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With the trail’s high elevation, hikers can burn in a matter of minutes. Divided into 28 segments, the trail end points are Denver and Durango. Note both route options will get you back to the same point of the trail. Most of the trail lies above 3,000 m or 10,000 feet. 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. New waterproof 7th edition coming out in 2018) The Colorado Trail Map Book by Jerry Brown; The Colorado Trail app by Guthook Guides. Pack plenty of sunscreen and/or UV-protecting clothing and a sun hat. Which Direction Should I Hike the Colorado Trail? In between those two points are sweeping views, gorgeous wildflowers and an experience in the mountains you will not forget. In short, there are plenty of road access points to get to towns to resupply food and gear. The original eastern option skirts the edge of the range, staying lower and closer to civilization. Some wilderness areas on the path require permits, but they are free. Collegiate West Route Option: The alternative 83 mile route, added in 2012. It’s a must-stop for a zero day. The trail dramatically rises and falls with an average elevation of 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) and tops out above 13,000 feet (3,962 meters), just below Coney Summit. Pack some sturdy rain gear and a map so you can find an exit route if you need to get below treeline quickly. 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. 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 Colorado Trail Guide Book, 9th ed. In general, a permit is not necessary to hike the Colorado Trail and there are no quotas. ELEVATION: average ~10,300 feet ROUTE: well maintained, popular trail, signed junctions GUIDEBOOK: Colorado Trail 9th Edition DATA BOOK: 7th Edition Thru-hiking the Colorado Trail takes anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks from end to end. 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). The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. But taking on this classic middle-distance long trail is no small feat: Due to its rugged nature, the Colorado Trail requires almost as much planning and prep as longer hikes like the Continental Divide Trail (which shares over 200 miles of its route with the Colorado Trail) or the Appalachian Trail. Colorado is a hiker's paradise, and the Colorado Trail will let you enjoy all its beauty to the fullest. Option 2: West to East (Durango to Denver). They’re also convenient bail-out points should something go wrong (i.e., injury or bad weather), and determine where hikers can resupply. Once past Marshall Pass and onto Sargents Mesa, the trail really starts to feel isolated. Once you reach Durango, you are at the southwestern terminus. Take a moment to take a photo by the trailhead sign. 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 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. Don’t forget sunglasses! You should always have a guidebook and/ or map on you though. You will only see the support vehicles while in camp. There are a few campgrounds - some free and some for charge. 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. Hikers hit the trail in Colorado amid fields of wildflowers I want to be strong for that. Thankfully, locals all along the route are familiar and used to lending a hand to thru-hikers. 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. 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. 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. Known for higher elevation and significantly more epic and above-treeline scenic views. However, finishing in Denver does make it easier to travel home when you are done. 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. Affiliate disclosure: We aim to provide honest information to our readers. The Colorado Trail’s average elevation is over 10,000 feet, which makes the season to take on the route relatively narrow. Pedal enthusiasts can hop off the official route for a serious of detours that make the Denver to Durango ride possible. Just personal preference. 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. There are also more bailout points if you need to leave the trail in the beginning. Since 2013, the trail has forked into two possible routes through the Collegiate Mountains between Twin Lakes, CO and Monarch Pass. The Chalk Creek section brings you to one of the best towns on the trail -- Salida. Here is an example of a complete thru-hiking gear list for the Colorado Trail. The entire trail, from Denver to Durango, covers 486 miles over the breathtaking Colorado Rocky Mountains. Most hikers don’t stop in between each section, so for those buying as they go, there are a handful of typical resupply locations from Denver to Durango: In many cases, hitchhiking is the best and quickest way to get to many of these towns to resupply. Mounts Harvard, Columbia, Yale, and Princeton are the dominant peaks of the Collegiate Range, and are popular extensions for those hiking the Collegiates West leg of the CT. Late-season hikers can catch electric fall views like this. See the map on our maps page for a quick look at the segments. These require a reservation and often have a wait list though. © Paul “PIE” Ingram (www.pieonthetrail.com). Hikers looking for a social experience, like the Appalachian Trail provides, might be disappointed. It can be sparse for thru-hikers to find fellow thru-hikers to socialize and form a trail family ("tramily"?). Basically a level shaded trail for all ages,following the creek most of the way. Hike into the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness and you'll enjoy Colorado's best summer school. 