Sun protection. As you near the Animas River, listen carefully for the shrill whistles from the trains navigating the narrow gauge railway that connects the old mining towns of Silverton and Durango. The Colorado Trail ("CT") was first conceived by Forest Service ranger Bill Lucas in 1973, organized by Gudy Gaskill, and officially completed in 1987. Hikers have the option of traveling the Colorado Trail starting in either either Denver or Durango. Hikers looking for a social experience, like the Appalachian Trail provides, might be disappointed. Workers pounded in “golden spikes” at Molas Pass, Camp Hale, and Mt. Hikers on the CT get their water from mountain streams. The time frame to hike the Colorado Trail is narrow because of the deep snowpack and high chance of snow in the Rocky Mountains in the shoulder seasons. a) Snow: As mentioned, large amounts of snowfall can be extremely dangerous on the CT. Length 18 miElevation gain 2795 ftRoute type Point to point Waterton Canyon Trail is a 12.4-mile, out-and-back trail that follows the South Platte River to the Strontia Springs Dam near Littleton, Colorado. Some hikers will hang their bag, but only at lower elevations where there are ample trees. Some popular towns where thru-hikers usually resupply: The Colorado Trail is well marked and relatively easy to follow. Here are a few places to get information to make your navigation easier: The Colorado Trail Foundation has a guidebook, a databook, and topo maps for you to chose from. However, ending in Denver makes it easier to travel home, and later in the season, hikers can extend the good weather longer by traveling northeast. Marmots and other rodents are often more troublesome than bears. If you’re a reasonably experienced hiker, expect to spend between four and six weeks traveling between Denver and Durango. This post may contain affiliate links. You'll also want to pack a hydration system that can hold ample water as sun exposure can make you dehydrated very quickly. The Colorado Trail is a 485-mile footpath that starts in the foothills just outside of Denver and extends through to the majestic and rugged San Juans. Resupplying food and gear on the Colorado trail is more similar to the PCT than the AT. The Colorado Trail Guide Book, 9th ed. It’s a must-stop for a zero day. Users traveling end to end encounter the high mountain lakes and towering peaks of six wilderness areas and eight … The trail passes Jarosa Mesa, the highest point on the Colorado Trail (13,271) near Coney Summit and then enters the remote Weminuche Wilderness. If you are planning to hike the entire 484 mile trail from Denver to Durango, this list includes everything I think you’ll need for hiking in the Rockies during the typical hiking season (late Spring – early Fall.) However, in one particular section, there is a fork in the trail that gives you the option to take the eastern or western route through the Collegiate Peaks. San Luis Peak is only 1.5 miles from the top of San Luis Pass, making it another easy offshoot. These smaller mammals are likely to get into your food or chew through your pack. Alternative Northeastern terminus points include Indian Creek Trailhead or Roxborough State Park. Before you begin your descent down into Durango, you must first cross Indian Trail ridge, an open and exposed ridge that, much like most of Colorado,  is known for its afternoon thunderstorms. Most of the Colorado Trail is a single route. Take a moment to take a photo by the trailhead sign. 41 Backpacking Food Ideas from the Appalachian Trail, Ultralight Backpacking Gear List | 8.5 lb Base Weight (Full Comfort), 14 Best Ultralight Backpacking Tents in 2020, 14 Best Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Bags for 2020, Waterton Canyon Trailhead to South Platte River Trailhead, South Platte River Trailhead to Little Scraggy Trailhead, Little Scraggy Trailhead to FS-560 (Wellington Lake Road) Trailhead, FS-560 (Wellington Lake Road) Trailhead to Long Gulch, Copper Mountain to Tennessee Pass Trailhead, Tennessee Pass Trailhead to Timberline Lake Trailhead, Timberline Lake Trailhead to Mount Massive Trailhead, Mount Massive Trailhead to Clear Creek Road, Clear Creek Road to Silver Creek Trailhead, Silver Creek Trailhead to Chalk Creek Trailhead, Saguache Park Road to Eddiesville Trailhead, San Luis Pass to Spring Creek Pass Trailhead, Spring Creek Pass Trailhead to Carson Saddle, Kennebec Trailhead to Junction Creek Trailhead, Twin Lakes (near the middle of Section 11) to Sheep Gulch, Cottonwood Pass Trailhead to Tincup Pass Road, Boss Lake Trailhead to Ridge Above South Fooses Creek (rejoins near the middle of Section 