10 Short Hikes in Colorado to Make You Sweat This Summer

If you live in Colorado, you know that summer can sometimes get really hot with temperatures in the high 90s —so don’t exhaust yourself. You can still feel the burn on these short hikes that are bound to make you sweat. Every hike listed is less than three miles and ranked as difficult so that you get a decent workout without spending your entire day on the trail. We promise you’ll get toned.

Royal Arch Trail

Royal Arch Trail via All Trails

Where: Chautauqua Park near Boulder
Length: 3 miles out and back

The Lowdown: You haven’t hiked Boulder until you’ve gone to Chautauqua Park. Climb over magnificent red rocks and get a sweet dirt tan as you hike the bouldered trails that give the city its namesake. The Royal Arch Trail is our favorite short hike in the park since you score incredible views of the Flatirons and will work those legs to reach the spectacular arch rock formation at the top.

Editor’s note: Royal Arch Trail will be closed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m, Monday through Thursday and will transition to 24-hour a day closures along the trail beginning June 7, 2021. Long-term closures are expected to last through the fall.

Mount Spalding Trail – CLOSED

Mount Spalding Trail via All Trails

Where: Arapaho National Forest near Idaho Springs
Length: 2.3 miles out and back

The Lowdown: Just north of Mount Evans, you can hike a thirteener that’s almost 14,000 feet tall without the all-day challenge. With a summit of 13,842 feet, climbing Mount Spalding takes an hour or so, and you’ll get to experience the same top-of-the-world feeling Coloradans crave.

Editor’s note: As of spring 2021, this trail is closed indefinitely.  For more information,  go here.

Manitou Incline

Manitou Incline. Photo by Brittany Werges.

Where: Hurricane Canyon Natural Area near Manitou Springs
Length: 2 miles up and down (unless you take the switchback trail back to the bottom which is closer to 4 miles)

The Lowdown: Many consider the Manitou Incline one of the most grueling hikes in the country, so don’t skip this one if you’re looking for a true challenge. Every year, many ambitious hikers attempt to climb 2,744 steps that increase 2,000 feet in elevation in a little less than one mile. This is not for the faint-hearted, but the view at the top and the bragging rights are totally worth it.

READ: Everything You Need to Know to Survive the Manitou Springs Incline

Monte Cristo Gulch

Monte Cristo Gulch via All Trails

Where: Near Breckenridge 
Length: 2.8 miles out and back

The Lowdown: Breck is known for skiing and snowboarding, but the incredible hiking trails near this ski town are also worth the challenge. With meadows and alpine lakes, the Monte Cristo Gulch Trail is beautiful in the summertime and reaches a little over 12,000 feet so you get your high-elevation fix.

Mount Herman Scramble

Mount Herman Scramble via All Trails

Where: Pike National Forest near Pine Crest
Length: 2.7-mile loop

The Lowdown: This hike earns its name since it’s a scramble to get to the top. Although relatively short, this loop trail on Mount Herman in Pike National Forest will require you to wear pants and long sleeves due to the heavy brush along the way. The Mount Herman Scramble requires your full attention and proves to be a great workout.

Arthur’s Rock Trail

Arthur’s Rock Trail via All Trails

Where: Charles A Lory State Park near Bellvue
Length: 2.8 miles out and back

The Lowdown: See beautiful panoramic views of Charles A Lory State Park, Horsetooth Reservoir and the Front Range when you climb to Arthur’s Rock, which lies near Bellvue, just outside of Fort Collins. The hike takes you through meadows and a forest but ends with a rocky summit that will work those muscles.

Ironedge Trail

Ironedge Trail via All Trails

Where: White River National Forest near Eagle
Length: 2.9 miles out and back

The Lowdown: Hike deep within the White River National Forest on this breathtaking hike that will make you sweat. The Ironedge Trail is just under three miles and will take you up Mount Charles to a cabin and then back down to Lake Charles. It’s not an easy hike, but this stunning and secluded trail is worth your time.

Hidden Valley Trail

Hidden Valley Trail via All Trails

Where: Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park
Length: 2.2 miles out and back

The Lowdown: Hidden Valley Ski Area (also known as Ski Estes Park) used to be a ski resort in Estes Park, but closed in 1991 after Rocky Mountain National Park decided to preserve the land instead. However, you can still hike the run that is now the Hidden Valley Trail. This secret spot within the most-visited park in Colorado is a quick climb but makes for an intense hustle where you feel the burn.

Gunnison Route Trail

Gunnison Route Trail via All Trails

Where: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park near Montrose
Length: 2.2 miles out and back

The Lowdown: Only “experienced adventurers” should be up for this challenge in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hike the Gunnison Route Trail. This hike is only a little over two miles but features a steep grade and rocky terrain that definitely requires you to focus on your footing. Plus the canyon views you find in this region of Colorado are incredible.

Tabeguache Trail

Tabeguache Trail via All Trails

Where: Near Grand Junction
Length: 2.7-mile loop

The Lowdown: If you’re out near Grand Junction, make sure you work up a sweat on the Tabeguache Trail. This backcountry hike through the desert landscape is very dry so drink lots of water and hike during cooler morning or evening hours. See what western Colorado has to offer on this mountainous hike with lots of switchbacks and mesa views. Sweat will be dripping out of your pores when it’s over.