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
The description may sound daunting: a 2,000-vertical-foot gain in less than a mile. OK, it is a little daunting—but the trick is to take your time. This nearly mile-long wooden stairway was converted from a funicular railway that washed...
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...
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 this...
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...
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,...
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...
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...
Twin Lakes, CO 81251, USA
The highest peak in the Rocky Mountains (and east of the Continental Divide) is also the second-highest peak in the lower 48 after Mount Whitney in California. The easiest way up is via the 5.5-mile South Elbert Trail, which climbs 4,600 feet from...
1398 Longs Peak Rd, Estes Park, CO 80517, USA
Colorado has more “fourteeners”—mountain peaks higher than 14,000 feet—than any other state (53, compared to No. 2, Alaska, with29). The northernmost of those Rocky Mountains giants is also one of the most popular, mostly since it’s so easy to see...
Sunshine Canyon Dr, Boulder, CO 80304, USA
Starting from where Mapleton Avenue transitions into Sunshine Canyon, this beautiful ridgeline trail runs 1.3 miles up the southern spine, gaining nearly 1,200 feet to the 6,800-foot summit of Mount Sanitas. This is a moderately difficult trail,...
Boulder, CO 80302, USA
Starting from the historic Chautauqua Park Ranger Station located on the southwest side of Boulder, the most direct route to this popular overlook and geologic feature is 1.6 miles with a nearly 1,300-foot vertical gain. Out of the parking lot the...
Bear Creek Falls Trail, Colorado 81426, USA
For a simple day hike suitable for the whole family, head to the end of South Pine Street in Telluride and jump onto the Bear Creek Trail, a 2.5-mile path that leads to a jaw-dropping waterfall. The popular trail is as easygoing as the Telluride...
6000 Co Rd 30, Lake City, CO 81235, USA
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