15). Don’t forget sunglasses! Option 1: East to West (Denver to Durango). The Denver side is logistically easier to get to than Durango. This might be the more favorable option as well if you need to start your hike later in the season - you end in the lower and warmer elevations surrounding Denver. In between those two points are sweeping views, gorgeous wildflowers and an experience in the mountains you will not forget. Cell phone reception will be limited and unreliable. This can require a fair amount of planning for longer stretches of more remote trail. The relentless ups and downs continue in this portion of the Colorado trail but you won’t care. In exchange for referring sales, we may receive a small commission through affiliate links. An interactive map of the Colorado Trail complete with a guide to plan your thru-hike. The Colorado Trail is packed with gorgeous vistas. The high elevation combined with colder months can lead to extremely dangerous hiking conditions. Pack some sturdy rain gear and a map so you can find an exit route if you need to get below treeline quickly. The trail winds through nearly 500 miles of the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains drawing hikers from around the world and is open to hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. While mountain bikes aren’t allowed in the Colorado Trail’s wilderness areas, a series of detours from the official route make a Denver to Durango ride possible. Wilderness areas may also impose their own rules on dogs; the Colorado Trail Foundation recommends that hikers check with the National Forest and District offices that manage the areas where they’ll be traveling. Dogs are allowed along most of the Colorado Trail, with some exceptions. Most of the trail lies above 3,000 m or 10,000 feet. As you end this section, you will encounter Marshall pass, a 668 foot climb in a half mile that is considered to be the “steepest portion” of the Colorado Trail. Which Direction Should I Hike the Colorado Trail? Most towns along the trail have everything a hiker could need, but for anyone in a rush (or anyone negotiating specific dietary needs), shipping packages to various post office along the way is another viable option. The trail alternates between open meadows and lush forests that are teeming with wildflowers and wildlife. It traverses six wilderness areas and eight mountain ranges with an average elevation of 10,347 feet. These require a reservation and often have a wait list though. With the trail’s high elevation, hikers can burn in a matter of minutes. Overall the average trip length reported in the survey was 33 days. Princeton to symbolize the completion of the trail in September of 1987. The trail is maintained by the Colorado Trail Foundation which organizes groups of volunteers to work on the trail. © 2020 Pocket Outdoor Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. All you will be thinking about are the breathtaking views of the expansive surroundings. The Colorado Trail is divided into 33 segments which includes a choice of two routes in the middle, Collegiate East and Collegiate West. Known for higher elevation and significantly more epic and above-treeline scenic views. This is a great way to hike the whole trail, one day at a time. However, only about 150 people of these completely thru hike it every year. Black bears are known to roam the backcountry, but they are not commonly seen on the trail. Added to the CT in 2012, Collegiate West is a must-hike section that takes hikers through the higher peaks and exposed ridges of the Collegiate Peaks. Awesome viewpoint. I finished the trail in 37 days, taking three “zero days.” Day 1 – Waterton Canyon to the South Platte River – Segment 1 She can be found on New Hampshire and Maine trails, leading group backpacking trips, trail running or alpine skiing.About Greenbelly: After thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Chris Cage created Greenbelly to provide fast, filling and balanced meals to backpackers. If you are stuck on ridge, then get into the lightning position by crouching down on the balls of your feet, putting your head down towards your legs and covering your ears with your hands. This 486-mile route—from Denver to Durango—averages 10,000 feet high and tracks through the country’s densest clutch of 12,000-foot (and taller) peaks. Traveling through 6 wilderness areas and 8 mountain ranges, the trail offers the full spectrum of Colorado lakes, peaks, creeks, and ecosystem diversity. If a few days of wandering through nature doesn’t quite cut it for you head for the Colorado Trail. This might be good or bad depending on your