With the highest overall altitude in the United States, Colorado is home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the nation. If you’re searching for a day hike in Colorado, look no more. Guest writer Catherine Wiley has identified eight of the best trails in the Centennial State.
This is a guest post by Catherine Wiley, a California-based freelance writer who is passionate about hiking and traveling in Colorado. She’s discovered that she does her best writing on cruise ships, in European castles, and from her California garden.
Colorado is home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the United States. At an average altitude of 6,800 feet (2,073 meters), the scenery causes most hikers to immediately fall in love with the area. The trails are a range of difficulty levels, so it’s easy to find an option for every type of hiker.
Pro Tip: Before you start out on your day hike in Colorado, you may want to read these hiking gear reviews from experienced travelers so you have everything you need with you.
Here are the eight best day hikes in Colorado:
Day Hike in Colorado #1 – Chautauqua Walking Trails in Boulder
In Boulder, Colorado, the Chautauqua walking trails offer a variety of options. With hikes ranging from less than a mile (1.6 km) to as many as 12 miles (19 km), you can take either a point-to-point or a loop route on this day hike in Colorado.
Day Hike in Colorado #2 – Mount Flora
Less than an hour west of Denver, Mount Flora is one the easiest (and most rewarding) hikes in the US. It’s rated as Class 1 trail, but with a bit of Class 2. Whether you’re a beginner or have advanced hiking skills, this terrain will be just as ideal. It’s approximately 6.1 miles with a total elevation gain of about 1,800 ft (550 km). Once at the summit, you’ll be treated to breathtaking scenes of the surrounding mountains and alpine lakes.
Pro Tip: Here’s a resource to help you decode hiking trail classifications.
Day Hike in Colorado #3 – Ice Lake Basin at the San Juan Mountains
The San Juan Mountains near Silverton, Colorado provide some of the best day hikes in the state. Ice Lake Basin Trail is a loop about seven miles (11 km) long with an elevation gain of about 3,100 ft (945 m). This Class 2 day hike in Colorado is a perfect summer trek, and you’ll enjoy the view of the lake basin with a blue tint.
Day Hike in Colorado #4 – Lost Man Lake in Pitkin County
Lost Man Lake is an alpine lake located high in the Sawatch Range in the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness of White River National Forest near Aspen, Colorado. This seven mile (11 km) trail is only open between May and October, because the rest of the year, snow covers most of the path.
Pro Tip: If you’re planning on a hiking adventure while traveling, be sure to check out these tips for hiking on vacation.
Day Hike in Colorado #5 – Devil’s Head Fire Lookout Hike
Located about an hour and a half south of Denver, the Devil’s Head Fire Lookout is a fire lookout tower in Douglas County. This classic day hike in Colorado is about 2.8 miles (4.5 km) round trip with an additional 143 steps to climb the lookout point. But from that vantage point, you’ll be treated to a 360 degree view of Pike National Forest.
Read why forest fires are good for the environment, even though they can be terrifying and destroy property.
Day Hike in Colorado #6 – Mount Yale
This day hike in Colorado is a bit more difficult than the rest. Nearly three hours west of Colorado Springs, the Mount Yale trail is approximately nine miles (14.5 km) long and will take about six to eight hours to complete.
Day Hike in Colorado #7 – Mount Elbert
Mount Elbert is located about an hour and a half north of Mount Yale. This day hike in Colorado takes you to the highest point in Colorado. The most popular hiking trails in this area are categorized as Class 1 and Class 2 giving Mount Elbert the nickname of “gentle giant.”
Day Hike in Colorado #8 – Rimrock Trail at Castlewood Canyon State Park
About an hour north of Colorado Springs, Castlewood Canyon State Park offers a variety of canyon trails for a day hike in Colorado. The Rimrock Trail is popular for walking, running, and cycling. This four mile (six km) hike offers gorgeous views of the state park and canyon.
What About You?
Have you done a day hike in Colorado? Where did you hike? Is there a trail you’d add to this list? Share your experiences in the comments section below.
Please note: Photos not watermarked by me or clearly attributed to a specific photographer or organization are from the community of talented photographers over at .
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