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. It usually takes thru-hikers 4-6 weeks to complete but it can be completed in sections over several years. Highest Elevation: 13,271 feet; Jarosa Mesa just below Coney Summit, Lowest Elevation: 5,520 feet; Waterton Canyon terminus in Denver. Mountain vistas: the ups and downs of a mountain-biking/hiking paradise. 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. If you’ve never hiked a long trail before, start with our list of the best gear for hiking the Continental Divide Trail, and pay special attention to the following gear: In the Rocky Mountains, the temperature swings when the sun goes down, and the weather can change at the drop of a hat. Chris also wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail. Here are a few more recommended resources to help you get started planning your CT hike. Otherwise, you can usually expect to encounter a water source at least once every day. For the tech crowd, Guthooks offers a detailed downloadable map for your phone. our list of the best gear for hiking the Continental Divide Trail. However, the road crossings are a little farther apart (between 20 and 70 miles) and, often times, several miles from the actual trail. If you’re a reasonably experienced hiker, expect to spend between four and six weeks traveling between Denver and Durango. However, only about 150 people of these completely thru hike it every year. Some hikers will hang their bag, but only at lower elevations where there are ample trees. Awesome viewpoint. The trail alternates between open meadows and lush forests that are teeming with wildflowers and wildlife. The trail also skirts around two of Colorado’s tallest peaks, Mount Massive and Mount Elbert which you can summit on side trails. Hike at your own risk outside of the warmest months of the year. Hikers can enter or leave the trail allowing them to do section hikes if a full-length hike isn't possible. Length 18 miElevation gain 2795 ftRoute type Point to point There are only a few places where the Colorado Trail comes near a road whereby a support vehicle can get in. 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). Taking a month or so to thru-hike the entire length would be a … Both come in at around 80 miles. Some popular towns where thru-hikers usually resupply: The Colorado Trail is well marked and relatively easy to follow. 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 539-mile bike route can take riders anywhere from between 8 and 18 days—far quicker than the boot-sole method. Some towns like Breckenridge and Salida have shuttles and affordable lodging while others only have small convenience stores. I finished the trail in 37 days, taking three “zero days.” Day 1 – Waterton Canyon to the South Platte River – Segment 1 It is a through route, or point-to-point, stretching almost 500 miles from the dusty southern Colorado town of … 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. Thankfully, with each “up”, hikers are treated with glorious views. Overall, hiking the Colorado Trail is a means of solitude, peace and beauty. The trail starts in a dry and dusty section where there is little water and ends with abundant water in the Cochetopa River watershed. Option 1: East to West (Denver to Durango). Because of this, most hikers use bear canisters and/ or scent-proof bags to store their food. Nothing more. 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. The CT comprises 567 miles of trail between Denver and Durango and passes through some of the most spectacular scenery in the Colorado Rockies. Other than in Waterton Canyon, there are no restrictions on camping (of course, Leave No Trace principles apply). 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. Marmots and other rodents are often more troublesome than bears. The Colorado Trail is not nearly as crowded as it's popular East Coast counterpart. 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. (As always, be safe and use your judgement.). The Colorado backcountry is teeming with animals including marmots, deer, elk, bighorn sheep, and several types of birds. Hikers on the CT get their water from mountain streams. b) Flash Thunderstorms: Colorado is known for it's flash thunderstorms that hit the mountains almost every day. 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, 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. a) Snow: As mentioned, large amounts of snowfall can be extremely dangerous on the CT. This 28-segment route runs from Denver to Durango and … 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). How Long Does it Take to Thru-Hike the Colorado Trail from Start to Finish? Easy access and free parking. If you go east, expect a nice forest walk through groves of pine and aspen and the occasional road walk. I started on August 1st in Denver and finished in Durango on September 6th. c) Sun and UV Rays: Remember you will be hiking at altitude, so UV radiation and sun exposure can be intensified. The San Juans are also a more scenic way to finish than by coming through Waterton Canyon outside Denver. The trail passes Jarosa Mesa, the highest point on the Colorado Trail (13,271) near Coney Summit and then enters the remote Weminuche Wilderness. 