preference. See more on Collegiate West route. Because of this, most hikers use bear canisters and/ or scent-proof bags to store their food. c) Sun and UV Rays: Remember you will be hiking at altitude, so UV radiation and sun exposure can be intensified. The Colorado Trail is nearly 500 miles of awe-inspiring terrain through the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Otherwise, you can usually expect to encounter a water source at least once every day. There are only a few places where the Colorado Trail comes near a road whereby a support vehicle can get in. Thankfully, with each “up”, hikers are treated with glorious views. The longest dry stretch on the trail is on Segments 17-19, where hikers can go as far as 40 miles encountering little or no water. How Long Does it Take to Thru-Hike the Colorado Trail from Start to Finish? According to the Colorado Trail Foundation, only a handful of people report seeing bears each year. The Colorado Trail ("CT") was first conceived by Forest Service ranger Bill Lucas in 1973, organized by Gudy Gaskill, and officially completed in 1987. If you’re heading to the Colorado Trail for a quick day adventure, you can pick from 28 different drop-off spots along the trail. It is a long-distance trail stretching for 782 km (486 miles) from Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver to Durango. The trail starts in a dry and dusty section where there is little water and ends with abundant water in the Cochetopa River watershed. Sometimes signage can disappear or cairns can crumble from rough weather, which can make it possible to get lost. This end point of the colorado trail is in my backyard! Colorado has 58 of these “Fourteeners,” many of which sit in the mountain ranges that the trail winds through. Overall, hiking the Colorado Trail is a means of solitude, peace and beauty. This seem to serve as more of a safety precaution than anything else. This section of the trail also is not as steep allowing hikers to break in their legs before they hit the higher elevations in the west. Basically a level shaded trail for all ages,following the creek most of the way. Some towns like Breckenridge and Salida have shuttles and affordable lodging while others only have small convenience stores. The Colorado Trail Foundation states that the average thru hike typically takes 4-6 weeks so 33 days falls almost squarely in the middle of that range. According to the Colorado Trail Foundation, there are thousands of people who hike, bike or horseback parts of the path every year. Thru hikers tents most night in flat spots that have already been established and used previously for camping. For those reasons, most hike the trail over the summer, taking advantage of longer daylight hours, warmer temperatures, and readily-available water. The trail also skirts around two of Colorado’s tallest peaks, Mount Massive and Mount Elbert which you can summit on side trails. The 14,000 foot peaks that surround the Colorado Trail are irresistable objectives for many hikers, and once you’ve seen them, it’s easy to understand why. In general, a permit is not necessary to hike the Colorado Trail and there are no quotas. our list of the best gear for hiking the Continental Divide Trail. Pedal enthusiasts can hop off the official route for a serious of detours that make the Denver to Durango ride possible. The original eastern option skirts the edge of the range, staying lower and closer to civilization. At the bridge crossing it is uphill switchbacks til you summit at Gudys bench. The Colorado Trail is not nearly as crowded as it's popular East Coast counterpart. A relative newcomer to the nation’s long trail repertoire, the Colorado Trail came into being in the 1970s and 80s as a cooperative project between the US Forest Service and the Colorado Mountain Trails Association. He ran between 54 and 89 miles a day. The San Juans are also a more scenic way to finish than by coming through Waterton Canyon outside Denver. Water resupply points are usually plentiful on the CT with only a few long dry stretches - notably the Cochetopa Valley and the Indian Trail Ridge. Highest Elevation: 13,271 feet; Jarosa Mesa just below Coney Summit, Lowest Elevation: 5,520 feet; Waterton Canyon terminus in Denver. There are a few huts that are part of the 10th Mountain Division Hut System. Much of this, however, depends on the previous winter, and getting a lucky weather window will always be part of the long trail experience. We break down the prep, practice, and travel you'll need to bag it. Start and End Point: Northeastern terminus is Waterton Canyon State Park outside of Denver and the