aside a couple of hours for this 3.3-mile loop on the north end of Telluride that climbs 1,200 feet to breathtaking views of this small mountain town.

Denver, CO: Lost Creek Wilderness Loop

Rounded granite knobs and sweeping valleys in the Lost Creek Wilderness set the stage for this spectacular 27.6-mile loop that rewards with rugged panoramas and killer riverside campsites.

Idaho Springs, CO: St. Marys Glacier

This Front Range dayhike is short on mileage and big on payoffs. In less than a mile, you’ll skirt a mountain lake and climb the snowy slopes of a Rocky Mountain glacier.

Mounts Democrat, Cameron, and Lincoln

Named as Colorado’s best dayhike in the May 2009 issue of BACKPACKER, this spectacular loop in the Mosquito Range hits three Fourteeners (two official, one unofficial) that were only recently opened for hiking.

Denver, CO: Barr Lake

Bring your binoculars and circle Barr Lake on this easy 9.3-mile loop in prime birding territory. You may spot one of the Front Range’s only pair of nesting bald eagles.

Golden, CO: Raccoon Trail

Not ready to tackle a 14er (yet)? Try this 2.5-mile gem in Golden Gate State Park for a view of the continental divide where you can pick the target of your next alpine adventure.

Breckenridge, CO: Mohawk Lakes

Five-star mountain views, two alpine lakes, and gold mine relics highlight this 4.5-mile out-and-back dayhike south of Breckenridge, Colorado.

Boulder, CO: Gross Reservoir

Explore tiny lakeshore beaches (and don’t forget your fishing pole) on this 3-mile trek that heads cross-country on the southeast corner of Gross Reservoir.

Glenwood Springs, CO: Grizzly Creek

Stretch your legs on all–or just part–of this 3.6-mile trail that climbs steadily alongsideGlenwood Canyon’s Grizzly Creek. The only bear here is the 1,800 foot gain in elevation.

Crested Butte, CO: West Maroon Pass

Follow alpine streams through verdant valleys on this overnight trek from Crested Butte to the base of West Maroon Pass and Hasley Basin in Colorado’s fourth largest wilderness area.

Denver, CO: Matthews/Winters Park Connector Trail

Red Rocks isn’t just a great place for a concert, this 4.5-mile out-and-back starts among red-tinted outcroppings and heads north to Mathews/Winters Park for a fun and easy-access day hike.

Boulder, CO: Taylor Mountain Pond

A picture-perfect pond at the end of this mellow 0.8-miler makes this Roosevelt National Forest hike an easy overnight option for families—and the faint-of-heart.

Boulder, CO: Taylor Mountain Pond

A picture-perfect pond at the end of this mellow 0.8-mile hike makes this trip in the Roosevelt National Forest an easy overnight option for families—and the faint-of-heart.

Fort Collins, CO: Arthur’s Rock

Climb through pungent ponderosa to the summit of Arthur’s Rock for views of Ft. Collins and the Colorado plains. It’s a far-away feeling, but close-to-town 4.4-mile dayhike loop through Lory State Park.

Vail, CO: Snow Pass Loop

The Eagles Nest Wilderness doesn’t attract regular Colorado crowds—unless you count the mountain goats. Explore rugged peaks, and pristine alpine lakes on this 13.3-mile route in an under-appreciated Rocky Mountain getaway.

Denver, CO: South Platte River Greenway

Begin exploring the South Platte River’s Greenway Trail on this 7-mile out and back intro to the paved, 30-mile-plus vein through the heart of the Mile High City.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Green Mountain Trail to Big Meadows

Want an easy hike and a shot at seeing a monster moose? Then earmark this 3.4-mile out-and-back on the westside of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Boulder, CO: Big Bluestem Trail to South Boulder Creek Trail

This easy, 4.4-mile loop outside Boulder links Big Bluestem Trail to South Boulder Creek Trail and features vibrant wildflowers and 5-star views of the Flatirons.

Boulder, CO: Bear Peak and South Boulder Peak

Tag two neighboring summits that overlook Boulder (and climb nearly 3,000 feet in the process) on this 8.3-mile lasso loop to Bear Peak and South Boulder Peak.

Frisco, CO: Peak 1

Catch breathtaking views of Summit County and the Tenmile Range on this 6.9-mile out-and-back that climbs to the 12,805-foot summit of Peak 1.