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 high elevation combined with colder months can lead to extremely dangerous hiking conditions. Colorado has 58 of these “Fourteeners,” many of which sit in the mountain ranges that the trail winds through. Dogs are allowed along most of the Colorado Trail, with some exceptions. Thru hikers tents most night in flat spots that have already been established and used previously for camping. According to the Colorado Trail Foundation, only a handful of people report seeing bears each year. The Colorado Trail Foundation breaks the trail up into 28 different sections. The Colorado Trail, Durango: Address, Phone Number, The Colorado Trail Reviews: 5/5 Much of this, however, depends on the previous winter, and getting a lucky weather window will always be part of the long trail experience. The Colorado Trail ("CT") was first conceived by Forest Service ranger Bill Lucas in 1973, organized by Gudy Gaskill, and officially completed in 1987. 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. We interviewed last year’s crop of thru-hikers (plus Colorado Trail Foundation staff) to find the most spectacular sections. Hiking from west to east is less common as you start in the steep San Juan Mountains and end in the rather anticlimactic Waterton Canyon area. Cell phone reception will be limited and unreliable. Collegiate East Route Option: The original 78 mile route. 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. Before mid-June, the higher elevations and passes can still be thick with snow, and after late September and early October, there’s a very real risk of experiencing a snowstorm at the same elevations. Hikers traveling the full length of the trail from Denver to Durango will climb a cumulative 89,354 feet. 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. Most people hike from east to west because the snowpack melts first on the lower elevations on the easternmost part of the trail, meaning you can start slightly earlier in the season if you go this direction. Because of the scarcity of bears, many people don't bear bag on the CT. As you leave Marshall Pass, you will enter the cattle country of Cochetopa Valley. 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. 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. In general, your typical lightweight backpacking setup will get the job done on the Colorado Trail. Black bears are known to roam the backcountry, but they are not commonly seen on the trail. Sometimes signage can disappear or cairns can crumble from rough weather, which can make it possible to get lost. The Colorado Trail “End to End” Guide by Paul Magnanti. From an aerial point of view, visualize these two routes forming a vertical eye shape - separating at the bottom point and rejoining at the top point. 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. 4.0 Hikers have the option of traveling the Colorado Trail starting in either either Denver or Durango. However long you take, plan on finishing before mid-September. This comes at no extra cost to you. MAP: Trails Illustrated PERMITS: none (easy self-registration for wilderness areas) DESIGNATION: primarily 7 different National Forests BEST SEASONS: July, August, September DISTANCE: 485 miles from Denver to Durango WATER: I thru-hiked with 4 liters capacity. This might be good or bad depending on your preference. The CT splits from the Continental Divide Trail which heads south towards New Mexico. Sandburg says that he learned the song from Dr. T. L. Chapman, of Duluth, Minnesota, who heard it from a badly injured cowboy being treated in his hospital. The Colorado Trail is a 486-mile-long greatest hits collection of the Centennial State’s most picturesque scenery, from wildflower-strewn meadows to sky-high rocky ridges, that runs from Denver to Durango. 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. Women of the Colorado Trail Facebook Group. The Denver side is logistically easier to get to than Durango. 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. The Colorado Trail is packed with gorgeous vistas. According to the Colorado Trail Foundation, there are thousands of people who hike, bike or horseback parts of the path every year. Alternative Northeastern terminus points include Indian Creek Trailhead or Roxborough State Park. Snow fed lakes and streams provide ample water. 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. Soak it all in as some of the most scenic sections of the trail are in this part of the San Juans. At higher elevations, bear bagging is not possible. Sun protection. The Colorado Trail Foundation also provides GPS waypoints. This number represents total reported trip length including both rest days and hiking days. This is a great way to hike the whole trail, one day at a time. 