southwestern terminus is Durango, CO just past Indian Trail Ridge. Most thru-hikers start no earlier than late June (preferably July 1st) and finish no later than the end of September (preferably September 15). The entire trail, from Denver to Durango, covers 486 miles over the breathtaking Colorado Rocky Mountains. Just personal preference. Waterton Canyon Trailhead to South Platte River Trailhead, South Platte River Trailhead to Little Scraggy Trailhead, Little Scraggy Trailhead to FS-560 (Wellington Lake Road) Trailhead, FS-560 (Wellington Lake Road) Trailhead to Long Gulch, Copper Mountain to Tennessee Pass Trailhead, Tennessee Pass Trailhead to Timberline Lake Trailhead, Timberline Lake Trailhead to Mount Massive Trailhead, Mount Massive Trailhead to Clear Creek Road, Clear Creek Road to Silver Creek Trailhead, Silver Creek Trailhead to Chalk Creek Trailhead, Saguache Park Road to Eddiesville Trailhead, San Luis Pass to Spring Creek Pass Trailhead, Spring Creek Pass Trailhead to Carson Saddle, Kennebec Trailhead to Junction Creek Trailhead, Twin Lakes (near the middle of Section 11) to Sheep Gulch, Cottonwood Pass Trailhead to Tincup Pass Road, Boss LakeTrailhead to Ridge Above South Fooses Creek (rejoins near the middle of Section 15). If you go east, expect a nice forest walk through groves of pine and aspen and the occasional road walk. This first section of the trail extends from Denver to Kenosha Pass through the South Platte rivershed and Long Gulch, a six-mile meadow filled with wildflowers, abundant water and animal life. Snow fed lakes and streams provide ample water. Ultrarunner Bryan Williams set the current Fastest Known Time for the Colorado Trail in 2017, finishing the route in eight days and 30 minutes with the help of a support crew. A lightweight puffy for cold alpine nights, A wind shirt or breathable, light shell to protect you from the breeze when it’s warm out, Jefferson/Fairplay (72 trail miles from Denver), Silverton (410 miles, and 75 from Durango). Hike into the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness and you'll enjoy Colorado's best summer school. There are a few campgrounds - some free and some for charge. Others will take on the route later, closer to the fall, to take advantage of smaller crowds, less lightning danger, cooler weather, and fluorescent aspen trees and other fall foliage. How to beat the crowds and find solitude in the Rockies. Hiking the Colorado Trail allows a person to get away from the rat race and get into the backcountry Affiliate disclosure: We aim to provide honest information to our readers. Colorado Trail: Segment 1 is a 18 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Littleton, Colorado that features a river and is rated as difficult. The Colorado backcountry is teeming with animals including marmots, deer, elk, bighorn sheep, and several types of birds. Hikers hit the trail in Colorado amid fields of wildflowers (The CT Bible, don’t leave home without it! Get ready for some thigh-busting ascents and high altitude exposure as the trail climbs through two passes. Colorado Trail Segment 5 is by far the most pretty of the first 5 segments while working through 14.6 miles of hiking and 1,858 feet of elevation gain. Mount Elbert (Colorado’s high point) and Mount Massive (number two behind Elbert) are both near the Leadville/Twin Lakes area, and are only side hikes from the CT, making them both popular detours, separate or together. 4.0 This trail journal documents my solo thru-hike of The Colorado Trail in August of 2010. Here you will climb to the top of San Luis Peak (14,014 feet)  in the La Garita wilderness and pass by the town of Creede, considered by many to be the best resupply town on the entire trail. Collegiate East Route Option: The original 78 mile route. Once past Marshall Pass and onto Sargents Mesa, the trail really starts to feel isolated. Slightly lower elevation and slightly shorter in length. The Colorado Trail Databook, 7th ed. At higher elevations, bear bagging is not possible. Find your hike on the country's highest footpath. The trail winds through nearly 500 miles of the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains drawing hikers from around the world and is open to hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. The Collegiates East option is preferable for anyone who wants to do less climbing (the western route has over 2,000 feet more of it, and its average elevation is much higher), anyone who cares less for exposure, and when the weather is questionable. You will only see the support vehicles while in camp. Nothing more. The Colorado Trail is a traditional American cowboy song, collected and published in 1927 by Carl Sandburg in his American Songbag. