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A Guide to Hiking the Colorado Trail

Colorado Trail Hiking: Thru-hikes

The Colorado Trail offers a rare, astounding challenge: a thru-hike, or a hike that goes through the entirety of the almost 500-mile (805-kilometer) trail in one fell swoop. Even if the terrain were steady and at low altitude, it would still be something to hike 586 miles (943.1 kilometers) in one go.

The best way to do the thru-hike is from the east, outside of Denver, to the west, ending in Durango, Colo. Why is this? The snow melts earlier the farther east you go, so as you travel, you literally leave the colder, snowier weather behind you. The terrain changes also prepare you naturally for adjusting to the high altitudes, starting with small elevation gains in the east, working up to steep and rugged terrain farther west.