I can’t believe I have lived in Colorado for almost three years now. And we will just ignore that little three year stint I did right out of college… different time, different me, less motivated to explore back then.
(And if you wonder where that prison lingo is coming from, yes I HAVE been binge-watching Season Two of Orange is the New Black. Only one episode to go…)
Two weekends ago, I went for my first hike of the season with my friend L.
We managed to catch the sunshine and warmth before the Apocalypse rolled in around noon. Nothing like an early morning trek to the top of a fire lookout (Devil’s Head Fire Lookout) to make you appreciative of this beautiful state.
Last weekend, we checked out a lovely 8 mile loop in Golden Gate Canyon. Certainly worthwhile.
These hikes have certainly got me motivated to get some more under my belt this summer. I can’t believe I haven’t done a lot of these hikes already, but hopefully this list will serve as motivation to get out there to some new, beautiful spots.
Without further ado, here are the top 5 Colorado hikes I want to go to, ASAP:
1. Hanging Lake, Glenwood Springs
Hardly a secret hike, but number one on my list anyways. This incredible beautiful place in the Glenwood Canyon cliffs includes a beutiful waterfall crashing into a clear turquoise lake. It may only be about a mile long hike, but it is mostly uphill and rocky, with many little footbridges crossing back and forth across the creek.
There isn’t any fishing of the native trout who call this beautiful lake home allowed. No dogs allowed on this hike either, fyi.
2. Sky Pond (Glacier Gorge), Rocky Mountain National Park
This is a great, if challenging, hike that can range from under two miles to a full nine mile trek, depending on your motivation and energy. Multiple waterfalls and lakes dot this trail including Alberta Falls (0.8 miles), Mills Lake (2.8 miles), The Loch (3 miles), Timberline Falls (4 miles), Glass Lake (4.15 miles) and finally Sky Pond (4.5 miles in).
The unique “U” shape of the canyon was caused by glacier carving over millions of years. Go geology!
3. Venable Lake / Comanche Lake Trail, Westcliffe
About three hours south of Denver is all day (9 hour) loop trail that includes it all. Over the 12 mile hike you can check out three thirteeners, (Spring Mountain, Comanche Peak, Venable Peak) two fourteeners, (Kit Carson Peak and Challenger Point) multiple lakes, old cabins and some incredible views of the valley below. Locals suggest taking the Venable Trail up since Comanche Trail has a steep and intimidating uphill start.
If the whole loop is too much for you, each trail can be done individually as a lovely 4 mile out-and-back trek.
4. Stanley Canyon, Colorado Springs
A half day, four mile round-trip trek on the front range of the Rocky Mountains takes you from the Air Force Academy up through incredible rock formations and canyon walls. The first half is a challenging uphill, gaining 1,200 feet, but then it levels out. The second half of the trail continues on alongside a stream thought pine forests and meadows of aspens, all the way to a reservoir.
There are great views to be had of the Air Force Academy and Colorado Springs itself. Either check these out as rest-excuses on the hike up, or as a reward on the way down. And if you are the fishing type, try catching some of the rainbow trout living in the small but pretty reservoir.
5. Blue Lake, Roosevelt National Forest
So there are apparently a bunch of different “Blue Lakes” in Colorado. This 5 mile hike is about a two hour drive from Denver in the Roosevelt National Forest. Along the not to difficult but rocky trek, you will pass Mitchell Lake, small streams, ponds, and meadows of wildflowers.
You can enjoy views of a not quite thirteener (Mt. Toll) and two just-thirteeners (Mt Audubon and Pauite Peak) behind Blue Lake. Certainly Instagram worthy.
I’m sure there are tons that I have missed that are also must-dos. You also may have noticed my trend of ending up at water or going by water.
What can I say? I’m a water girl living in a land-locked state, just trying to find my way through.
Bonus Hikes that also look neat:
(And yes, they have water too.)
So it seems like high time to strap on those hiking boots, grab my trekking poles (yes, I am one of those types of hikers) and get out into the semi-wilderness.
Who is with me?
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Need more pretty travel pics and ideas? Previous “I Want to Go To There” Posts: