17+ Best Hikes in Colorado (Most Scenic & Beautiful)

The natural splendor of Colorado is unparalleled, and the state is brimming with exciting activities and possibilities for discovery. One of the most well-liked things to do in Colorado is to go hiking, and the state’s trails offer everything from simple beautiful day walks to challenging overnight backpacking trips with the most scenic experience.

The Blue Lakes Trail

This 8.5-mile walk is pretty tough, especially towards the finish, but it is certainly worth it to do so for the vistas. The climb is situated just outside of Ridgway, and it is truly breathtaking. It is without a doubt one of the most scenic treks that Colorado has to offer.

Before you reach the glacier basin that is home to the three blue lakes, you will follow a path that takes you past some breathtaking alpine meadows, which are even more breathtaking when the wildflowers are in bloom.

Oh, and although all of these locations are beautiful, the lake at the highest elevation offers some really breathtaking vistas. However, as I said before, this is for the more experienced hiker, and you shouldn’t do this if you’re simply looking for a leisurely walk in the woods.

Garden of the Gods (Perkins Central Garden Loop)

Okay, so if you want to experience a completely different kind of scenery, one of the greatest hikes in Colorado to go is the Garden of the Gods paths. After all, one of the best things about places like Colorado is that they have such a wide variety of things to offer.

By taking the Perkins Central Garden loop, you will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the absolutely breathtaking garden of the gods.

The hike itself is not difficult at all; it is about one to one and a half miles long and does not ascend any significant elevation.

It should take you about an hour to complete the entire trail, and it is an excellent option for families as well. In addition to this, you can accomplish this task even while wearing regular sneakers because the majority of the path has been concreted.

Bridal Veil Creek Trail

The Bridal Veil Creek Trail is without a doubt one of the most enjoyable walks in all of Colorado. When you reach this spot, Bridal Veil Falls, which is without a doubt one of the tallest in the whole of Colorado, will be within striking distance.

Now, the route itself spans a distance of over 5 miles and has an elevation gain of more than 2000 feet. This implies that you shouldn’t actually follow this path unless you’re already accustomed to hiking and have reached a particular degree of fitness before you do so.

In the event that you are interested in participating, use trail number 507, which passes directly through the Bridal Veil Basin.

Crystal Mill in Colorado

The Crystal Mill is a rather long trail that is around 9 miles long and will take you approximately 5 hours to finish in its entirety. The first part of the trek may be rather challenging, so you won’t have to wait long to find out whether this is the appropriate hike for you. However, if you are unsure about how to accomplish it, you shouldn’t even try. As I keep saying, no one appreciates a careless hiker.

Now, the track itself is mostly a dirt road suitable for 4×4 vehicles, so you should be prepared for occasional little dust storms caused by passing ATVs.

Emerald Lake Trail

The length of the Emerald Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park is between three and four kilometers, and it leads hikers to the foot of the Hallett Peaks. It is one of the most enjoyable walks in Colorado, and it offers some breathtaking vistas along the way.

The best part is that the Emerald Lake Trail is perfect for you if you don’t feel like doing a trek with a significant amount of elevation gain. Because the ascent is just around 800 feet in total, it is manageable for the whole family.

You can simply escape the crowds by coming here outside of the holiday season and on weekends. Although it may become crowded at certain times, you can easily avoid the crowds by coming here outside of certain periods.

Mount Bierstadt Trail

The Mount Bierstadt Route is about 7 miles long and is a trail that sees a fair amount of foot traffic in the region due to its proximity to Silver Plume. At this point, the whole of the hike consists of traversing the open terrain of Mount Evans. However, you should always be sure to stay on the paths in order to prevent doing any damage to the local flora. The sight of people trampling on all of the plants and shoots in the area is always very disheartening.

Now, if I were you, I wouldn’t do this in the deep snow since it may be dangerous. In this climate, it can be very difficult and is not recommended for hikers who do not have experience. Despite this, it is still one of the top hikes in Colorado that visitors to the area should try to complete while they are there.

Oh, and one more thing: if you decide to go out in snowy circumstances, be sure to equip yourself with complete microspikes and lots of thermal layers that you may add or remove as needed. Do not go on this trek by yourself if you are unsure about your abilities (get a guide).

Butler Gulch

Located in the Arapaho National Forest and spanning a distance of five miles, Butler Gulch is regarded as one of the most enjoyable summertime walks in the state of Colorado.

