Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities in Colorado, and for good reason. Our great state is home to arguably some of the most spectacular and diverse hikes in the country, and is a big part of summer weekends for Coloradans all across the state. You can expect waterfalls, alpine lakes, wildlife, thick forest, open meadows, wildflowers, and views that are unmatched on any given hike. But with so much opportunity it can be difficult to know where to begin. Luckily for you, we have made a list of 101 of our favorite hikes to get you started.

*This list is in no particular order

Colorado National Monument beautiful scenic canyon landscape at sunset via Thinkstock.

Take Devil’s Kitchen, among other hikes in Colorado National Monument Park, to see this beautiful scenic canyon landscape at sunset. Photo via Thinkstock.

  1. Mason Creek to Old Mill Trail – 11 miles (difficult), Staunton State Park (near Conifer)
  2. Devils Kitchen Trail – .75 miles (moderate), Colorado National Monument (near Grand Junction)
  3. Rattlesnake Arches – 5 miles (difficult), McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area (near Grand Junction)
  4. Hells Hole Trail – 8.2 miles (moderate), Mount Evans Wilderness (near Idaho Springs)
  5. Blue Lakes – 5 miles (moderate), Mount Sneffels Wilderness (near Telluride)
  6. Ponderosa Sisters Loop – 3.4 miles (moderate), Alderfer/Three Sisters Park (near Evergreen)
  7. Travois Trail – 7 miles (moderate), Centennial Cone Park (near Golden)
  8. Herman Gulch Trail – 6.4 miles (moderate), Bakerville (near Dillon)
  9. Mineral Belt Trail – 11.6 miles (moderate), Leadville
  10. Trading Post Trail – 1.4 miles (easy), Red Rocks Park
  11. Longs Peak – 14.5 miles (difficult), Rocky Mountain National Park
  12. Elk Falls Overlook – 10.8 miles (difficult), Staunton State Park (near Conifer)
  13. Baker Pass – 11.6 miles (difficult), Rocky Mountain National Park
  14. Pawnee Pass – 9.2 miles (difficult), Brainard Lake (near Ward)
  15. Barr Trail – 11.8 miles (difficult), Pike National Forest (near Manitou Springs)
  16. Arapaho Pass Trail – 9.3 miles (moderate), Caribou Lake (near Eldora)

    Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by Ryan Wright.

    Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by Ryan Wright.

  17. Crater Lake Trail – 3.4 miles (moderate), Maroon Bells (near Aspen)
  18. Rawhide Trail – 4.7 miles (moderate), White Ranch Park (near Golden)
  19. Gem Lake – 3.3 miles (moderate), Rocky Mountain National Park
  20. Indian Creek Trail – 10-14 miles (difficult), Pike National Forest (near Sedalia)
  21. Mills Lake – 5.3 miles (moderate), Glacier Gorge (near Estes Park)
  22. Colorow Trail – 3 miles (easy), New Castle (near Glenwood Springs)
  23. Quail Lake Trail – 1.1 miles (easy), Colorado Springs
  24. Manitou Incline – 1 mile (difficult), Manitou Springs (near Colorado Springs)
  25. Ptarmigan Lake Trail – 6 miles (moderate), Nathrop (near Buena Vista)
  26. Mule Deer Trail – 7.4 miles (moderate), Golden Gate Canyon State Park (Golden)
  27. Hankins Pass – 10 miles (difficult), Pike National Forest (near Bailey)
  28. Arapaho Glacier – 12 miles (moderate), Nederland (near Boulder)

    Royal Arch in Boulder, Colorado.

    Royal Arch in Boulder, Colorado. Photo via Thinkstock.

  29. Rough and Tumbling Creek Trail – 12 miles (moderate), Buffalo Peaks Wilderness (near Fairplay)
  30. Mountain Lion Loop – 6.8 miles (moderate), Golden Gate Canyon State Park (Golden)
  31. Sandbeach Lake Trail – 9.6 miles (moderate), Allenspark (near Lyons)
  32. Highland Mary Lakes Trail – 3 miles (moderate), Cunningham Gulch (near Silverton)
  33. American Basin Trail – 4 miles (moderate), Handies Peak (near Lake City)
  34. Booth Falls Trail – 3.9 miles (moderate), White River National Forest (near Vail)
  35. Gunnison Gorge Ute Trail – 9 miles (moderate), Gunnison Gorge National Conversation Area (Gunnison)
  36. Oak Flat Loop – 2 miles (difficult), Black Canyon of the Gunnison Park (Gunnison)
  37. Horsetooth Falls Trail – 2.4 miles (easy), Larimer County (Fort Collins)
  38. Royal Arch Trail – 3.2 miles (moderate), Chautauqua, Boulder
  39. Bear Peak’s West Ridge Trail – 7.7 miles (difficult), Boulder
  40. Comanche Venable Loop – 12 miles (difficult), Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area (near Westcliffe)

    Black Canyon of the Gunnison Park in Colorado

    Black Canyon of the Gunnison Park in Colorado. Photo via Thinkstock.

