Colorado Mountains are a hiking dream. With so many trails and amazing mountains in Colorado, it’s hard to choose which trails to suggest not to miss! Having hiked so many trails yet have so many more to do, it’s an endless adventure.

My goal is to share with you, get you close to nature, and get you excited about hiking. You might just become an avid hiker after doing these trails, they are guaranteed addicting! 


Note: Many of the links are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission (at no added cost to you).

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McCullough Gulch Trail

McCullough Gulch Hike is a popular sought after trail that I’ve hiked in every season many times and have never been disappointed! A bit on the strenuous side of moderate but so worth the effort. There is nothing lacking on this trek, it’s an alpine playground sitting alongside Quandary Peak 14erYou’ll find an old miner’s cabin, a stunning waterfall, a gorgeous alpine lake, and log water crossings. 

2.7 miles out and back from trailhead + a half mile trek to the Trailhead making it 3.7 miles.

Rated: moderate, consider it’s an uphill trek with lots of rocks and steep areas at high altitude.

Start Elevation: 11,100 ft. Elevation gain: 1,578 ft.

2 portable restrooms at the overflow parking lot for Quandary Peak

Located on Hoosier Pass

Highly popular trail, can become very crowded, limited close parking.

Dog friendly

Popular for snowshoeing: Contact Dillon Park Ranger District for Trail conditions. 

Nearest town: Breckenridge, CO

White River National Forest

Dispersed Camping permitted

NOTE: The road to the trailhead may be gated for weather issues in winter.


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Ptarmigan Lake Trail

Want to start hiking in Colorado and end up above timberline at an alpine lake surrounded by views of 13ers & 14ers? Ptarmigan Lake Trail is it! The trail climbs up a steady moderate incline with enough areas that leveled off to take any needed rest or catch your breath.  We were smitten from start to finish on this hike because it was like being on the top of the world. 

Rated: moderate

6.2 miles out and back

Trail #1444

Elevation start: 10,680 ft.

Elevation end: 12,300 ft.

Located on Cottonwood Pass

Outhouse at trailhead

Dog friendly

Chaffee County

San Isabel National Forest

Nearest town: Buena Vista

These are trails you want to be prepared for with appropriate hiking gear. Please check out “What’s in Your Day Pack” for a list of items to consider anytime hiking. Then download a free checklist.




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Herman Gulch Trail

A moderately challenging hike through thick alpine forests and open meadows before reaching spectacular alpine tundra above treeline which soon leads to Herman Lake and spectacular views of the Continental Divide. I love this trail and so do lots of others. Extremely popular and crowded in the summer months. Tip: go in October before the big snows and be rewarded with clear skies and no hikers!

6.3 miles out and back

Trail #98

Elevation gain: 1,755ft.

Herman Lake sits at 11,987 ft. 

Rated: moderate

2 portable potties at the Trailhead

Popular Colorado Wildflower hike in summer

Leashed dogs allowed

Dispersed camping

Arapahoe National Forest – for camping information

Clear Creek Ranger District – for trail conditions

Nearest Towns East on I-70, Georgetown and Idaho Springs

Nearest Town West on I-70, Silverthorne (Summit County)

The trail is a part of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT)


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Browns Creek Falls & Browns Lake

Browns Lake Trail was a complete surprise! Our day hike destination was at first to Browns Creek Falls (a sensational roaring waterfall) but the itch to see Browns Lake was too much and after hanging around the waterfall we keep going. Now the trail gets much more intense and our day hike became quite the adventure. Browns Lake nestled beneath Jones Peak and Mount White is breathtaking and memorable.

6.2 miles out and back to Browns Creek Falls

Trail #1429

Rated: easy to moderate

12 miles out and back to Browns Lake

Rated: moderate to strenuous

Open to Dogs and horses

Salida Ranger District – (719) 539-3591

Nearest Towns: Salida, CO and Buena Vista, CO

San Isabel National Forest



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Blue Lakes Trail

There is nothing like a hike in the rugged beauty of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. Hiking Blue Lakes Trail was above and beyond our expectations. Looking for a trail that won’t disappoint? This is it! Having hiked mostly moderate trails previously, I was hesitant when seeing it was rated “strenuous”. It proved a bit challenging, especially past the first lake, but I found it exhilarating instead of hard and you will too! 

Trail # 201

Rated: Strenuous

6.3 miles (first lake) – 11 miles out and back 

Start elevation: At trailhead, 9350 ft.

Elevation: Upper Lake, 11,720 ft.

Elevation: Blue Lakes Pass: roughly 13,000 ft.

Closest Towns: RidgwayOuray

Mt. Sneffels Wilderness

Uncompahgre National Forest

NOTE: If new to Colorado or visiting the area please take into consideration the altitude of each of these hikes. Altitude sickness is real so try to acclimate a few days doing short hikes at a lower altitude.

Happy trails ahead for you!

Note: Many of the links are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission (at no added cost to you).