22 Badass Hikes in Colorado
Collected by Joshua Berman, AFAR Local Expert
This great state is home to the southern half of the Rocky Mountains, the Continental Divide, Rocky Mountain National Park, and thousands of miles of steep, stunning hiking trails. Fill up your water bottle, lace up the boots, and hit one of these badass constitutionals.
The Incline, Colorado, USA
That's what the sign says at the bottom of the Manitou Incline Trail, an infamous hardcore fitness attraction off Ruxton Avenue in Manitou Springs, just a few miles west of Colorado Springs. The Incline Trail consists of approximately 2,000 steps...
Rim Trail S, Colorado, USA
A fun hike or mountain bike trail is the Rim Trail. Even though there are two places to hop on the trail, I personally recommend starting at the side near the Snowmass Mall off Divide Road. The trail is a series of tame switchbacks that traverses...
4192 State Highway 9, Breckenridge, CO 80424, USA
The spectacular high mountain lakes and alpine scenery make this hike one of the most popular around Breckenridge, Colo. In early summer, the waterfalls gush and snow still dots the surrounding peaks, one of which stands at 14,265 feet (Quandary...
52068 W Fork Rd #38, Dolores, CO 81323, USA
Among the most lauded hotel openings in recent years, Dunton Hot Springs is a glitterati mainstay, with its batch of former mining community cabins that look straight out of a Ralph Lauren catalogue. You don’t have to book a pricey stay at...
Hike, bike, or ride at your leisure up through Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Colorado. For photographers, I recommend taking Trail Ridge Road for its vast opportunity to stop off and take pictures of beautiful views. The trip begins in the...
29950 Paint Mine Rd, Calhan, CO 80808, USA
Around 30 miles east of Colorado Springs, Colorado is a place you would never expect to find out in the middle of the prairie lands. As you drive along through flat lands, tumbleweeds, and a horizon as far as the eye can see, you suddenly see a...
Collegiate Peaks, Colorado 81211, USA
A drive from Buena Vista through the ghost town of Winfield leads into the valley of the Collegiates. Wildflowers adorn the windswept summit of Mount Harvard, the fourth highest mountain in the contiguous United States (14,421 ft). At the top,...
Bellvue, CO 80512, USA
"Right now, I am aware of the first star." We are sitting on grass and pine needles near a collapsed old hunting cabin, four adults and 15 young teens playing a game of "right now" in the middle of the woods. There are a few snickers and moans,...
Sangre de Cristo Range, Colorado 81040, USA
There is no trail on this hike, and many icy/snowy spots at the time that we did it. Challenger Point is a well-deserved name on this 14,000 foot peak. With 1,000 feet to go, we decided to turn around and leave it for another day. An exciting peak...
Mt Evans, Colorado 80439, USA
This is a bit touristy, but it's such a beautiful spot, I would highly recommend it. You can either drive or hike to the top of Mt Evans, which is just a short distance west of Denver. Besides the gorgeous views from the top, it's a fantastic...
About 35 miles northeast of Alamosa, Colorado, is the Great Sand Dunes NP. The tallest sand dunes in North America (Star Dune is the tallest at 750’) are landlocked and seem strangely out of place next to the 13,000’ Sangre de Cristo Mountains....
Independence Pass, Colorado 81210, USA
Driving up Independence Pass is a beautiful way to spend the afternoon and along the way to the top of this 12,096’ pass you can stop at highlights. For the thrill seekers, near the Grottos there is a series of waterfalls that flow into a crystal...
Quandary Peak, Colorado 80424, USA
Climbing 14,000-foot mountains is a kind of unofficial state pastime for hikers in Colorado, with completists sometimes spending years to bag all 53. A good place for newcomers to start their quest is Quandary Peak, a relatively gentle mountain...
Rio Grande Trail, Colorado, USA
My morning routine in Aspen always starts with a run along the Rio Grande Trail. The trail is easily accessed from downtown and stretches 41 miles between Aspen and Glenwood Springs with an elevation change of 2,120 feet. It used to be an old...
Piney Lake, Colorado, USA
The Upper Piney trail is about a 12-mile roundtrip hike through aspen and evergreen trees. You can cut it in half by turning around at the picturesque waterfall about 3 miles in. Beyond the falls the trail gets steeper the closer you get to Upper...
1805 N 30th St, Colorado Springs, CO 80904, USA
Garden of the Gods is a geologic wonderland on the west side of Colorado Springs at the foot of Pikes Peak. It's easily accessed from I-25, the main highway that runs along Colorado’s Front Range and connects Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Castle Rock,...
18300 W Alameda Pkwy, Morrison, CO 80465, USA
Just outside of downtown Denver, Red Rocks Amphitheater is the only naturally-occurring acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world. Since it first opened in 1941, it has been home to iconic music performances, from opera to rock. The stage is...
1280 Ute Ave, Aspen, CO 81611, USA
During WWII, hundreds of U.S. soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division trained in the mountains of Colorado to prepare for wintry battles in the Alps. It's hard to imagine how the soldiers developed a love for Colorado while sleeping in the snow...
Bear Lake Rd, Estes Park, CO 80517, USA
There is fall foliage. And then there's the Odessa–Fern Lake backpacking circuit in Rocky Mountain National Park in late September. Most years, this is the peak of Colorado's crispest, most spectacular, leaf-gasmic yellowness, and on this day, as...
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