Colorado is a state that is made for those who love the outdoors, and when it comes to hiking routes there is certainly no shortage of stunning scenery and interesting walks to enjoy. One aspect to be aware of when hiking in the higher mountain areas of Colorado is that altitude sickness may affect some people, and if these symptoms do become apparent, then it is best to return to a lower altitude. However, hiking to the high points of the state will also reveal some amazing mountain scenes, and there are trails to suit people of every ability and fitness too.
North Mount Elbert Trail
Reaching the highest point in Colorado is a fairly straightforward hike in the summer months, with no technical climbing experience required, although it does require plenty of effort to reach the peak. Most of the climb is above the treeline, and especially in the summer it is worth getting an early start as this part of the state is well known for getting summer storms in the afternoon.
However, if it is still clear when you reach the peak, you will be rewarded with some spectacular views across many of the surrounding mountains, and the beautiful twin lakes below.
The Colorado Trail
If you are looking for a longer challenge that will take you to several different beautiful areas in Colorado, then the Colorado Trail may well be the hiking route that you are looking for. The full route covers nearly five hundred miles, and takes hikers through eight different mountain ranges, and is at its best between June and September, with the full route usually taking between four to six weeks to complete. Because the trail has been planned to be accessed either in part or hiked in full, it is possible to walk it in smaller sections, while some of the less used sections will often allow you to enjoy time in the wilderness without meeting another person for hours.
The Devil's Thumb Pass
This trail is a great day walk that will take you through some wonderful natural scenes up into the mountains and above the tree line, where you can see some spectacular rock formations near the pass that gives the trail its name. There are some spectacular sights along the way, and spending some time enjoying the Jasper Creek Waterfalls and Jasper Lake is well worth planning for. It is worth starting early, as the car park can become crowded during the peak period, particularly at weekends, and while the path takes you near the summit of the path, you can also choose to hike right up to the pass which is a short steep climb after reaching Alpine Pond.
This is a great hike if you are based in Denver during your stay in Colorado, as it is just a short drive outside the city, and is a great introduction to climbing 'the Fourteeners', those mountains in Colorado above fourteen thousand feet. The hike begins on a raised path through the wetlands where the shrubs cover most of the terrain, before climbing up the Headwall, and reaching the ridge where there are cairns to guide you on the path to the summit. On a good day the views from the top include three other high mountains, with the closest being Mount Evans to the north east.
Fern Lake Trail
Located within Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park, this beautiful trail is a fairly straightforward hike for those with a good level of fitness, with most of the trail fairly flat, with a climb for the last mile as you approach the lake. Conditions can get snowy here in the winter when snowshoes become essential, but if you are hiking in summer then it will usually be a lovely walk through meadows and forests before reaching the lake itself.
Choose Your Trail
Choosing which trail is best suited for you is an important first step before setting out on your hike. You must take into consideration your fitness level, the weather, and the amount of time you want to dedicate to your hike. Remember to prepare and pack the necessary items.