Top 5 Hiking Trails in Colorado
- Cathedral Lake
It’s only 5.6 miles round trip for this challenging out-and-back walk south of Aspen. The breathtaking vistas are also worth it no matter what time of year you hike. The trail ascends nearly 2,000 feet through Pine Creek Canyon’s alpine meadows, forests, and scree fields before arriving at an Instagram-worthy alpine lake.
- Lizard Head Peak
Lizard Head Peak is one of Colorado’s most difficult 13,000′ summits to summit because of its chossy, loose 400′ vertical tower, which demands 5.8-graded climbing on bad rock to reach its highest point. This trip, however, follows a well-maintained track that goes to the tower’s base and does not involve any climbing. The experience begins at Telluride, at the top of the paved Lizard Head Pass. Despite being a 7-mile out-and-back, the path starts off virtually level as it goes through alternating alpine meadows and patches of pine woodland.
- Pyramid Peak
In Aspen, Pyramid Peak (14,018′) is the most demanding day trek on our list. While most hikers attempt the Class 3, ropes and harnesses are not uncommon. On the other hand, the typical route will remain a tough but capable Class 3 with great navigation. The bulk of hikers begin their journey early in the morning, trekking up a steep headwall before going on a thrilling scramble to the top. The granite is significant for Elk Range terrain, especially when contrasted to the neighboring Maroon Bells. Mountain goats inhabit the region, and the granite is large for Elk Range terrain.
- Colorado Trail
Although the Breckenridge Ski Area is in the Tenmile Range, the Colorado Trail trailhead is in Copper Mountain’s overflow parking lot. The Colorado Trail rises through a leafy woodland for about 3 miles before emerging onto huge, open alpine meadows with excellent views of Copper Mountain to the west and Breckenridge to the east.
It’s easy to stray from the trail and walk up the gently rounded hills to the ridge between Peaks 6 and 5, where you can take in the views—especially the Gore Range to the west. This path is ideal for a more relaxed day with friends and dogs because it never gets too steep and the rewards are well worth the 7-mile round trip. Hikers can continue north or south along the ridge to see more summits or visit the Breck Ski slopes in the off-season.
- Royal Arch
Boulder is a short drive from Denver, and a vacation to Boulder isn’t complete without a stop at Chautauqua Park and Cultural Center, which opened in 1898. The trek to Royal Arch, which leads to an arched rock formation with views of Boulder’s iconic Flatirons, is a local favorite. The Royal Arch Trail is accessible by a multitude of trails that all begin at the Chautauqua Trailhead; however, the most direct route is 3.4 miles roundtrip and is rated intermediate.