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Colorado Hiking & Trails

With thousands of miles of trails across its land, Colorado has long been a favorite of hikers. And, though many agree that the Rocky Mountain National Park affords the best scenery, the trails found in other regions have impressive well. Whether you prefer the solitude of nature and keeping your own company or thrive on meeting and talking to fellow hikers, Colorado has just the path for you.

No matter what your skill level be sure to come prepared for the Colorado conditions—always have at least 2 quarts of water per person, enough clothing for the weather changes, sunscreen (SPF 30 is recommended) and good map reading skills. One option is to carry a GPS device with you so you always know where you're at and have the confidence to do a little more.

The Colorado Trail is a 500 mile trek which runs from Denver to Durango. It travels through 7 national forest and 6 designated wilderness areas with its scenery changing from grassy plains to snow-capped mountains. To hike its entirety, plan to be on the trail for 6-8 weeks. However, most people prefer trips of a week or less. The Trail reaches a peak of 13,334 feet and has a grade of no more than 10%. One of the easiest parts of the trail is when you climb the top of Mount. Harvard.

For hiking and exploration for the whole family, head to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve (east of Mosca) where you will find 19,000 acres of shifting sands, incredible mountain flora and fauna and many other unique sights. There is an easy ˝ mile trail that is a perfect way to get acclimated before setting off on a hike to the peak of a 750 foot sand dune. And although the hike to the top is strenuous, the view is sensational.

For spectacular sights and sounds of nature, you don’t want to miss the relatively easy Neversink Tail and the moderately difficult Dillon Pinnacles Trail found in Gunnison. As you walk the 1 ˝ mile Neversink along the shores of the Gunnison River, you may see great blue herons, warblers, red wing black birds, great horned owls, and the occasional mule deer. The Dillon Pinnacle Trail, also open to horseback riding, has phenomenal views of the eroded volcano formations known as the Dillon Pinnacles.

Do you want to walk where the dinosaurs walked? Then head to La Junta for the Comanche National Grassland and the Picket Wire Canyonlands. You will see tracks believed to be from dinosaurs in the Sauropodmorppha and Theropoda families. The tracks can be reached from the 10.6 mile (round trip) Withers Canyon Trailhead. However, due to extreme heat (summer temperatures can exceed 100* F) it is recommended that you always carry plenty of water and watch for flash floods, biting insects and snakes.

The Rocky Mountain National Park has many trails of various levels of difficulty. The easy Alberta Falls Trail, only 160 feet above sea level, follows Glacier Creek to the beautiful cascades of the Alberta Falls. A more challenging trek is the Bierstadt Lake Trail which roams the aspen forest to Bierstadt and a great view of Long’s Peak. For more picturesque cascades, take the 2.7 mile Ouzel Falls Trail. If you prefer a moderately difficult hike, then head for 2.5 mile (one-way) Mills Lake Trail that leads up to a beautiful lake below the mountains. For a more strenuous hike, then head for 4.8 mile (one way) Timber Lake Trail or the 16 mile (roundtrip) East Longs Peak Trail.