There are a few states that just clearly stand head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to offering a wide array of truly incredible hiking experiences, and Colorado certainly fills that mold. If you love the great outdoors in general and love hiking in particular, then you will want to make sure after finding the best deals on RV rentals in the area to check out these top notch hiking experiences throughout the state of Colorado to find something for everyone!
You’re not going to get far in any top hiking trail list anywhere in the Rocky Mountains without mentioning the Continental Divide Trail (CDT for short), one of the three huge north to south trails that make up the “Triple Crown” of thru hiking in the United States. Now Colorado is only one state that the CDT runs through, but some of the most remote and beautiful scenery anywhere is going to be on Colorado’s portions of the CDT.
While the CDT is known as a highly challenging trail that is arguably the most difficult of the three trails to complete, it’s not just for thru hikers! There are many sections that run from common stop towns to another, allowing visitors to get a taste of this incredible rustic experience without having to commit months to the full trek.
The Keyhole Route @ Longs Peak
Right up front for the warning: this hiking trail is not for beginners or the faint of heart. This is a hard trail and while it offers some of the best views of any day hike in all of Colorado, it is not the type to charge into on a whim. Longs Peak sits at 14,255 feet at its tallest and the challenging but popular Keyhole Route is heavily visited by view-seekers throughout the year despite those challenges.
In fact, the National Park Service estimates over 15,000 people attempt this route to get to the top of Longs Peak each year, but less than half actually manage to pull off this challenge. This trail features over 5,000 feet of elevation gain over 7.5 miles, meaning you’re looking at a full 15 mile roundtrip.
The weather can be a little bit unpredictable so you need to be prepared, and if you’re tackling this trail during the busy season, you might expect some serious trail traffic however if you are in shape and up for the challenge then The Keyhole Route is definitely a must visit hiking trail to add to your itinerary!
Mills Lake @ Rocky Mountain National Park
An incredibly scenic alternative that isn’t nearly as challenging as the above entry, if you have found your pick among RV rentals then it’s time to take a look at Mills Lake trails to enjoy solid hiking and outstanding natural scenery. These trails are often promoted as some of the most scenic you’ll find in the popular Rocky Mountain National Park, and for good reason.
This is a moderately challenging trail that is a total of 5.3 miles round trip, meaning most people don’t have a major problem completing it even if they’re not every weekend hikers. As long as you aren’t in completely atrocious shape you should be able to tackle this trail with gusto. Make sure to take the time to appreciate Alberta Falls, a 30 foot waterfall right off the path, or even consider spending some time there for a picnic lunch.
Star Dune at Great Sand Dunes National Park
Not every brilliant hike through Colorado has to be a grueling physical or mental challenge. In fact, the Star Dune at the Great Sand Dunes National Park should be the very top of your list. This incredibly scenic hike offers some open area wandering that is open even during the winter months when high mountain pass trails are not, and at over 700 feet in height Star Dune makes for a very impressive sand dune and a very impressive sight. The skyline features Sangre de Cristo Peaks in the distance, giving a full sandy desert and Rocky Mountain background all in one place.
Very easy area to hike around that offers plenty of unique pictures as well as plenty of opportunities to wander around and enjoy the experience at your own pace first hand.
Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
An excellent hiking option that not only offer the full range of beautiful park and mountain views you want while visiting Denver, but this is a very family friendly hiking trail that covers a lot of space with various loops while minimizing altitude change so you don’t have to worry about adjustment nearly as much. There’s only 40 feet total of elevation gain on these trails, and is less than half an hour’s drive from the middle of downtown Denver.
There is a common 0.9 mile loop to Lake Mary and back that is beautiful, picturesque, and even dog friendly. There’s also an “optional route” that includes a 5.3 mile loop that can offer an incredible sight of Denver’s skyline. This is an area that is especially known for abundant bird life and a collection of small lakes that makes this hiking area, and don’t miss the guided bison tour if you want to see a herd in all their natural splendor and/or glory.
Hike Your Hike
There are going to be many options when it comes to finding a top notch hiking trail in Colorado and truth be told, there are probably literally hundreds of total hikes that are a fantastic way to spend the day – especially when you love the beauty of the Rockies. An old saying goes “hike your own hike,” and is really popular with many thru hikers. Take a look at the wide variety of RV rentals available, pick out the best one for your Denver area adventures, and let the hiking begin!