  41. Crosier Mountain Trail – 10 miles (moderate),Viestenz Smith Mountain Park (near Drake)
  42. Crag Crest Trail – 10.3 miles (difficult), Grand Mesa National Forest (near Grand Junction)
  43. East Marvine Trail – 16 miles (difficult), White River National Forest (near Meeker)
  44. Five Lake Loop – 12.5 miles (difficult), Rocky Mountain National Park
  45. Mount Yale – 9.5 miles (difficult), Chaffee County (near Buena Vista)
  46. Cheyenne Mountain Trails – 21 miles (moderate), Cheyenne Mountain State Park (near Colorado Springs)
  47. Hanging Lake Trail – 1.2 miles (moderate), Glenwood Springs
  48. Chicago Basin – 12 miles (difficult), Needleton (near Durango and Silverton)
  49. Byers Peak Trail – 7 miles (difficult), Arapaho National Forest (near Fraser)
  50. Boggy Draw Loop – 8.1 miles (moderate), San Juan National Forest (near Dolores)
  51. Silver Dollar Lake Trail – 3.9 miles (moderate), Arapaho National Forest (near Idaho Springs)
  52. Upper Cataract Lake Trail – 10.5 miles (difficult), Eagles Nest Wilderness (near Silverthorne)

    Hanging Lake. Photo by Darian Simon.

    Hanging Lake. Photo by Darian Simon.

  53. Lost Lake Trail – 3.6 miles (moderate), Indian Peaks Wilderness (near Nederland)
  54. Surprise Lake Trail – 9 miles (difficult), Eagles Nest Wilderness (near Silverthorne)
  55. Crystal Lake – 5.3 miles (difficult), Crystal Creek (near Breckenridge)
  56. Eaglesmere Lakes – 7.2 miles (moderate), Eagles Nest Wilderness (near Silverthorne)
  57. McNeil Trail – 2 miles (difficult), Pike National Forest (near Colorado Springs)
  58. North Rock Creek Trail – 5.5 miles (easy), Eagles Nest Wilderness (near Silverthorne)
  59. Eccles Pass – 10.2 miles (difficult), Eagles Nest Wilderness (near Frisco)
  60. Mohawk Lakes – 6.7 miles (moderate), Pike National Forest (near Breckenridge)
  61. St. Mary’s Falls Trail – 6.1 miles (moderate), North Cheyenne Park (near Colorado Springs)
  62. Conejos River Headwaters Loop – 42.3 miles (difficult), Three Forks Trailhead (near Monte Vista and Alamosa)

    Conundrum Hot Springs - Photo courtesy of Maggie Dickman.

    Conundrum Hot Springs – Photo courtesy of Maggie Dickman.

  63. French Pass Trail – 6 miles (moderate), South Park
  64. Chicago Lakes Trail – 9.8 miles (difficult), Echo Lake (near Idaho Springs)
  65. Grouse Lake – 9.4 miles (moderate), White River National Forest (near Minturn)
  66. Adams Falls – .6 miles (easy), Estes Park
  67. Lily Pad Lakes – 3.2 miles (moderate), Eagles Nest Wilderness (near Silverthorne)
  68. The Ribbon Trail – 7 miles (difficult), BLM Bangs Canyon Management Area (near Grand Junction)
  69. Shelf Lake Trail – 6.6 miles (moderate), Pike National Forest (near Bailey)
  70. Mt. Goliath – 2.8 miles (easy), Mount Evans area (near Idaho Springs)
  71. Mount Elbert – 9.2 miles (difficult), near Leadville
  72. Hell Roaring Trail – 14 miles (difficult), White River National Forest (near Aspen)
  73. Stout Creek Trail – 10 miles (difficult), San Isabel National Forest (near Coaldale)