Breckenridge, CO: McCullough Gulch Trail to Pacific Tarn

Just two hours from Denver, this 7.4-mile out-and-back passes several waterfalls en route to a magnificent lake basin that provides off-trail access to Pacific Tarn, the highest officially named lake in the United States.

Ouray, CO: Ice Lake

This 7.6-mile hike in the San Juan Mountains travels past golden meadows and three waterfalls en route to a stunning tarn in Ice Lake Basin.

Vail, CO: Red Buffalo Pass

Explore Colorado’s Gore Range on this 12.4-mile shuttle hike that begins in Vail, crosses Red Buffalo Pass, and drops into Silverthorne.

Vail, CO: Gore Lake

Power up more than 2,600 feet of rugged, backcountry trails on this 12.4-mile out-and back that climbs from Vail to a pristine lakeshore in the heart of the Gore Range.

Boulder, CO: Saddle Rock Trail

Climb to a scenic viewpoint overlooking Boulder and the Flatirons on this moderate, 3.1-mile out-and-back in Chautauqua Park.

Alamosa, CO: Tobacco Lake

Almost entirely above treeline, this 6.5-mile day-hike loop cruises below rounded 12,000-foot ridges en route to Tobacco Lake in the heart of Colorado’s South San Juans.

Telluride, CO: Navajo Lake

Climb more than 2,000 feet from aspen groves near Woods Lake to the dramatic Navajo Lake basin. This 10.2-mile out-and-back is a San Juan classic that spends a dramatic mile above treeline.

Colorado National Monument: Coke Ovens

Traverse a red-rock hillside on this easy 1-mile out-and-back that lands atop a cluster of sandstone pinnacles in the Colorado National Monument’s grandest canyon.

Uncle Bud’s Hut

“Camp” in style on this out-and-back to a 10th Mountain Division hut just north of Leadville, CO. A full kitchen, wood-stove heat, and sprawling views of 14,421-foot Mt. Massive are just a few of the amenities.

Boulder, CO: Skyscraper Reservoir

This 10.5-mile out and back promises wildflower drenched meadows, stunning vistas, and two pristine alpine lakes perfect for a cold dip or sunrise photo op.

Colorado Trail: Wellington Lake Road to Kenosha Pass

Impressive mountain views and thick aspen stands await backpackers on this 30-mile section of the Colorado Trail perfect for a two or three day trip.

Colorado Trail: Stony Pass to Celebration Lake

The very best section of the 483-mile Colorado Trail lies along this 40-mile San Juans stunner. Start at 12,500 feet and drop past hidden waterfalls into the Animas River Valley, where the Grenadier Peaks tower overhead.

The Colorado Trail

Thru-hike America’s highest trail.

Aspen, CO: Four Pass Loop

Like peaks, lakes, and wildflowers? You’ll love this Rockies classic.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Longs Peak via Clark’s Arrow and the Keyhole

Climb this iconic summit on an uncrowded sneak route.

San Jaun National Forest: Twilight Peaks

Explore a secret wonderland in the West Needle Mountains.

Colorado 14ers: Mount of the Holy Cross via Halo Ridge

Scramble to a remote refuge on this peak’s secret side.

Weminuche Wilderness, CO: Wolf Creek to Howardsville via Continental Divide Trail

Hike high on this above-treeline route through the Weminuche Wilderness.

Denver, CO: Golden’s Castle Rock

Hoof it to the top of Golden’s South Table Mountain on this 1.5-mile out-and-back for close-up views of Colorado Landmarks—Golden, the Front Range, the Denver skyline, and even the Coors Brewery.

Leadville, CO: Vance’s Hut – Winter Route

A dark, cozy cabin overlooking the Holy Cross Wilderness is your reward for this winter 2.75-mile trek. Ski- or snowshoe-appropriate grades and easy access from Tennessee Pass make this a great novice 10th Mountain Division hut trip.

Colorado National Monument: Otto’s Trail

Stretch your legs on this easy out-and-back off the Colorado National Monument’s Rim Rock Road. The A gently sloping 0.4-mile downhill ends at an overlook of Monument Canyon’s best.

