Colorado Hiking Trails

Colorado Hiking trails and pitstops

Let’s take a look at some of the top rated hiking trails in Colorado. In terms of nature, the Rocky Mountains are home to a huge range of birds and wildlife.  Birds include Goshawk, Stellar’s Jays, Clark’s Nutcracker, Great Gray Owls and pileated woodpeckers. Animals that call this area home include moose, bobcats, mountain lions, black bears, coyotes, deer, marmots, elk and bighorn sheep.  There are a few dangerous creatures around too. Black Widow Spider and Brown Recluse Spiders live in the Rocky Mountains and the state is home to rattlesnakes. However, rattlesnakes live in the arid parts of the state so you’re not likely to come across them on your alpine mountain trail.You should also be aware of ticks which can carry nasty diseases. 

Bear Lake Nature Trail

Let’s start with an easy one. This is a 1.1km loop around Bear Lake. It’s easy with little elevation so it’s one all the family can enjoy. Kids will love this one. Snowshoes or spikes recommended for winter and spring. When the lake is frozen you’ll find lots of people playing on the lake. You’ll get good views of the snow topped mountains. The route is adorned with spruce, lodgepole pine, aspen and fir trees. On a clear, calm day you’ll see a beautiful mirror image of the mountains reflected in the surface of the water.

Bear Lake itself is an alpine lake underneath Hallett Peak and the Continental Divide. It’s closest to the Beaver Meadows Entrance station of the Rocky Mountain National Park. There’s a car park and entrance fees.  

Emerald Lake Trail

If you are in the Estes Park region you’ll probably know about the hugely popular Emerald Lake trail. This is a 5.1km route takes walkers through a beautiful pine forest landscape. The route can be slippery so spikes or crampons are advised during colder months. Plus later in the day the snow will get slushy so waterproof shoes are also advised. It is a busy route so get there early to get a space in the parking lot. Hikers are rewarded with spectacular views of the mountains and the lake.This is a great route for photographers too.

Royal Arch Trail

This hike is in Chautauqua Park and gives hikers wonderful views of Bluebell canyon.  The route can get very busy. Crowds of people visit Boulder’s Chautauqua Park. The trick is to visit early to beat the rush! This is a fairy hard route classed moderate to difficult. It’s only a 2 -3 hour round journey but there is a lot of elevation. Poles are advised if you have them to help with all the steps. Once you make it to the arch, go through and be rewarded with views as far as Denver. Dogs are permitted on the trail on a leash but since it is so busy on the trail with many people stopping to rest it may not be appropriate to bring your dog.

Sky Pond via Glacier Gorge Trail

The Sky Pond is a real visual treat. This is the highest of two lakes located above the Timberline Falls. The second, lower lake is rather beautifully called ‘The Lake of Glass’. The hike itself is rewarding. Walkers will pass waterfalls on this 9 mile round trip. Likely to take you 5 – 6 hours to complete and please be advised it is classified as a difficult trail.  You’ll pass Alberta Falls and The Loch. Once you arrive at Timberline Falls the trail requires you to scramble up the steep rocks and it could be slippery. But get past this point and you’ll be rewarded with the spectacular sight of The Lake of Glass. But don’t stop here! If you keep going you will come to The Sky Pond, nearly double the size of The Lake of Glass. The extra elevation hides it from most visitors. Dogs are not permitted.

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