Colorado is home to some of the best hiking the U.S. has to offer. Once people visiting from lower elevations become acclimated to the decrease in oxygen, an array of hikes await. From beginners to skilled hikers, this area of the country has an abundance of trails to explore.
Hanging Lake is located in Glenwood Canyon, east of Glenwood Springs and is a hot spot for tourists because of the beautiful view when you reach the top. The property was private until 1910 when it was purchased by Glenwood Springs, becoming a resort and cafe until the construction of a nearby interstate began. The Forest Service gained control of the land again in 1971 and it is now considered part of the White River National Forest. The trail to Hanging Lake follows a tributary of the Colorado River called Dead Horse Creek, which gets its name from the story of a man finding a dead horse at the opening of a gulch that he then followed to discover the back of Hanging Lake.
Mohawk Lake is a seven-mile long hike located south of Breckenridge in Summit County and is rated as an intermediate level hike by the Summit County Explorer. This trail truly represents the area and is a great choice if this is an event involving the whole family, with plenty to see along the way. You will pass by a cabin that is a remnant of the 1880 mining settlement, waterfalls, and do some beginner’s climbing, but the real reward is when you reach the upper lake. Walking up the trail, you can begin to see the water that resembles an infinity pool. The large rocks around the edges of the lake are perfect resting places to enjoy the view and look down into the water.
Mount Elbert is the tallest peak in the Rocky Mountains, the second tallest in the United States and the highest fourteener in Colorado. Located in Lake County, southwest of Leadville, it is part of the Sawatch Range. Hikers can choose one of three main trails to take when traveling up the mountain, the most popular of which is the 4.6-mile long North Elbert Trail. A somewhat easier alternative is South Elbert Trail, which is 5.5 miles long. Lastly, Black Cloud Trail is by far the most challenging and is a Class 2 climb, taking anywhere from 10 to 14 hours to climb in total. Several other trail options exist, but these three are by far the most traveled.
Mount Evans offers a great alternative hike because it is the tallest paved road in North America, giving hikers the option of quickly reaching the top for a beautiful view. It’s located in Clear Creek County and is part of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The final construction of the 14-mile long road was completed in 1927. When you reach the end of the pavement, either by foot or car, another quarter-mile is left before reaching the very top.
The Maroon Bells
The Maroon Bells, comprised of Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak, are part of the Elk Mountains between Pitkin and Gunnison counties. This view is known to be the most photographed landscape in Colorado, so a beautiful hike is almost a sure thing. This hike is known to be a little more dangerous than those previously mentioned, as the mountains are made from metamorphic sedimentary mudstone rather than granite and limestone, as seen in The Rockies.