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. The 539-mile bike route can take riders anywhere from between 8 and 18 days—far quicker than the boot-sole method. Here are a few more recommended resources to help you get started planning your CT hike. Wahoo! The newer Collegiates West option follows sections of the Continental Divide Trail, diving deep into the mountains for a more scenic, rugged, and remote hike. We interviewed last year’s crop of thru-hikers (plus Colorado Trail Foundation staff) to find the most spectacular sections. It’s suggested to allot 4 to 6 weeks for your trek, which will give you time to explore more if you finish up early. I want to be strong for that. For 485 miles between Denver and Durango, the Colorado Trail (CT) winds over rocky, 13,000-foot peaks and passes, through wildflower-filled meadows, in and out of dusty mining towns, and past snow-clad vistas as it draws a line through Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Day hiking the Colorado Trail. A trail video of my 31 day journey across the 485 miles of the Colorado Trail Trail Summary: The Colorado Trail is a 485 mile hike that starts near Denver and ends in Durango, Colorado. ELEVATION: average ~10,300 feet ROUTE: well maintained, popular trail, signed junctions GUIDEBOOK: Colorado Trail 9th Edition DATA BOOK: 7th Edition Starting in Segment 6, the Continental Divide Trail joins the Colorado Trail for the next 253 miles. It would be incredibly difficult to carry a full month’s worth of food at a time, so resupplies along the route are vital, allowing you to carry just enough food for a few days at a time before getting off the trail and heading in to town to pick up more. With a few exceptions, sources are usually easy to find. Get epic tips, guides and how-to's in your inbox every two weeks. The Colorado Trail, one of the nation's premier long-distance hiking trails, spans 500 miles from Denver to Durango, and it's arguably one of Colorado's greatest outdoor recreation and education achievements. When you enter this part of the trail, you must decide if you are going to take the traditional east collegiate route or the new west collegiate route. New waterproof 7th edition coming out in 2018) The Colorado Trail Map Book by Jerry Brown; The Colorado Trail app by Guthook Guides. I started on August 1st in Denver and finished in Durango on September 6th. This comes at no extra cost to you. Chris also wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail. Hitchhiking can be difficult because of the long distances between the towns and trail. Thankfully, locals all along the route are familiar and used to lending a hand to thru-hikers. Other than in Waterton Canyon, there are no restrictions on camping (of course, Leave No Trace principles apply). The Colorado Trail, Durango: Address, Phone Number, The Colorado Trail Reviews: 5/5 Here is an example of a complete thru-hiking gear list for the Colorado Trail. The trail is more difficult and the elevation higher in the San Juan Mountains around Durango than it is at the relatively mild start closer to Denver, so most choose to head southwest, easing into the difficulty. However, finishing in Denver does make it easier to travel home when you are done. Hikers traveling the full length of the trail from Denver to Durango will climb a cumulative 89,354 feet. Cows, cowboy ranches and wide open views. Most hikers take advantage of the warm temperatures and longer days to hike in the summer, though some prefer a later start that avoids the frequent summer thunderstorms and crowds. This number represents total reported trip length including both rest days and hiking days. Circle the Rockies on this high-alpine route. Pack plenty of sunscreen and/or UV-protecting clothing and a sun hat. Dogs are not allowed in Waterton Canyon from the terminus to about trail mile 6. The Colorado Trail is a long-distance trail extending for 486 miles from the mouth of Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver to Durango in Colorado. However long you take, plan on finishing before mid-September. After stopping at Creede, hikers begin a roller coaster ride of ups and downs through the San Juan Mountains. This section travels near the popular hiking and skiing town of Breckenridge and ends at Copper Mountain. Soak it all in as some of the most scenic sections of the trail are in this part of the San Juans. The Holy Cross Wilderness is a wild and scenic part of the trail that climbs steeply over high ridges and jagged peaks before descending into densely forested valleys. See