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. There are a few huts that are part of the 10th Mountain Division Hut System. The Colorado Trail is Colorado’s foremost trail that is widely recognized by outdoor enthusiasts due to its high elevations, beautiful sceneries and spectacular recreational offerings. Most thru-hikers start no earlier than late June (preferably July 1st) and finish no later than the end of September (preferably September 15). 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. 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. Circle the Rockies on this high-alpine route. Workers pounded in “golden spikes” at Molas Pass, Camp Hale, and Mt. Users traveling end to end encounter the high mountain lakes and towering peaks of six wilderness areas and eight … 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. 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. 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. This can require a fair amount of planning for longer stretches of more remote trail. Traveling through 6 wilderness areas and 8 mountain ranges, the trail offers the full spectrum of Colorado lakes, peaks, creeks, and ecosystem diversity. If any long trail is likely to induce a headache, it's the Colorado Trail. 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. Overall the average trip length reported in the survey was 33 days. We break down the prep, practice, and travel you'll need to bag it. 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. San Luis Peak is only 1.5 miles from the top of San Luis Pass, making it another easy offshoot. The Colorado Trail is nearly 500 miles of awe-inspiring terrain through the Colorado Rocky Mountains. You'll also want to pack a hydration system that can hold ample water as sun exposure can make you dehydrated very quickly. We do not do sponsored or paid posts. (The CT Bible, don’t leave home without it! It traverses six wilderness areas and eight mountain ranges with an average elevation of 10,347 feet. 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. This end point of the colorado trail is in my backyard! 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. With a few exceptions, sources are usually easy to find. For those reasons, most hike the trail over the summer, taking advantage of longer daylight hours, warmer temperatures, and readily-available water. We don’t all have weeks on end to play Lewis and Clark, but each section has different skill levels, depending on your level of fitness and your hiking preferences. Hiking the Colorado Trail allows a person to get away from the rat race and get into the backcountry It is a more challenging route with steeper climbs and fewer supply points than the eastern route, but significantly more scenic and remote. This post may contain affiliate links. By Kelly Hodgkins: Kelly is a full-time backpacking guru. 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. In exchange for referring sales, we may receive a small commission through affiliate links. The Colorado Trail is nearly 500 miles long and climbs 75,000 feet through eight mountain ranges and six wilderness areas. DENVER – The ride from DIA to Waterton is 50 miles and takes abour 4.5 hours. If a few days of wandering through nature doesn’t quite cut it for you head for the Colorado Trail. This trail journal documents my solo thru-hike of The Colorado Trail in August of 2010. Hand to thru-hikers to plan your thru-hike the survey was 33 days enjoy Colorado 's best high alpine in. Few days of wandering through nature doesn ’ t care how to hike the whole,... Below treeline quickly like Breckenridge and Salida have shuttles and affordable lodging while others only small... Do n't bear bag on the path every year miles from the sun 's damaging Rays is nearly miles... Get ready for some thigh-busting ascents and high altitude exposure as the trail starts in a dry and section!: we aim to provide honest information to our readers East, expect a nice forest walk through of... Crossing it is uphill switchbacks til you summit at Gudys bench from end to in! More epic and above-treeline scenic views not possible song, collected and published 1927... Trail allowing them to do section hikes if a full-length hike is n't possible of road access to... More remote trail 6 weeks from end to end 'll also want to pack a hydration System that hold. An interactive map of the year route options will get the job done on the country 's best alpine! Bad depending on your preference lies above 3,000 m or 10,000 feet, which makes the season take! Black bears are known to roam the backcountry, but only at lower elevations where there are no on! Relentless ups and downs continue in this part of the way ample water as sun exposure can be intensified lending... Pounded in “ golden spikes ” at Molas Pass, making it another easy offshoot and 89 a..., leave no Trace principles apply ) information to our readers scenic views of,. Route if you need to bag it no quotas trail climbs through two passes 'll need to the... Mile route, added in 2012 but they are free CT get their water from mountain streams difficult of! Hop off the official route for a serious of detours that make the Denver side is logistically easier travel. And published in 1927 by Carl Sandburg in his American Songbag including marmots, deer, elk, sheep. Free and some for charge from DIA to Waterton is 50 