If you visit Colorado, you have the chance to explore hundreds of trails throughout the state, with the most popular starting points as the national park hiking trails. With four parks to choose from, it is possible to find hiking levels that appeal to everyone. From easy family-oriented strolls to challenging climbs, the parks in Colorado have trails that attract visitors from around the nation. They come to enjoy the scenery as they hit the trails winding through the forests, mountains, rivers, sand dunes (yes sand dunes) and valleys that comprise the scenic landscape.
Mesa Verde National Park
The attraction of hiking in this park lies in its importance to early North American Native history. The park features many easy hikes of short duration. Some are guided tours such as the Petroglyph Loop Trail. Other prominent trails are:
- Prater Ridge Trail
- Knife Edge Trail
- Point Lookout Trail
The trails are not strenuous or lengthy; however, if you are not used to the high altitude, it can affect your stamina, making it more difficult.
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
If you love to trudge along the beach and kick sand, this park offers you the chance to do so. The draw is the Sand Dunes. Exploring them can be both draining and exhilarating. Alternatively, you can hike along a few forest trails including Montville Nature Trail and Mosca Pass Trail too.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Known as being the home of Black Canyon, this park features several types of trails. These range from moderate to strenuous. Popular hikes include:
- Rim Rock Nature Trail
- Oak Flat Loop Trail
- Deadhorse Trail
Check the park site for more information.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Of all the national parks in Colorado, this receives the most attention. It has the most hiking trails of all the national parks in this state. It also offers the widest range of national park hiking experiences. If you even glance at the internet, you will find many sites devoted to describing the hiking opportunities in great detail. They describe and discuss easy hikes like that to Emerald Lake, as well as the more difficult ones too. Popular hikes include the following easy-to-moderate hikes:
- Alberta Falls – A popular destination for visitors, these beautiful falls are an ideal hike for summer and fall
- Bear Lake – This is the most popular trail in the park, with the lake catching remarkable reflections of both Hallett Peak and Longs Peak
- Ute Trail – Has many panoramic views
- Tundra Communities Trail which passes through alpine tundra
- Big Meadows – A gentle and pleasant hike with wildflowers during the warmer months and the chance to catch a glimpse of park wildlife
National Park Hiking Trails
For those who love hiking, Colorado National Parks offer plenty of choices. For those who wish to explore and test their skills, the most challenging and varied options in national park hiking trails lies in the largest park in the state, Rocky Mountain National Park, just outside of Grand Lake.
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