    stvrainmeadowmtn-022

    St. Vrain Mountain via HikingRMNP.org

  74. St. Vrain Mountain – 8.9 miles (difficult), Roosevelt National Forest (near Allenspark)
  75. Cotton Creek Trail – 16 miles (difficult), Rio Grande National Forest (near Crestone)
  76. Willow Lake Trail – 8.6 miles (difficult), Sangre de Cristo Wilderness (near Crestone)
  77. Roaring Fork Trail – 13.6 miles (difficult), Indian Peaks Wilderness (near Granby)
  78. Mount Falcon Castle Trail – 7.9 miles (moderate), Mount Falcon Park (near Morrison)
  79. Ward Lake Trail – 1.8 miles (easy), Grand Mesa National Forest (near Grand Junction)
  80. South Zapata Lake – 9.2 miles (difficult), Great Sand Dunes National Park (near Mosca)
  81. Ruybalid Lake – 8 miles (difficult), Rio Grande National Forest (near Antonito)
  82. Turkey Creek Trail – 40.6 miles (difficult), San Juan National Forest (near Pagosa Springs)
  83. Conundrum Hot Springs – 17 miles (difficult), White River National Forest (near Aspen)
  84. Piedra River Trail – 11 miles (moderate), San Juan National Forest (near Pagosa Springs)
  85. Vallecito Creek Trail – 39 miles (difficult), San Juan National Forest (near Bayfield)
  86. Lamphier Lake – 6 miles (moderate), Gunnison National Forest (near Pitkin)
  87. Texas Creek – 14 miles (difficult), near Royal Gorge
  88. Harvard Lakes – 3 miles (easy), San Isabel National Forest (near Buena Vista)
  89. Kroenke Lake – 8.2 miles (moderate), Collegiate Peaks Wilderness (near Buena Vista)
  90. North Table Loop – 5.9 miles (moderate), near Golden
  91. Mounts Democrat Cameron Lincoln and Bross Trail – 7.6 miles (difficult), Pike National Forest (near Alma)
  92. Brown’s Cabin – 8.8 miles (moderate), San Isabel National Forest (near Buena Vista)
  93. Washington Gulch Trail – 6.6 miles (difficult), Gunnison National Forest (near Crested Butte)
  94. Tunnel Drive Trail – 1.9 miles (easy), near Canon City
  95. Judd Falls Trail – 2.5 miles (easy), Gunnison National Forest (near Crested Butte)

    Island Lake, Colorado.

    Island Lake, Colorado. Photo by Alex Faubel.

  96. Rustler Gulch – 7 miles (moderate), Gunnison National Forest (near Crested Butte)
  97. Major Creek – 7 miles (difficult), Rio Grande National Forest (near Villa Grove)
  98. The Colorado Trail: Eddiesville to San Luis Pass – 12.7 miles (difficult), Gunnison National Forest (near Sargents)
  99. Stone Lake – 12.3 miles (difficult), Indian Peaks Wilderness (near Granby)
  100. Thunderhead Trail – 3.8 miles (moderate), Mount Werner (near Steamboat Springs)
  101. Birthday Peak – 9.2 miles (moderate), San Isabel National Forest (near Buena Vista)

BONUS: Island Lake– 8.4 miles (moderate), San Juan National Forest (near Silverton)

About The Author

Lifestyle + Travel Writer

To say that Sarah suffers from a serious case of wanderlust is an incredible understatement and one that makes her so good at what she does. Having lived in Washington, Oregon, and California, Sarah's love for the great outdoors and her desire for a new adventure drew her and her husband to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. When she isn’t busy with DIY projects around her house, she can most often be found exploring the mountains, going white water rafting, reading her favorite book, photographing her favorite destinations, or traveling to parts unknown. Fun fact: Sarah loves wine so much, several years ago she found herself graduating from the introductory program with the International Sommelier Guild! Follow along on her adventures on Instagram @sarahstap

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7 Responses

  1. Scott Smith

    Fantastic list, I’m bookmarking this 🙂 But I don’t see Bear Lake Trail, which leads you past Bear, Nymph, Dream, and Emerald lakes. Four beautiful lakes on one relatively easy trail that leads you near the base of Hallett Peak. Fantastic views.

    Reply
  2. Allie

    I’m new to Colorado and hiking in general. What makes a trail easy vs moderate vs difficult? Thanks! Love the list and hope to check out as many as possible!

    Reply
    • Allan Reid

      Allie, the first criteria is the tread – the surface you are walking upon. Is it rocky or is it gravel or concrete, or something in between. The second is elevation gain for distance walked. Do you have to climb 2,000 feet in 2.5 miles or is it 50′ in 2.5 miles. The third is altitude. A trail at 11,000′ is more difficult than one at 5,000′ on the lungs. The last is whether you can simply walk it or do you need to climb over boulders and use hands as well as feet. Depending upon where you live I would suggest starting off with some easier trails near the city. In the Denver area, Jeffco Open Space and Boulder Parks as well as Denver Parks have great walks nearby. A great resource is http://www.oriconline.org for trails for all outdoor sports statewide.

      Reply
  3. lmgbocowp

    Alli – if you’re located anywhere near Boulder, check out Open Space and Mountain Parks hiking trails. There’s over 144 miles of gorgeous, scenic trail routes ranging from easy to strenuous (OSMP.org)
    Some trails the author has listed as “moderate” might be strenuous for a beginner (such as Royal Arch – relatively short distance but still 2.5 – 3 hours because of elevation gain).
    Visit the Ranger Cottage at Chautauqua Park to pick up maps – there’s usually a ranger or OSMP volunteer available to give you route options.
    (Also get maps/directions at the volunteer-manned Flagstaff Summit visitor center at the top of Boulder’s Flagstaff mountain, open on weekends, 10 AM – 4 PM.)

    Reply
    • Sarah Stapley

      Really great points! The difficulty level is definitely subjective depending on fitness level and experience. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply

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