Hiking in Colorado? Here’s where to do it

The best trails and hikes to explore

Hiking in Colorado? Here’s where to do it

Aubrey Ledall, Staff Reporter

As the weather warms and the school year comes to an end, many Coloradans are looking forward to getting outdoors. Incredible scenery and refreshing views are spread throughout the state, providing adventurers with the opportunity to experience memorable hikes and trails that range from effortless to challenging. 

A true jewel in the middle of Rocky Mountain National Park is Emerald Lake. This hike is roughly 3.5 miles round-trip and reaches an elevation of 10,110 feet. Starting early in the morning on this hike is the best because crowds are smaller and there aren’t as many people. Along the steady climb to the top, Long’s Peak emerges through the trees. At just over a half-mile from the trailhead, hikers will reach the south end of Nymph Lake. Continuing up the trail on the hike, people can expect to see Dream Lake and Emerald lake as well. “My favorite place to hike is Emerald Lake because it goes past three lakes before you get to the top of Emerald,” Lauren Caudle (23) said. When continuing up the trail there is a nice view of Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain. With the sound of a waterfall rushing down the gorge between the two mountains and a variety of wildflowers for people to delight in, this is a great hike to try out.

Another hike with photo worthy views is the Hanging Lake Hike. At 2.4 miles round-trip, the trek begins along the Colorado River surrounded by rock walls of the Glenwood Canyon. After about a quarter mile, hikers will reach Dead Horse Creek Canyon which is about a mile and leads to Hanging Lake and Spouting Rock Falls. Shaded by sky-scraping spruce, cedar, and fir trees, the climb to the top is pleasant, although the best part of the hike is the end. There are two breathtaking waterfalls, refreshing sounds, and cool air that flows through the canyon. 

When looking for a secluded, yet spectacular, high-elevation and backcountry opportunity, the San Juan National Forest has several hikes. The long trails will leave most who backpack this terrain feeling more in touch with nature and sore for the next week. Spanish teacher Aleena Griffin has hiked in the San Juan National Forest before and said “ there’s way less people there and the mountains are really beautiful. You’re kind of out in the middle of nowhere but it’s beautiful.” 

If adventurers are seeking a hike closer to home, Fort Collins has awesome spots. Arthur’s Rock Trail is 3.4 miles up and back. At Lowry State Park, Arthur’s Rock is a relatively short and moderate hike with spectacular views. A definite path leads hikers around small shrubs, boulders, and a forested mountain side. Half a mile into the hike, people are faced with the decision whether to traipse through a grassy meadow or a more challenging climb to the top. Arriving at the top, surrounded by boulders, Horsetooth Reservoir, Fort Collins, and the Front Range are in view.

Any of these hikes provide adventurers with fresh air, photo-worthy views, and memories.