A Guide to Hiking the Colorado Trail

Colorado Trail Hiking: Insider Tips

No matter where (or how) you travel on the Colorado Trails, be prepared before you go.
No matter where (or how) you travel on the Colorado Trails, be prepared before you go.
David Epperson/Photodisc/Getty Images

Even a day hike on the Colorado Trail is high-level hiking, and extra precautions and information are going to get you through. Fortunately, more bridges and markings are added every summer. Research your trail section before you go, paying special attention to the elevation. Individual trails have elevation gains ranging from 1,040 to 4,520 feet (317 to 1,378 meters), so choose appropriately. The hikes may take you to remote and snowy mountainous areas, so don't hike alone if you don't have to.

Regardless, always file a hiking plan with friends or family, so somebody back home knows where you are if the worst happens. Take a cell phone to call for help, but be advised that service is not consistent along the Colorado Trail. (However, they do work better in high, open areas, such as on the peaks of passes or ridges.) Wear wool or synthetic clothes (and multiple layers of it), as cotton doesn't insulate if it's wet. And as with any trek, pack extra clothing, food, and water, just in case. And when in doubt, there's always more information available at local ranger stations.

There's also more information on hiking trails below, so head over there if you're ready for the journey.

Related Articles


  • Colorado Mountain Club. "The Colorado Trail Databook, 4th Edition." Colorado Mountain Club Press. 2009. (June 4, 2012)
  • Colorado Tourism Office. "Hiking the Colorado Trail." 2012. (June 4, 2012) http://www.colorado.com/articles/hiking-colorado-trail
  • Colorado Trail Foundation. "The Colorado Trail: The Colorado Mountain Club Guidebook, 8th Edition." Colorado Mountain Club Press. 2010. (June 4, 2012)
  • Colorado Trail Foundation. "Frequently Asked Questions about The Colorado Trail." 2012. (June 4, 2012) http://www.coloradotrail.org/faq.html
  • Colorado Trail Foundation. "Hiking and Backpacking the Colorado Trail." 2012. (June 4, 2012) http://www.coloradotrail.org/hike.html
  • Colorado State Parks. "Trails Program." 2012. (June 4, 2012) http://www.parks.state.co.us/trails/Pages/TrailsProgramHome.aspx
  • Dzieysnki, James. "Big Trip: The Colorado Trail." Elevation Outdoors. 2 March 2012. (June 4, 2012) http://www.elevationoutdoors.com/travel/big-trip-the-colorado-trail/
  • Wagstaff, Keith. "How to Prevent Altitude Sickness." USA Today. 2010. (June 4, 2012) http://traveltips.usatoday.com/prevent-altitude-sickness-1535.html