This is particularly true given the abundance of wildflowers that have taken over the region. In point of fact, there are over a hundred distinct species to be found in this area, including Rocky Mountain Columbine, the official state flower, as well as the Indian Paintbrush.

You will also come across two abandoned mines in this region of Colorado, which is interesting for individuals who are curious about the past inhabitants of this region. From the outside, however, it presents a vista that is both interesting and exciting, despite the fact that it is not prudent to go too far within (and kinda eerie).

Caribou Lake

If you are looking for a tough trek in a beautiful setting, you might consider going to Caribou Lake, which is situated just outside of Denver.

Before arriving to Caribou Lake, you will first reach the summit of Arapaho Pass, which is often regarded as one of the greatest treks in the state of Colorado.

If you want to get the most out of your visit to the lake, you should get a permit and stay there for at least a couple of nights. During your time here, you may take in the beautiful views and have a picnic in the crisp mountain air before heading back along the same route.

However, you should brace yourself for the wind! This place has some serious wind!

Crater Lake

This is a great day walk that is situated just outside of Aspen, and it is a very simple out-and-back trek that starts at Maroon Lake, which is quite picturesque but is also generally fairly busy. The lake is located in the Maroon Bells Wilderness Area (Well, at peak times).

During this journey of four miles, you will travel through the valley, which will be bordered on all sides by beautiful aspen trees. In the distance, you will also see the stunning Maroon Bells.

Once you have arrived at Crater Lake itself, you will want to take some time to appreciate the natural splendor of the surrounding region. In the end, that’s part of what makes hiking so enjoyable.

However, in order to avoid causing harm to the delicate plants in this area, you should take great care to remain on track at all times.

The Four Pass Loop

This challenging hike covers a distance of 26 miles and takes place in the Maroon Bells Wilderness close to Aspen. It takes place over the course of four days and takes you over four different mountain passes. It should come as no surprise that this is not a hike for anyone other than the most experienced hikers.

You will walk past the breathtakingly gorgeous Crater Lake on the first day of your journey. This is a popular place for people to camp, despite the fact that there is evidence of bear activity in the surrounding area. Always be on the lookout for this, and make sure to listen to and follow any local safety advice.

From this vantage point, you will travel across Frigid Pass before descending into a breathtaking alpine meadow that is replete with springs and even the odd waterfall. Oh, and another well-known destination along this trail is Snowmass Lake, which is renowned for its crystal clear water that contrasts beautifully with the surrounding thick forest.

It is, in fact, one of the best hikes in Colorado; however, in order to enjoy it to its fullest potential, you will either need to be an experienced hiker or join a group of experienced hikers.

Hanging Lake

If you are going to be in the area of Glenwood Springs to experience the world-famous hot springs, you should definitely set aside a day to do this relatively short but strenuous walk. Having said that, it is without a doubt one of the most scenic walks in Colorado that takes you through this breathtaking area.

The vast majority of people have the misconception that going to Hanging Lake is simple to do since the walk is just 2.5 miles roundtrip. Be warned, however, that you will have a very difficult journey across rocky terrain. Because of this, you should not take the journey lightly and should not forget to pack the appropriate food or to give yourself time to stop and relax along the way.

When you finally make it to Hanging Lake, you will realize that all of your hard work was worth it since it is a paradise! An extremely lovely place to take a break and unwind for a bit before making your way back, this location has a stunning lake that is surrounded on three sides by waterfalls.

If you’ve never been on a trek in the snow before, you should probably steer clear of this one during the winter months. Also, make sure you have the appropriate winter gear with you at all times.

The Lake Agnes Trail

This is a two-mile trek that takes around an hour and a half to complete and is situated just outside of Walden.

The anglers who are in the know go there since it is a fairly popular destination for visitors as well as residents and because it is a great place to fish.

Ascending the switchbacks can be difficult, but the otherworldly beauty of the towering Nokhu Craigs provides motivation to keep going until you reach Lake Agnes itself. This hike is one of the most rewarding hikes in terms of “bang for your buck,” which measures the amount of enjoyment you get for the amount of effort you put in. This picture-perfect lake in the mountains is a picture of peace and tranquility in all its pristine splendor.

You may hike along the edge, or you can just choose a rock to sit on and enjoy the crisp mountain air and breathtaking scenery as you have your lunch and drink your beverage of choice. It is really breathtaking and without a doubt ranks among the top treks in Colorado.

Longs Peak

Long’s Peak is the 13th highest peak in all of Colorado, standing at a height of little more than 4,400 meters.

