Hiking Trails In Colorado – Where should you go on vacation in Colorado? With hundreds of trails and destinations to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together a top 10 list of hikes in Colorado. They range from an easy 1-mile hike at Maroon Bells to a challenging 8-mile round trip to Rocky Mountain National Park Falls. You’ll find a real selection of hiking trails that are perfect for planning your Colorado vacation. Be sure to download our free travel guide to help you prepare and pack for day trips.
1. Maroon Bells Hike Distance: Five trails: 1 to 13 miles round trip – depends Travel time from Denver: 4 hours Difficulty: Easy Moderate
Hiking Trails In Colorado
Maroon Bells offers many hiking trails and some of the most beautiful scenery in Colorado. This rocky mountain landscape is full of waterfalls, lakes, golden aspens – all against the iconic backdrop of the Maroon Bells peaks. Explore our definitive guide to Maroon Bells, detailing multiple hiking trails, camping options, and shuttle details.
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2. Hanging Lake Hike Reopens June 25, 2022 (Reservations Required) Distance: 1.4 miles from Denver Round Trip Time: 2 hours 45 minutes Difficulty: Moderate
Hanging Lake is a short but challenging hike to two waterfalls and one of the most beautiful lakes in Colorado. It’s worth the three-hour drive south to the trailhead in Glenwood Springs, Colorado—a great Colorado family vacation spot. This is probably the most popular hike in Colorado, so be sure to get there early to park. Our Hanging Lake Trail Guide provides the most detailed collection of tips and details to make this day a great family memory.
3. Alberta Falls Hike Rocky Mountain National Park Distance: 1.6 miles from Denver Round trip time: 2 hours Difficulty: Moderate
If there is only one waterfall to visit in Rocky Mountain National Park, Alberta Falls is an excellent choice. It is a favorite among the short hikes in the park. From Lake Alberta, hikers have the opportunity to further explore areas such as the lake, Timberline Falls, and the Glacier Valley area – all tours available at Dayhikes Near Denver.
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4. Pern Falls Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park Distance: 8.4 miles round trip from Denver Time: 1 hour 40 minutes Difficulty: Medium
Pern Falls is located on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. As the waterfall makes its way through the forest, it tumbles over rocks and fallen trees, moss and ferns, spraying fine mist along the way. Adventurers can travel past Fern Falls to Fern Lake, another scenic destination in this gem of our national park system.
Looking for more waterfalls near Denver? Explore our 50+ Colorado waterfall tours, our favorite Rocky Mountain National Park waterfall tours, or explore 7 waterfalls within an hour of Denver.
5. Fountain Valley Trail at Roxboro State Park Distance: 2.3 miles Driving time from Denver: 45 minutes Difficulty: Easy
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Maybe you’re looking for a hike closer to Denver. The Fountain Valley Trail in Colorado’s Roxboro State Park is Denver’s Garden of the Gods. Large pink and orange rock formations against a blue sky, even on a rainy or foggy day, the Fountain Valley Trail is like a trip to a wonderland. Like Rocky Mountain National Park, pets are not allowed in the park and all participants require a state park permit or daily fee.
6. First and Second Flatiron Hikes Distance: 2.6 miles from Denver Round Trip: 45 minutes Difficulty: Medium
Looking for something more challenging? The Flatirons Trail tour near Boulder takes hikers through Colorado’s green meadows between the First and Second Flatirons. The backside of the Flatirons offers a shaded ledge where you can get a view of the snowy Front Range of the Colorado Rockies.
7. Devil’s Head Fire Lookout Hike Distance: 2.8 miles Round trip from Denver Time: 1 hour 15 minutes Difficulty: Medium
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The Devil’s Head Trail is a classic Colorado trail ride just an hour from downtown Denver. The 143-step climb to the firehouse can be daunting, but it’s worth it for a 360-degree panoramic view of the mountains spread across the mountains.
8. Timberline Falls Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park Distance: 8 miles round trip from Denver Time: 2 hours Difficulty: Difficult
The trek to Timberline Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park is challenging but has many rewards. The route passes the Alberta Falls and the beautiful Loch Vale. Many hikers continue their hike past Timberline Falls to Alpine Lakes. Explore the full trail profile for details on this Rocky Mountain National Park adventure.
9. Rocky Mountain National Parks Four Lakes and Falls Loop Hike Distance: 10.4 miles from Denver Travel time: 2 hours Difficulty: Moderate
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This 6.4-mile loop hike in RMNP takes you to four beautiful subalpine lakes and Alberta Falls, one of the park’s most visited waterfalls. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly hike and only have a day in Rocky Mountain National Park, this is a great choice and opportunity to visit a variety of terrain and destinations.
10. Monarch Lake Loop Hike Distance: 4 miles from Denver Driving Time: 2 hours 50 minutes Difficulty: Easy
If you’re vacationing in the Winter Park or Granby area, a loop around Monarch Lake is a perfect trip. The Monarch Lake Loop takes hikers along shady forests, streams and lake shores. This is one of the simplest but most varied tours in the area. Monarch Lake is a popular destination for activities such as kayaking, canoeing, and is an entry point for backpacking in the Indian Highlands. Be sure to arrive early or go on a weekday as this is a very popular tour.
Aaron Johnson has been hiking in Colorado for over 20 years. Owner and editor of Dayhikes near Denver, Aaron writes all trail profiles as a local guide who has hiked hundreds of miles of trails along the Front Range and into the Colorado Rockies. Knowing where to find them — and what to expect on the trail — just got easier with a new guide from Grand Junction outdoor writer Bill Haggerty. Falcon Guide’s “Hiking Colorado’s Western Slope” contains descriptions of more than 45 trails in western Colorado.
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It doesn’t just have standard route descriptions. Haggerty includes historical information, geological information, dog fitness, and observations of a lifetime of hiking in Colorado. His route descriptions include the joy he finds in climbing – sentiments written on the cover of the book:
“I love hiking in western Colorado for the cool mountain air and bright desert heat, the soft murmur of high mountain streams, and the vibrant colors of spring desert flowers. Mountain peaks at sunset, the smell of fresh pine after rain, dilated pupils, tingling in the skin, all the senses come alive and contribute to experiencing the wonder of nature.
“Yes, it’s been a problem since 1976, when I wrote my first column about the Black Canyon, and I’ve really struggled with it for years,” he said. “But my main point is, if you don’t write about it, if you don’t get people out there, if they don’t understand what they have, it will be ignored and then it will be exploited. And somebody else does. Take it, and it will disappear from us.”
“When I first wrote about the Black Canyon, they thought another curse was coming down the canyon and flooding one of the most spectacular places on earth,” he said. I couldn’t wait for it… now I’ve gone on a zillion hikes through the woods because of it? You know I went back to Black Canyon last year and went there a few weeks ago. There is no one there. I was still the only one there. So I don’t think I’ve gone any further than that.”
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Haggerty’s book comes out just as the Colorado Trail Explorer – a comprehensive online trail map – goes live. This online resource is part of Governor John Hickenlooper’s Colorado the Beautiful initiative. Explorer Maps include more than 39,000 miles of trails across the state, including urban trails and hiking, biking and motorcycling in state parks and federal lands.
Storm King Fourteen Memorial Hike: This nearly four-mile trail takes hikers through rough and rugged terrain, climbing hard to the site of a 1994 wildfire that killed 14 firefighters. The path that ended at the firemen’s monument was in St. Petersburg. A rugged uniform to remind climbers of the tough conditions firefighters face. It’s not the prettiest hike in the book. Of course, parts of it overlook I-70, but that’s about it
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