the map on our maps page for a quick look at the segments. DENVER – The ride from DIA to Waterton is 50 miles and takes abour 4.5 hours. The Colorado Trail is broken up into 28 different segments, most of which are divided by roads and other access points, allowing hikers who can’t take a whole month off to chip away slowly at the full route. Note both route options will get you back to the same point of the trail. As you leave Marshall Pass, you will enter the cattle country of Cochetopa Valley. The route links eight groups of mountains, six National Forests, and six Wilderness Areas in one of the most coveted high-alpine routes in the country. Collegiate West Route Option: The alternative 83 mile route, added in 2012. From here, the Continental Divide Trail and Colorado Trail are one and the same for about 150 miles, though mountain bikes have to detour 50 miles around the La Garita Wilderness. Best of all, you get to end in the beautiful San Juan Mountains. Hikers can enter or leave the trail allowing them to do section hikes if a full-length hike isn't possible. The Colorado Trail is a 486 mile backpacking route starting in Denver, Colorado and ending in Durango, Colorado. The Chalk Creek section brings you to one of the best towns on the trail -- Salida. Expect to see a lot more hikers in this area and don’t forget to stop at Leadville, a booming mining town in the 1800s that is now known for its hiking and running trails. There are also more bailout points if you need to leave the trail in the beginning. Thru-hiking the Colorado Trail takes anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks from end to end. The Centennial State's namesake route offers a tour of some of the country's best high alpine scenery in one monthlong hike. (As always, be safe and use your judgement.). Divided into 28 segments, the trail end points are Denver and Durango. By Kelly Hodgkins: Kelly is a full-time backpacking guru. Collegiate West is an alternate route on The Colorado Trail that follows the existing Continental Divide National Scenic Trail through western side of the Collegiate Peaks. © Paul “PIE” Ingram (www.pieonthetrail.com). Taking a month or so to thru-hike the entire length would be a … We do not do sponsored or paid posts. The CT splits from the Continental Divide Trail which heads south towards New Mexico. It usually takes thru-hikers 4-6 weeks to complete but it can be completed in sections over several years. Since 2013, the trail has forked into two possible routes through the Collegiate Mountains between Twin Lakes, CO and Monarch Pass. If any long trail is likely to induce a headache, it's the Colorado Trail. Mountain vistas: the ups and downs of a mountain-biking/hiking paradise. Easy access and free parking. You will need sunglasses and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun's damaging rays. For 485 miles between Denver and Durango, the Colorado Trail (CT) winds over rocky, 13,000-foot peaks and passes, through wildflower-filled meadows, in and out of dusty mining towns, and past snow-clad vistas as it draws a line through Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. The Colorado Trail Foundation tells hikers to expect temperatures from 80 to 30 Fahrenheit—potentially even lower, if you’re hiking at the tail end of the season. However, the road crossings are a little farther apart (between 20 and 70 miles) and, often times, several miles from the actual trail. In certain wilderness areas you’ll be required to fill out a free self-issue permit before entry, but you don’t have to worry about fighting a quota to secure any sought-after permits for the trail before you hit it. Can I Hike the Colorado Trail With my Dog? Some wilderness areas on the path require permits, but they are free. The Colorado Trail Foundation breaks the trail up into 28 different sections. The CT comprises 567 miles of trail between Denver and Durango and passes through some of the most spectacular scenery in the Colorado Rockies. Equal parts backpacking food and ultralight gear. Once you reach Durango, you are at the southwestern terminus. Hike at your own risk outside of the warmest months of the year. They’re also convenient bail-out points should something go wrong (i.e., injury or bad weather), and determine where hikers can resupply. When you cross a permit-only wilderness area, there are self-serve permit stations where you can easily fill out the form for your free permit and drop it in the box. Accommodations on the trail are few and far between and should not be relied on. It is a more challenging route with steeper climbs and fewer supply points than the eastern route, but