The best hikes in Colorado offer endless pathways to immerse you outdoors. You name it: easy, rugged, short or long, scenic, remote, exciting, or family-safe, a footpath awaits you.
The state is famous for its sunny weather, mountain vistas, and almost year-round hiking possibilities.
I have heard tourists praise the glorious spring weather along the Front Range and equally fun summer and fall up in the mountains. Winter is no exception as the Front Range has many sunny and mild days with trails dry enough to hike.
The Centennial State will up the wow factor from short recreational hikes, multi-day backpacking adventures, or just panoramic viewing.
Colorado hiking trails are in the many parks and are within driving range of major cities. Hikes near Denver, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs are all great ideas.
Boulder hikes and trails are also fun or trek into the national forest areas and remote backcountry sites deep in the wilderness. These best hiking trails in Colorado are favorites, as they offer a wide range of difficulties.
What To Bring – Hiking almost anywhere can surely bring its share of surprises. Besides the regular supply of water and snacks, the wise hiker will always be ready for the unexpected. For sudden changes in weather, a good rain jacket and matching hiking rain pants are a good idea.
Maps are also always invaluable. Bring a map of your destination along with one of the best hiking compass models for reliable navigation.
Five Must-Hike Trails in Colorado
1. Maroon Bells in Aspen
Ranging in difficulty from easy to moderate, Maroon Bells has many hiking trails. Some of the most beautiful scenery in the state awaits you here. The footpaths are full of golden aspen trees, lakes, cascades, and the never-ending Maroon Bells peaks.
The Colorado Maroon Bells are two of the most recognizable mountains and one of the most photographed. There are a few options to hike here, such as the Maroon Lake Scenic Trail. It is a relaxed mile-long walk around the lake, and you get fantastic views.
For the more ambitious, I suggest the Maroon Creek Trail that is longer but not too rugged. The length makes it perfect for those who want a footpath requiring more effort and more to see. The hike, which skirts the creek, is 3.2 miles in either direction.
2. Fountain Valley Trail
The Fountain Valley Trail is a brief 45-minute drive from Denver. Visually, the terrain of the trail is quite remarkable. The path goes through the park and is not too long, at 2.3 miles. Its relatively shorter length makes it an excellent choice for families with children.
Mammoth orange slabs of rock poke out the slopes, contrasted with vivid blue skies, creating epic sceneries. The looping trail can start on the valley floor, then hike your way up to the high footpath that offers views down and across the fountain formation. You will see ruins of an old estate along the pathway and signs sharing the history of the place.
The low elevation is a bonus for visitors, as they do not need to acclimate or ascend the footpaths. This level terrain makes it great for wheelchairs, strollers and perfect for families or recreational hikers. (Find the Best Campgrounds In Colorado)
You can avail of a picnic area with tables at the Visitors’ Center. Just be wary of poison ivy along the sides of the trails. Otherwise, this is a great trail to visit.
3. Hanging Lake Hike
Hanging Lake Hike is a relatively short 2.4-mile trek that encounters a pair of waterfalls and a stunning lake. The trail allows the exploration of Spouting Rock Falls, and you can even walk behind the cascading water.
Due to the high volume of visitors that can reach 100,000 annually, reservations are customary. Also, keep in mind that the lake is a sensitive area, and tourist traffic needs control to prevent abuse. Thanks to the joint conservation efforts of Glenwood Springs and the Forest Service, future generations are guaranteed Hanging Lake Hike will survive.
The trail starts along the Colorado River with a bike path bounded by the rock walls of Glenwood Canyon. Once you reach a quarter-mile, a bike rack and the Hanging Lake Trail will be visible. This starts with Dead Horse Creek Canyon that. You hike about a mile to Hanging Lake and then proceed to Spouting Rock Falls.
I counted seven bridges on the hike up, which can take around 45 minutes to an hour. The trail is mostly wooded, with aromatic cedar, spruce, and fir trees permeating the air. Once at the top, the views, melody of cascades, and pristine canyon air will hypnotize you.
4. Monarch Lake Loop Trail
The Monarch Lake Loop is a fun hike suited for families. It has 4 miles of footpaths that lead into wooded forests and creeks while skirting the lake. The trek is diverse and yet, easy, beginning on a flat trail to the north shore of the lake.
It leads to the lake’s inlet and goes into a forest at the Indian Peaks Wilderness Boundary. The lake itself is a favorite for kayaking and canoeing. The trail is located near Granby, Colorado, and offers a variety of activity options.
Running, hiking, horseback riding, and a winter sports trail qualify it as a popular year-round destination. The lake’s shoreline is great for anglers who seek its rainbow, brook, brown, and cutthroat trout stocks. If you want an easy trail that does not compromise on scenery and activity, I highly recommend you list this one.
5. Devils Head Fire Lookout Hike
The Devil’s Head Trail is a summit hike reached in a mere hour by car from Denver. If you are not great with heights, the 143-steps ascending to the fire lookout can be nerve-racking. The entire hike is 2.8 miles and takes just a bit over 2 hours.
The trail starts in an open area surrounded by some of the tallest aspens. It ambles through some rock formations then leads into a high meadow area where a ranger cabin sits in the trees. From there, you will spot the red steps that take you to the Devil’s Head fire lookout.
Thanks to their great stories, if you meet Bill Ellis and his wife, who operate the lookout, that will be a treat. The views from Devil’s Head are genuinely remarkable.
Colorado – A Hikers Dream Destination
The number of first-rate hiking trails in Colorado is so many, and it isn’t easy to select just a few. For a genuine Colorado experience, you should visit any of this state’s majestic heights.