Carbondale, CO: Harry Gates Hut – Winter Route

Warm up with a huff-and-puff climb to Montgomery Flats and wind through a forested ridgeline. This 13.5-mile out-and-back ends at the 10th Mountain Division’s Harry Gates Hut, a cozy destination that’s worth the trek.

Golden, CO: North Table Mountain

Climb 600 feet above Golden to one of its guardian mesa-tops. Big views of the Denver skyline and the continental divide reward the 0.9-mile one-way climb.

Grand Junction, CO: Crag Crest Trail

Stand atop 11,237-foot Grand Mesa, the world’s highest mesa.

Denver, CO: Heart Lake

Visit a dreamy, emerald-green lake just below the Continental Divide after climbing 2,099-feet in 4.2 miles. Icing: sweet alpine views and abundant trout along shore.

Aspen, CO: Lost Man Loop, Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness

Stay above treeline and cross a 12,796-foot pass on this nine-mile loop through the jagged Elk and Sawatch Ranges.

Grand Junction, CO: Crag Crest National Recreation Trail

Discover a wonderland of sparkling lakes, rolling meadows and spiny ridges on this 9.5-mile loop through Colorado’s magnificent Grand Mesa.

Piedra River Trail

An out and back along the Piedra River, through the scenic San Juan National Forest.

Opal Lake Trail

Beautiful hike up through aspen groves and across meadows to Opal Lake.

Fourmile Falls

A scenic trail through aspen and spruce-fir following Fourmile Creek to a 300-foot waterfall.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Mount Ida and Gorge Lakes (Version 2)

Follow a well-established trail to Mount Ida before ducking into the rugged backcountry surrounding the Gorge Lakes on this 10.7-miler through Rocky Mountain National Park.

Nederland, CO: Mount Neva

Trace a granite-toothed section of the Continental Divide to the rugged Mount Neva on this 9.4-miler through Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Ypsilon Lake

Discover solitude in busy Rocky Mountain National Park on this 8.7-mile out-and-back leading to a pristine lake perched beneath the Mummy Range.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Tonahutu Loop

Cross elk-filled woods and bighorn-busy flats on this park’s quiet side.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Thunder Lake to Lion Lake Loop

Find unusual solitude at this popular alpine park on a 16.4-mile peakbagging overnight to the Continental Divide.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Mount Alice via Hourglass Ridge

Feel like you’ve notched a first ascent.

Chautauqua trail to Ski Jump trail Loop

An easy mile and a quarter loop to get high enough to get a nice view of Boulder. Lots of other trail options to make a longer hike.

Eldorado Canyon Trail

A gentle hike with moderate uphill through the canyon.

Arapahoe Lake Ski

One of the best and most accessible backcountry ski day trips.

Nederland, CO: Lake Dorothy

Visit the highest lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness on this 6.9-mile out-and-back through steep alpine terrain.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Ypisilon Peak Loop

Connect two remote lakes on this challenging off-trail alpine adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Storm Pass via Boulder Brook Trail

This rolling, 20.6-mile lasso, only a few miles from Longs Peak, climbs to views on Granite Pass, drops down Boulder Brook, then ascends to forested Storm Pass.

Dayhikes in Rocky Mountain National Park

For pure Rocky Mountain highs, these five select hikes payoff with plenty of grandeur and park highlights–alpine lakes, granite peaks, and rushing waterfalls galore.

Weekends in Rocky Mountain National Park

Get in-depth beta for a complete Rocky Mountain weekend with this PRO bundle, and find your way to pure solitude and backcountry bliss.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Mount Ida and Gorge Lakes (Version 1)

Hike cross-country to explore this secluded chain of hanging lakes on this challenging point-to-point in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Continental Divide Loop

Tour glacial valleys and navigate to off-trail lakes and waterfalls on this six-day circuit in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Grand Junction, CO: Kannah Creek Basin Loop

Descend from a cliff-rimmed mesa to a trout-filled lake on this 22-mile, two-night loop

Boulder, CO: Jasper Lake

An 8.1 mile out and back that offers hikers sweeping views of Indian Peaks Wilderness, a waterfall and an alpine lake to cool off in before heading back down.

Colorado's Mt. of the Holy Cross (Photo by Todd Caudle)
Denver

Bag a Fourteener

By: Maren Horjus

Colorado's Mt. of the Holy Cross gets our nod as the best 14,000-foot peak.

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