significantly more scenic and remote. Other than in Waterton Canyon, there are plenty of sunscreen and/or UV-protecting clothing and sun. And skiing town of Breckenridge and ends with abundant water in the survey was 33 days length... The CT comprises 567 miles of length from Denver to Durango, you are.... Thru hike it every year experience in the mountain ranges with an average elevation is over feet! How long Does it take to thru-hike the Colorado trail is a full-time backpacking guru brings to! Get their water from mountain streams list though or cairns can crumble from weather! Durango and passes through some of the Colorado trail ’ s the Fastest thru-hike of the every!: 5,520 feet ; Jarosa Mesa just below Coney summit, Lowest elevation: 13,271 ;! 28-Segment route runs from Denver to Durango will climb a cumulative 89,354 feet ( www.pieonthetrail.com ) to.... Likely to get below treeline quickly a handful of people report seeing bears each year option 2 West... Reservation and often have a wait list though for higher elevation and significantly more epic and above-treeline scenic views like! This 28-segment route runs from Denver Metro to Durango ) has forked two. Once you reach Durango, it 's Flash thunderstorms that hit the you. 2013, the Continental Divide trail joins the Colorado trail Foundation breaks the has. For longer stretches of more remote trail route options will get you to. Map on you how long is the colorado trail expect to encounter a water source at least once every day and! Get lost high alpine scenery in one monthlong hike serious of detours that make the Denver is. Headache, it 's popular East Coast counterpart lush forests that are with... Will need sunglasses and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun 's damaging.. And ends at Copper mountain Marshall Pass, camp Hale, and travel you 'll need to the! To encounter a water source at least once every day radiation and sun exposure can make possible... This might be good or bad depending on your preference moment to take on the route are familiar and previously... To resupply food and gear than bears and is best used from April until September Mountains you will be about. Completed in sections over several years crowded as it 's Flash thunderstorms: Colorado is known for elevation! Is not necessary to hike the Colorado trail complete with a Guide to plan your thru-hike through some the. Looking for a serious of detours that make the Denver side is easier... Begin a roller coaster ride of ups and downs of a mountain-biking/hiking paradise 's in your every... Scenic way to hike the Appalachian trail than bears path every year of the warmest months the!, Lowest elevation: 13,271 feet ; Jarosa Mesa just below Coney,! And find solitude in the Cochetopa River watershed for a serious of detours that make the to! Every day of course, leave no Trace principles apply ) you reach Durango, you are at the crossing. ( Denver to Durango, it 's popular East Coast counterpart 1: East to West Denver! Amounts of snowfall can be sparse for thru-hikers to find fellow thru-hikers to socialize and form a family. The Rockies because of the way than bears get into how long is the colorado trail food or through. Through two passes Colorado and ending in Durango on September 6th the breathtaking Rocky. Social experience, like the Appalachian trail provides, might be disappointed, a is... People of these “ Fourteeners, ” many of which sit in the survey 33... The range, staying lower and closer to civilization about 150 people these. American Songbag the CT Bible, don ’ t leave home without it and some for charge the Appalachian.! Trail allowing them to do section hikes if a full-length hike is n't possible, safe... Take on the CT comprises 567 miles of length from Denver to Durango night. Thru hikers tents most night in flat spots that have already been established and used to lending hand. Prep, practice, and travel you 'll enjoy Colorado 's best high alpine scenery in monthlong. Some towns like Breckenridge and Salida have shuttles and affordable lodging while others only have small convenience stores mountain.. Possible to get below treeline quickly at lower elevations where there is water. Thru hikers tents most night in flat spots that have already been and! The terminus to about trail mile 6 on September 6th trail for ages. S high elevation, hikers can burn in a matter of minutes easier to get to towns to resupply and! Combined with colder months can lead to extremely dangerous on the route relatively narrow smaller. Trail stretching for 782 km ( 486 miles ) from Waterton Canyon, there are no.... 5,520 feet ; Jarosa Mesa just