Hiking destinations in Colorado

Are you thinking of visiting Colorado?  Have you always wanted to explore this amazing state?  Colorado is truly an outdoor lover’s paradise. Hiking is one of the most popular activities in Colorado.  There are trails that range from simple easy day hikes to true expert backpacking expeditions.  Are you an avid hiker and are now wondering where to hike when you are here in Colorado? There are literally hundreds of destinations and trails to choose from.   I get it, it’s SO hard to even know where to start. But you’re in luck. I have done a ton of the work for you.   Believe it or not, Hiking is one of the best ways to truly experience this incredible state. 

Who would believe there are more than 39,000 miles of trails here? And they vary in difficulty, length, type of scenery, and more.  If you are looking to experience Colorado and hike your way around, you are in luck.  Incredible hiking trails are literally spread across the entire state.  Considering Colorado is 104,185 mi² in size, I’m sure there is the perfect hiking trail for you somewhere amongst these incredible acres.


Also, make sure to check out the Colorado Trail Explorer which can help you navigate your route!



Still not sure that there is not enough terrain here for you to explore?  Did you know that Colorado has  42 Colorado state parks, 13 national forests, 13 national parks and monuments, and 58 14ers!  WHAT??????

  1. Maroon Bells Hikes
  2. Alberta Falls Hike at Rocky Mountain National Park
  3. Hanging Lake Hike
  4. Fountain Valley Trail at Roxborough State Park
  5. Fern Falls Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park
  6. First and Second Flatirons Hike
  7. Timberline Falls Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park
  8. Monarch Lake Loop Hike
  9. Devil’s Head Fire Lookout Hike
  10. Four Lakes and a Waterfall Loop in Rocky Mountain National Park


🥾Let’s Break this down a bit more for you and give you just a bit more information on each of the hikes above🥾



Maroon Bells Hike
  • 4 hours from Denver
  • Easy to Moderate

Multiple hiking trails and many believe it offers the most beautiful scenery anywhere in Colorado. This Rocky Mountain landscape is full of cascades, lakes, and golden aspens–all against the iconic backdrop of the Maroon Bells peaks. 


Alberta Falls Hike
  • 2 hours from Denver
  •  Moderate

This hike is located right in Rocky Mountain National park, This is one of the favorites if a short hike in the park is what you are looking for!  


Hanging Lake Hike
  • 2 hours and 45 minutes from Denver
  •  Moderate

Hanging Lake is a short, but tough hike.  This trail will lead you to waterfalls and a beautiful lake.  This may be one of if not the most popular hikes in all of Colorado.


Fountain Valley Trail
  •  45 minutes from Denver
  •  Easy

If you need to stick a little closer to the Denver area, this is a great hike to try. People feel this is a magical and gorgeous experience. The trail winds through incredible red rock formations  It’s a 2.4 easy hike that many hikers enjoy!


Fern Falls Trail
  • 1 Hour 40 Minutes from Denver
  •  Moderate

Fern Falls is located on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. At around 2.6 miles from the trailhead, hikers will reach Fern Falls.  Whoa, be ready, it’s a 60-foot waterfall that plunges down Fern Creek.  It really is amazing to see. This trail alternates between open areas, and forest.  The views along the way are quite impressive!


Timberline Falls Hike
  • 2 hours from Denver
  •  Difficult

Hiking to Timberline Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park is demanding but exciting.  Explore this 9.3-mile loop trail that takes an average of 4 h 56 min to complete. This is a very popular area for birding and hiking.  The trail passes Alberta Falls and goes into Loch Vale. Most hikers extend their hike beyond Timberline Falls to the alpine lakes and beyond.


First and Second Flatirons Hike
  • 45 Minutes from Denver
  •  Moderate

Looking for something a bit more challenging? Try this 2.7-mile loop trail near Boulder. It’s a  moderately challenging route that takes about 2 1/2 hours to finish!  The trail takes hikers across a green meadow, then up through a notch between the First and Second Flatirons. There are stunning and breathtaking views of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains along the way.


Monarch Loop Hike
  • 2 hours and 50 Minutes from Denver
  •  Easy

Monarch Lake makes for a perfect day hike. Considered an easy route, it takes an average of 1 h 26 min to finish. The Monarch Lake Loop takes hikers through a forest, across creeks, and right along the shore of the lake. I will tell you, this is a fairly easy hike but the diverse environment makes it extremely popular.  This is a popular destination for kayaking, canoeing, country skiing, fishing, and hiking.


Devil's Head Fire Lookout Hike
  • 1 hour and 15 Minutes from Denver
  •  Moderate

The Devil’s Head Trail is the typical classic Colorado hike. It’s a 2.7-mile out-and-back trail.  Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 1 h 41 min to complete.   The 143-step climb to the fire lookout can be rough,  but everyone says totally with it!  


Four Lakes and a Waterfall Loop Hike
  • 2 hours from Denver
  •  Moderate

This 6.4-mile loop hike in  Rocky Mountain National Park takes you to 4 beautiful lakes and Alberta Falls.  This Park is one of the most visited in Colorado and the waterfall is the most photographed in the state.   If you are looking for a hike with incredible scenery this one is NOT to be missed.  

Lodging and Places to Stay

Obviously, Colorado is a pretty big state.  In fact, is it about  104,094 sq mi, and as mentioned earlier there are hiking trails in just about every corner of the state.  SO, below are just a few suggestions of places you may want to consider staying if coming out to explore and hit some of the amazing hiking trails!


Let’s start off with where to stay near Rocky Mountain National Park.  Unfortunately, there is no lodging in the park, but don’t worry. There are plenty of spots located nearby!

There are plenty of other areas to stay in, in fact, may I suggest you check out one of these mountain towns to stay in?

Buena Vista –  Buena Vista is beautiful. Located in central Colorado between the mountain towns of Salida and Leadville. There are simple strolls that are scenic here along the river, AND there are insane 14,000-foot summits.  This part of the state offers you, “choose your own adventure”.


Aspen – Aspen is one mountain town you do NOT want to miss! If you simply mention Aspen to anyone, they automatically think of snow-covered slopes and some of the best skiing in the entire country.  While that is 100% true, there is a lot more here in Aspen.  Hiking for example!  Check out these 5 trails right in Aspen, but remember there are hundreds and hundreds of miles of trails just outside that area too!

  1. Rio Grande Trail
  2. Hunter Creek
  3. Smuggler Trail
  4. Sunnyside Trail
  5. Ute Trail
  6. Red Butte Trail