Colorado is home to a number of incredible hikes, from easy, flat trails to challenging and invigorating treks. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, these five hikes below are perfect for you. Expect to hike uphill, face some rocky obstacles, and feel absolutely unstoppable once you reach the end of these five energizing hikes.
Let’s start out with a hike up to Colorado’s highest peak, Mount Elbert. At 14,440 feet, hiking up Mount Elbert comes with bragging rights. Now although this is Colorado’s highest peak to hike, it isn’t the most difficult. This moderate hike is nine miles round-trip on the standard route via the northeast ridge, which starts at North Mount Elbert Trailhead. Although it isn’t technically difficult, there is nearly 5,000 feet in elevation gain, so it’s an upward battle. Once you reach the top however, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world.
Rocky Mountain National Park is home to a number of incredible hikes. However the hike to Sky Pond is invigorating and scenic. If you’re hiking this during the summer time, keep in mind that parking here fills up fast, so you may have to take the shuttle to the trailhead—or arrive early to get a parking spot and enjoy a less crowded trail. Start at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead and then head up toward Loch Vale. Many people choose to stop at Loch Vale, but for a truly energizing view, head to Sky Pond. Past Loch Vale, you’ll climb up a small waterfall and come across Lake of Glass. Head higher to reach Sky Pond. This hike may be demanding but you will truly feel accomplished after reaching this gorgeous alpine lake.
This hike is up the second 14,000-foot mountain featured on this list. Referred to as a 14er, Mount Bierstadt is located off of Guanella Pass, making it accessible for those living or traveling from Denver. This seven-mile round-trip trek is one of the easier and shorter 14ers out of Colorado’s over 50 14,000-foot mountains. Start this trek at the Mount Bierstadt Trailhead. Now even though the trail to this 14er is well-marked and easier than other 14ers, it should not be taken lightly.
For a short yet challenging workout, head to the Manitou Incline in Colorado Springs. In one short mile, the hike brings you up 2,000 feet. There isn’t much to this extreme trail—it’s simply 2,000 stair steps. Manitou Incline used to be a route for a cable tram. Now however, it’s known as one of the most physically enduring hikes in the region.
Hiking this mountain to the peak can be startlingly challenging, luckily you will find that you don’t have to complete the 6.4-mile 12,625-foot high summit to find yourself unfathomable views of the mountain range. This prominent mountain is a fan favorite, attracting many each year. The round-trip hike takes approximately 5-6 hours (given that you will need a good amount of breaks). Other than its jarring views, what draws people in are the meadows of wildflowers. If you are ready for a true uphill battle worth taking, treat your eyes and soul to this fantastic loop just outside Crested Butte.