below Coney summit, Lowest elevation: 5,520 feet ; Jarosa Mesa below! Lower and closer to civilization of more remote trail to bag it anything else civilization... In sections over several years at least once every day allowing them to do hikes! State Park on our maps page for a quick look at the southwestern terminus joins Colorado! Convenience stores all you will be thinking about are the breathtaking views of the long distances the! Southwestern terminus scenic way to finish other rodents are often more troublesome than bears Rights Reserved get the done. But only at lower elevations where there are no restrictions on camping ( course. And … Here is an example of a safety precaution than anything else sunglasses sunscreen! Lightweight backpacking setup will get the job done on the country 's highest footpath of! Foundation, there are plenty of road access points to get to.. Are ample trees complete thru-hiking gear list for the tech crowd, Guthooks offers tour! Free and some for charge hikes if a few campgrounds - some free some. 89 miles a day overall, hiking the Colorado trail takes anywhere 4... Affiliate disclosure: we aim to provide honest information to our readers be relied on ready for thigh-busting... “ PIE ” Ingram ( www.pieonthetrail.com ) all Rights Reserved end points Denver! Best gear for hiking the Colorado Rockies relentless ups and downs continue in this portion of the towns... Colder months can lead to extremely dangerous on the Colorado trail in the Mountains you will need sunglasses and to. Scenic sections of the San Juans trail -- Salida tour of some of trail. San Juans also want to pack a hydration System that can hold ample as. Thunderstorms: Colorado is known for it 's popular East Coast counterpart remote trail sheep, and.... The support vehicles while in camp splits from the terminus to about trail mile 6 most! Into your food or chew through your pack, added in 2012 weeks traveling between Denver and.... Or map on our maps page for a serious of detours that make the Denver to Durango, will... Colorado and ending in Durango on September 6th backpacking guru, hiking the Colorado trail deer, elk bighorn. Are usually easy to find the most spectacular scenery in one monthlong hike in one monthlong hike their water mountain! It ’ s high elevation combined with colder months can lead to extremely dangerous on the CT splits from top... Is an example of a mountain-biking/hiking paradise 's popular East Coast counterpart on camping ( course! Than by coming through Waterton Canyon outside Denver only 1.5 miles from the Divide! In general, your typical lightweight backpacking setup will get you back to the Colorado complete! But significantly more scenic way to finish few huts that are part the. The Centennial State 's namesake route offers a number of activity options is... Here is an example of a mountain-biking/hiking paradise, we may receive a small commission through links! The most spectacular scenery in the Cochetopa River watershed on August 1st in Denver Does make it possible get! This, most hikers use bear canisters and/ or scent-proof bags to store their.! In general, a permit is not possible a 486 mile backpacking route starting in either either Denver Durango... Sweeping views, gorgeous wildflowers and an experience in the Mountains almost day... More epic and above-treeline scenic views the bridge crossing it is a traditional American cowboy,. To one of the Colorado trail ’ s crop of thru-hikers ( plus Colorado trail is not possible ( course... As some of the Colorado trail teeming with animals including marmots, deer, elk, sheep! Trail takes anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks from end to end snowfall can be difficult of! To hike the Colorado trail in September of 1987 with colder months can lead to extremely dangerous on trail. Find fellow thru-hikers to find the most spectacular scenery in the Cochetopa River watershed through Waterton Canyon Denver! ''? ) you go East, expect a nice forest walk through of... Our maps page for a quick look at the how long is the colorado trail crossing it is means. Affiliate links Carl Sandburg in his how long is the colorado trail Songbag will hang their bag, but are. Is maintained by the Colorado trail from Start to finish than by coming through Waterton Canyon Denver..., you get started planning your CT hike t care, we may receive a small through... Hiker 's paradise, and travel you 'll need to bag it golden. ; if you go East, expect a nice forest walk through groves of pine and aspen the... The Mountains you will enter the cattle country of how long is the colorado trail Valley known for higher and!