Every year people flock to Colorado for some of the best hiking destinations in the world. 

There are thousands of trails to choose from in Colorado, with different levels of difficulty and a plethora of scenic views to behold. Here is our list of some of the most enjoyable trails in the Centennial State for an unforgettable trip.

Mayflower Gulch Grand Traverse

For stunning views, wildflowers galore, and a glimpse of history, Mayflower Gulch, just south of Copper Mountain Resort on HWY 91, is not to be missed! 

Bring the pups on this 6.1-mile trail (out and back) that has a steady incline of 1548 ft, and is considered easy to moderately challenging. Alltrails.com gives it a 4.7!

The wide and shaded path of Mayflower Gulch cuts through a dense evergreen forest and opens up to the Mayflower Amphitheater about 1.5 miles in. This is where you’ll find endless meadows of colorful wildflowers and the remnants of the old Boston Mine. Explore the remains of cabins and ore chutes and get whisked away to life in the 1800s.

The amphitheater is surrounded by incredible views of Fletcher Mountain, Mayflower Hill, and Pacific Peak. There are trails in all directions to choose from here, and more wildflowers to see. 

Bonus: Just before reaching the Boston Mine, there’s a side trail that leads over the Gold Hill ridgeline to the Gold Crest Mines and a view of the old Kokomo Ghost Town!

Hanging Lake

Step into the otherworldly splendor of the waterfalls at Hanging Lake! (But heed the signs and stay out of the water!) This National Natural Landmark is a unique and delicate ecosystem that requires adherence to the trail and a permit to enter. (Leave the dogs at home for this one.)

This steep and rocky 3.1-mile (out and back) hike near Glenwood Springs, Colorado, has an elevation gain of 1187 ft and has an All Trails rating of 4.9! It’s a moderate to difficult hike because of the steep incline but considered absolutely worth it for the stunning beauty it offers.

Short and sweet, but picturesque, this trail follows Deadhorse Creek through the Glenwood Canyon in the White River National Forest. The trek is accompanied by the sights and sounds of water running over the deep green mossy rocks. Don’t forget to stop at the canyon overlook! The trail leads to a boardwalk over the crystal lake that looks out at the rushing waterfalls. 

Bonus: Take the trail farther and walk behind the waterfall of Spouting Rock.

This entire trip will make you wonder what mythical creatures live here, and you might just leave believing in fairies.

Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness

Just 10 miles outside of Aspen is the most photographed place in Colorado, though photos can hardly capture its depth, and you need to see it in person.

The glacier-carved basin of Maroon Bells Scenic Area hosts six main trailheads, the most popular being the Maroon Bells Scenic Loop Trail. The 1.9-mile route only has a 160 ft elevation gain and is considered an easy hike. All Trails give it a 4.8!

This extremely popular hiking destination is family-friendly and dog-friendly. Anglers love fishing on the glassy Maroon Lake, and the pristine aspen meadows full of wildflowers are perfect for picnics. 

Reservations are needed for access by the shuttle, as well as camping. If you’re driving in, you’ll need a parking permit.

Bonus: Maroon Creek Trail gives you a great chance to view an array of wildlife, and Crater Lake Trail gives you more of a steep mountain challenge.

Sky Pond via Glacier Gorge Trail

The Glacier Gorge Trail to Sky Pond is a bucket list hike that offers the best scenic views in Rocky Mountain National Park (Estes Park, CO)!

Coming in at just under 10 miles, this out-and-back route has an elevation gain of 1771 ft and is considered challenging. (Sorry, no dogs here.) It nets a 4.9 rating on All Trails

Much of this trail follows Glacier Creek and brings you to Alberta Falls, tranquil Loch Vale (The Loch), Timberline Falls (that you CLIMB up!), the unreal Lake of Glass, and finally, the stunning Sky Pond. The trail and the water are surrounded by jutting granite spires, cliff walls, and evergreens.

Reservations and permits are needed for camping, and there is an entry fee at the park. Parking is limited and the shuttle service is recommended. This popular trail runs on timed ticket entry from May-October.

Garden of the Gods Park

This National Natural Landmark just outside of Colorado Springs is home to 31 hiking trails with 4.5-4.6 All Trails ratings, 17 of which are easy enough for the whole family and leashed dogs!

While this “Gateway to the Rockies” is a grand site of geologically rare finds, another reason it’s on the list is because of its ADA compliance and its unique dedication to making the rugged splendor of the outdoors accessible for all. 

The Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center has accessible parking, a barrier-free entrance, wheelchair-accessible restrooms, a theater, exhibits, and a cafe. Grab a full-color map and one of three non-motorized wheelchairs free of charge to enjoy the paved trail that features level spots every 50 feet and plenty of places to sit and rest along the way.

Bonus: This park is completely FREE!

Happy Hiking!

No matter what trail you decide to explore, remember these tips- get an EARLY start, wear layers to prepare for exposure to the elements and afternoon storms in the mountains, pack out your garbage and leave no trace, and wear good shoes!

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