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The 5 Best Hikes in Colorado

The 5 Best Hikes in Colorado
There are some great options for hiking in Colorado. So, how do you pick the best ones for you? By knowing all about the options, and what each hike has to offer. That way you can choose the ones that fit your hiking ability and lifestyle, so you can have more fun. Here are the top five best hikes in Colorado.

1. GARDEN OF THE GODS INNER LOOP


This easy hike can be an excellent way to introduce your kids to hiking or take someone along who can't complete a more challenging hike. There's still plenty to see, and you can spend time having adventures, interacting with other hikers, and appreciating the beautiful wildlife all along the trail.

TRAIL AT A GLANCE

Hiking Distance 1.3 Miles
Difficulty Easy
Length to Complete 1 Hour
Trail Type Family friendly, paved, lollipop loop
Best Seasons to Visit All Seasons
Dog Policies Allowed on a Leash
Trail Map Click Here for the Trail Map
Closest Town Colorado Springs, Colorado
Things to See The red rocks of Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, Aspen trees, meadows, wildflowers, sheep, deer.
Activities Hiking, walking, running, camping, nature walks, rock climbing with a permit.
Recommended Gear Trekking Poles, Backpack, Water Bottle/Hydration Pouch, Hiking Boots

Tips and Resources:
  • You won't have the trails to yourself, as the park is a very popular place.
  • Time your hike at sunrise or sunset, for an extra wow factor.
  • Many trail areas are paved and have room for strollers.
  • The trails are open from 5 am to 9 pm, and are free to the public.
After the Hike: Josh & John's Ice Cream - Downtown

2. JASPER LAKE HIKE IN INDIAN PEAKS


This is a serious hike for serious hikers. If you're not well accomplished at hiking rugged trails, this one may not be for you. If you go on this hike it can be a great adventure full of all kinds of beauty and wonder. Just make sure you take some provisions with you and have a good map, so you can make your way back safely.

TRAIL AT A GLANCE

Hiking Distance 11 Miles
Difficulty Difficult
Length to Complete 6 to 7 Hours
Trail Type Rugged, out and back
Best Seasons to Visit May through September
Dog Policies Allowed on a Leash
Trail Map Click Here for the Trail Map
Closest Town Nederland, Colorado
Things to See Waterfalls, alpine lakes, meadows, wildflowers, Aspen trees, fall colors, moose.
Activities Hiking, Skiing (cross-country), fishing, camping with a permit, and snowshoeing
Recommended Gear Trekking Poles, Backpack, Water Bottle/Hydration Pouch, Hiking Boots

Tips and Resources: After the Hike: Blue Owl Books & Boutique (bookstore, coffee shop, ice cream parlor)

3. CAVE TRAIL AT CASTLEWOOD CANYON


This one might seem easy because it's short, but the terrain can be a challenge. It's a good hike for anyone who wants to see and explore caves, and also a good test of difficult terrain that doesn't involve hours of hiking. With so much to offer, this hike can be a great opportunity to explore the area and challenge yourself.

TRAIL AT A GLANCE

Hiking Distance 0.14 miles one way (most people combine it with other trails/hikes)
Difficulty Moderate (short hike, but more difficult terrain)
Length to Complete 30 minutes round trip
Trail Type Rugged, out and back
Best Seasons to Visit All Seasons
Dog Policies Yes on the Cave Trail, not on the East Canyon Trail
Trail Map Click Here for the Trail Map
Closest Town Castle Rock, Colorado
Things to See Lake Chinnabee, Cheaha Creek, Waterfalls, Talladega National Forest, Armadillos
Activities Hiking, rock climbing, picnic areas, close to a waterfall.
Recommended Gear Trekking Poles, Backpack, Water Bottle/Hydration Pouch, Hiking Boots

Tips and Resources:
  • Add the waterfall hike to the trip, for some increased beauty and adventure.
  • This hike is uneven and steep, so take care even though it's a short hike.
  • Make sure you bring your sunscreen.
  • Watch out for poison ivy -- you should know how to identify it before hiking here.
After the Hike: The Funky Brewster Coffee Catering

4. WINDY PEAK HIKE IN GOLDEN GATE CANYON


Ideal for taking a full-on hike that's a challenge but not extremely difficult, this hike is one of the great ones in the state. You'll have a chance to see plenty of natural beauty and wildlife, and there are excellent places to take pictures. The views are worth the effort to get there, and there's always something new to see.

TRAIL AT A GLANCE

Hiking Distance 6.4 Miles
Difficulty Moderate (some brief areas of higher difficulty)
Length to Complete 2 to 3 Hours
Trail Type Lollipop loop, with a spur off to the summit
Best Seasons to Visit May to October is the best time
Dog Policies Allowed on a Leash
Trail Map Click Here for the Trail Map
Closest Town Golden, Colorado
Things to See Wildflowers and meadows, Spruce and Aspen trees, snow-capped mountains and panoramic views.
Activities Hiking, picnic areas, snowshoeing in the winter months, plenty of photography opportunities.
Recommended Gear Trekking Poles, Backpack, Water Bottle/Hydration Pouch, Hiking Boots

Tips and Resources:
  • A Colorado State Parks pass is required.
  • Take a map with you from the visitor center.
  • Make sure you bring some water and food, especially in warmer months.
After the Hike: Woody's Wood Fired Pizza

5. BERGEN PEAK HIKE NEAR EVERGREEN


As a more difficult hike, this one isn't for everybody. But for experienced hikers who want to focus on a challenge coupled with natural beauty, this may be just the right option. The views from the top are impressive, as are the bird watching opportunities. Having a picnic can also be part of the charm on this adventure.

TRAIL AT A GLANCE

Hiking Distance 9.2 Miles
Difficulty Difficult
Length to Complete 4 to 5 Hours
Trail Type Rugged, out and back
Best Seasons to Visit Best from early spring through the fall
Dog Policies Allowed on a Leash (except during seasonal closures)
Trail Map Click Here for the Trail Map
Closest Town Evergreen, Colorado
Things to See Meadows, views from the peak top, Aspen trees.
Activities Hiking, picnic areas, bird watching, mountain biking (on the lower trails only)
Recommended Gear Trekking Poles, Backpack, Water Bottle/Hydration Pouch, Hiking Boots

Tips and Resources: After the Hike: Murphy's Mountain Grill
These may be five of the best hikes in Colorado, but there are plenty more. Whether you want to choose something easy, moderate, or much more difficult, you'll have options to consider. Many hikes are within reasonable driving distance from Denver, which can be a great central "home base" to hike from. There are challenging hikes that take all day, as well as much shorter opportunities to take your kids for a hike they'll enjoy. The world is your oyster when it comes to finding excellent hiking trails all over the great state of Colorado.