The trek is quite challenging, and only the most experienced hikers should attempt it since it is around fifteen miles round way. If you are thinking of climbing this mountain, it is essential that you do not undervalue how difficult it will be for you. It’s intense.

Additionally, it requires a significant amount of traveling upward, in addition to traversing hazardous terrain after you have located the keyhole. From this vantage point, you will need to climb over rocks while maintaining a keen awareness of your footing, since other individuals have been killed while attempting to walk this route.

Those that take the necessary measures and make it to the top of the mountain in one piece will be rewarded with breathtaking views once they reach the peak. When you are here, you will get the distinct impression that you are standing on the very edge of the planet.

Bear in mind that fewer than half of the people who attempt this hike are successful in reaching the peak on their very first attempt. With that in mind, do not be afraid to retreat in the event that you become overcome with exhaustion or experience inclement weather; doing so could end up saving your life. Again, if you are not in excellent physical condition, you should not do this trek, and you should always listen to the guidance of professionals (or guides) while you are on this path.

Lost Man’s Loop

Bear in mind that the starting point and the finishing point of this strenuous approximately 9-mile climb in Aspen are over four miles away from one another. Although this trip is commonly referred to as a loop, it is really a circuit. Because of all of this, it is highly recommended that you make transportation arrangements in advance before embarking on this magnificent hike.

The path provides for a somewhat long day trip; nevertheless, the terrain is rather level; as a result, this is a wonderful choice for anybody who wants to experience a wilderness hike but isn’t ready to face some of the more challenging alternatives.

At this location, you will find yourself on the Continental Divide’s rim, quite close to the famous Independence Pass.

You will not want to miss the opportunity to stop at Lost Man’s Lake, which provides a breathtaking panorama of the Rocky Mountains, while you are on your tour. It is without a doubt one of the most scenic treks that Colorado has to offer.

Mount Elbert

Do not let the fact that Mount Elbert is the highest point in the state of Colorado make you feel frightened. All of this indicates that the hike is extremely challenging and should only be attempted by the most experienced hikers.

However, in terms of getting the most out of your time and effort invested, there is no other big mountain climb that can compare to this one in terms of its otherworldly scenery and relatively low level of difficulty.

This 9-mile roundtrip that is located near Leadville is not an easy hike by any stretch of the imagination. After all, there are some particularly steep areas, and when it’s been raining, those areas can become extremely icy and hazardous. The ascent to the higher elevation is not particularly difficult and there aren’t any significant rock faces to scale.

After you have conquered the last bit of terrain, you will have the sensation of being on top of the world. Before you head back down the mountain, you should make it a point to stop and take in the breathtaking views of the Sawatch Range for at least an hour. It is a fairly difficult hike, but it is considered to be one of the best winter hikes in Colorado.

Oh, and during the months when there is snow, you should come here only if you are very experienced, have snow gear, and are accompanied by a guide.

Mount Ida

This journey is slightly over nine miles round-trip and is situated in Rocky Mountain National Park, making it one of the most scenic trails in the park.

The speed is considered to be moderate, and although there are occasional severe inclines that need to be navigated, the incline is, for the most part, pretty manageable. Be careful to stick to the ascending route that is indicated by cairns as you make your way over some boulders towards the finish line. This will help you from getting lost. After about a mile and a half of hiking, the track becomes less distinct and instead leads hikers through boulder fields for the remainder of the journey.

Once you reach the peak, the views of the valley below are unlike anything you have ever seen before, and this is especially true if you go during the springtime when the wildflowers are blossoming and you get the opportunity to observe them. Because the marmots at the peak have a reputation for stealing supplies, you should keep your food and any other resources you have within easy reach at all times.

The trek is challenging, but it is possible to do it if you are dedicated to the task and have a decent degree of fitness. Oh, and make sure to start hiking on this trail as early in the morning as possible so that you still have time to hike back to your vehicle in the afternoon light.

Sniktau Mountain Trail

Located just outside of Denver, the Sniktau Mountain Trail is a very short but extremely steep trek that offers simply stunning views of the surrounding area.

Even though the whole loop is just four miles long, you will undoubtedly be able to get a good workout here, especially in the first stretch.

You will also come across a false peak along the route; nonetheless, the views of the Rocky Mountains and Loveland Pass get more breathtaking as you make your way to the real summit.

The ascent in altitude makes it a somewhat difficult trip, but it is without a doubt one of the most enjoyable climbs in Colorado.

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