With 53 14,000 foot peaks, as well as a few thousand lower peaks, Colorado is one of the best hiking destinations in the United States. On a Colorado hiking trip, you can experience trails with elevations that range from as low as 3,337 feet, to as high as 14, 433 feet. Even in the urban environments of Denver and Boulder, you are always in close proximity to some exciting Colorado hiking trails. In fact, many people who visit Colorado from sea level locations spend a few days hiking these trails in order to acclimate to the high altitude. Hiking Colorado can be a great experience, as long as you adhere to a few safety precautions.
Keep in mind that for every thousand feet of elevation that is gained along the Colorado hiking trails, the temperature will drop 5.5 degrees. Additionally, ultraviolet radiation increases about 26 percent at elevations between 5,000 feet and 14,000 feet. With this in mind, when you plan your Colorado hiking trip, be sure to pack for all types of weather conditions, and make sure that you bring plenty of sunscreen. Hydration is also crucial at the high altitude Colorado hiking trails. When you head out on your hike, be sure to bring plenty of water. A compass or a GPS will also come in handy.
Anyone planning to go Colorado hiking in the backcountry should consider purchasing the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) card. CORSAR Cards can be purchased for $3.00 at many local vendors, or by calling the Department of Local Affairs at (970) 248-7310. Purchasing the card provides funding for the volunteers who conduct search and rescue missions throughout all of Colorado's backcountry.
Now that you are aware of the safety precautions for hiking Colorado, you probably would like to know where to find the best hiking trails in Colorado. The possibilities are endless, depending on your interests. For example, bird watchers looking for easy but long Colorado hiking trails will enjoy the nine mile loop around Barr Lake, which is a popular stopover for migratory birds. Barr Lake is situated on the plains northeast of Denver. If your interests lie in Colorado's Native American heritage, you will find that Picture Canyon is one of the most interesting hiking trails in Colorado. The four-mile round trip loop features an interesting variety of Native American petroglyphs and pictographs.
Once you have acclimated to the altitude, you will definitely want to visit the Colorado hiking trails in Summit County. Luckily for the modern day hiker, the gold seekers of the 1800s formed mountain trails as they hiked across the high passes of Summit County. The ghost towns, gold camps and mining relics of days past can still be seen along the trails. As you hike through nature, you are also hiking through history. Your senses will be treated to alpine lakes, waterfalls and wildflower meadows as you climb towards the jagged peaks that pierce the Colorado sky.
The first cry of "Gold!" was heard along the Continental Divide on August 10th, 1859. As a result, Breckenridge, Colorado's first Western Slope town was formed. For beautiful scenery and interesting history, hike the 1.2 mile Blue Lakes Monte Cristo or the 10 mile Wheeler National Recreation Trail.
In 1879, two narrow gauge railways ran through Frisco to service the silver mines. If you follow the Denver-South Park route along the bike path to the Mount Royal trail, you can see the ghost town, Masontown. For more of a challenge, take the 4.5 mile Meadow Creek trail where views of the Gore Range and fields of alpine wildflowers await you.
Copper Mountain Hikes
In 1880, Judge John S. Wheeler founded the Town of Copper Mountain. If you take the 2.8 mile hike to Wheeler Lake, you can view the glacier carved Clinton Amphitheater. In late June, you can snack on wild strawberries.
Views of Lake Dillon can be seen throughout this area. Take an easy, 1.25 mile trek up Tenderfoot Mountain for a nature trail through the changing ecosystems.
Diverse terrain and high peaks make hiking in Colorado an experience that will be forever cherished in your most exciting memories.