5 Epic Colorado Hiking Trails You Must See To Believe

Colorado is one of the most amazing states we’ve ever visited, which is why in 2000 we packed up our house and sold it in 29 days, piled all our crap into a U-Haul van, buckled our 5 kids into our truck and head off toward the adventure capital of the country — epic Colorado Hiking, camping, snowboarding, climbing, whitewater kayaking & rafting, mountain biking, you name it, Colorado’s got it!

Obviously, because we never looked back.  We’ve ventured off in our RV, but know that one day, sooner or later, we’ll be back…as you can leave Colorado, but it never leaves you!

From climbing and hiking to whitewater kayaking mountain biking and heli-boarding, Colorado has it all.  In light of this, we’ve taken the liberty of making a hiking, bucket list (2016 is our bucket list year, remember) that are sure to get our blood flowing, cameras clicking and test our limits!  If you plan to hike with your kids, be sure that you are overly prepared … LOL.

Following are some of the best Colorado hikes that are worth both your time and your energy!

Table of Contents

The Continental Divide Trail

2016 Best Colorado Hikes
Just some of the wildlife you will encounter on the Continental Divide Trail, in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Now, the full Continental Divide Trails spans some 3000+ miles and runs from the border of Canada all the way to the border of Mexico.  What we are talking about is the stretch of trail that runs through Rocky Mountain National Park and is about 30 miles long.

It’s highest elevation is 12,363’ and its views include all the highlights of the park.  It summits Ptarmigan Point and Flattop Mountain.  If you are thinking of hiking this trail, know that a permit is required!!

West Maroon Pass

Epic Colorado HIkes
The most photographed peaks in the country!!

West Maroom Pass, a bonafide rite of passage for Coloradans, is a moderate 12.7 mile out and back hike that climbs a glacial valley under America’s most photographed peaks, the Maroon Bells.   Relatively fit and acclimated hikers can make this trek in roughly 6 hours, but as with all Colorado hikes, you need to plan for bad weather.  We’ll be establishing our Colorado cred later in the summer and to be on the safe side, we should arrive at the trail head around 6 am!  The pass climbs to 12,480′ … so have your camera ready!!

Conundrum Creek Trl

Epic Colorado Hiking
Ahhh the scenery from the 100 degree hot springs! Photo: SummitPost

Conundrum Creek is a 19.8 mile round trip trail located near Aspen, Colorado that features a waterfall and some hot springs with temperatures of 100 degrees!  This trail is rated as moderate and while experienced hikers can make the trip in one days time, many many hikers opt to camp in the vicinity around the falls.   It can get quite crowded on weekends and holidays, and clothing in the hot springs is optional, so plan accordingly … like a Wednesday in the middle of some random week!  🙂

Blue Lakes Trail

Epic Colorado HIking
Ahhh, the scenery.

An utterly spectacular fall hike when the Aspen trees turn yellow and gold, this hike can be either a moderate 6.3 round trip hike to two of the turquoise colored lakes or a strenuous 11 mile round trip trek.  The lakes are stunning, the views are incomparable and the wildflowers and surrounding peaks are breathtaking.  This hike is at the top of our “to-do” list … not to mention the town of Ouray, where this trailhead begins has been called the Little Switzerland!  Check this link for full info on the 3 segments of trail!

Sawtooth 14’er

Epic Colorado Hiking
This 14’er is a great intro to much more difficult hikes!

Rated at a 3, this is the perfect trek for someone (like us) wanting to tackle a 14’er (a peak that’s 14,000′ or higher), but actually live to tell the tale.  Ropes are not necessarily needed, but a lot of scrambling is to be expected.  An entire day should be allocated for this hike and if you are a beginner, or not acclimated to the elevation, be sure to hike with a friend!  For more in depth information, check here.

Ouzel Falls

Epic Colorado Hiking
Gorgeous scenery at the end of a hike! Photo: Meetup.com

If you love waterfalls, this is a great 5.4 mile roundtrip moderate hike for you!  Located in Rocky Mountain National Park, this hike takes you to Copeland Falls and Calypso Cascades.  Flanked by boulders and rising rugged peaks, the trail is well marked as you ascend passed Copeland Falls.  At mile 2.6 you reach Ouzel Falls where you can sit and relax, take photos, and eat a snack before turning back and heading back to the trail head.

BONUS: Manitou Incline

Unlike anything you have ever hiked, it’s a cross between a climb and a hike. The Manitou Incline is hailed as the most extreme hike in Colorado and boasts a whopping 2,744 steps to the summit with an average 41% incline, and a section with an incline of 68%!!  It is no joke, as military use it to train!  If you happen to be in the Colorado Springs area, this is a hike you should not miss!!!

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