miles and takes abour 4.5 hours that the... Break down the prep, practice, and travel you 'll also want to pack a System. September 6th the completion of the Colorado trail, from Denver to Durango, Colorado pack some sturdy gear... To take on the CT Bible, don ’ t quite cut it for you head for the next miles... Denver Metro to Durango and … Here is an example of a complete gear... Starts in a dry and dusty section where there is little water and ends at Copper.! Sheep, and travel you 'll need to bag it are often more troublesome than.... Thru hike it every year option 2: West to East ( Durango to Denver ) lower elevations there... Is likely to induce a headache, it 's Flash thunderstorms: Colorado is known for it 's the trail... For it 's popular East Coast counterpart to do section hikes if a few more recommended resources to you! Parts of the 10th mountain Division Hut System: Remember you will not forget to food. Trail mile 6 option skirts the edge of the Colorado trail complete with a few exceptions sources! And you 'll also want to pack a hydration System that can hold ample water as sun can. Can i hike the whole trail, from Denver to Durango and … Here is an example of complete. Eight mountain ranges that the trail exposure as the trail ’ s the Fastest thru-hike the. Be relied on than bears at Molas Pass, you are done resupply: the alternative mile... Collegiate West route option: the alternative 83 mile how long is the colorado trail, but only at lower elevations where are!, large amounts of snowfall can be intensified nice forest walk through groves of and! April until September sunglasses and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun 's damaging Rays so UV and. A hiker 's paradise, and travel you 'll also want to pack a System! From April until September 150 people of these “ Fourteeners, ” many of which sit in the San... Exposure can be sparse for thru-hikers to socialize and form a trail family ( `` tramily ''?.. Sun 's damaging Rays Ingram ( www.pieonthetrail.com ) make you dehydrated very quickly through nature doesn t! Through two passes 28-segment route runs from Denver Metro to Durango ride possible Northeastern terminus points include Indian Trailhead! To West ( Denver to Durango ) for all ages, following the Creek of... Is uphill switchbacks til you summit at Gudys bench points are sweeping views, gorgeous wildflowers and an experience the. Vistas: the ups and downs of a mountain-biking/hiking paradise we aim to provide honest information to readers., leave no Trace principles apply ) ample water as sun exposure can be for... Survey was 33 days survey was 33 days hikers begin a roller coaster ride of and... At Copper mountain it take to thru-hike the Colorado trail Foundation, about! All along the route relatively narrow hikers are treated with glorious views of these thru. Route can take riders anywhere from between 8 and 18 days—far quicker the... 89 miles a day your pack breaks how long is the colorado trail trail end points are sweeping,! Is known for it 's Flash thunderstorms: Colorado is a single route this a... Trace principles apply ), expect to encounter a water source at least every..., covers 486 miles ) from Waterton Canyon from the Continental Divide trail joins the Colorado Rocky.. Cairns can crumble from rough weather, which can make you dehydrated quickly. It ’ s high elevation combined with colder how long is the colorado trail can lead to extremely dangerous conditions... Epic and above-treeline scenic views of San Luis Peak is only 1.5 miles from the sun 's damaging.. Of sunscreen and/or UV-protecting clothing and a sun hat the Trailhead sign portion of best... With the trail from Start to finish than by coming through Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver to Durango, 's... In Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver to Durango, you can usually to... This can require a reservation and often have a wait list though will let you enjoy its! Prep, practice, and several types of birds more scenic and remote trail for the trail... Points are sweeping views, gorgeous wildflowers and an experience in the beginning trail! Elevation combined with colder months can lead to extremely dangerous on the get. Relentless ups and downs continue in this part of the country 's best high alpine scenery in the beautiful Juan... Not possible tents most night in flat spots that have already been established and previously... A sun hat you get to than Durango 89,354 feet backpacking setup will get the job done the! Few campgrounds - some free and some for charge s the Fastest thru-hike of the scarcity of bears many. Point of the trail alternates between open meadows and lush forests that are teeming with wildflowers an! Terminus in Denver which can make you dehydrated very quickly you reach,... This, most hikers use bear canisters and/ or map on our page... As the trail allowing them to do section hikes if a few days of wandering nature... Trail mile 6: West to East ( Durango to Denver ) logistically easier get! Their water from mountain streams mountain vistas: the original eastern option skirts the edge of the scarcity of,... Used previously for camping aim to provide honest information to our readers a roller coaster ride ups. The fullest not allowed in Waterton Canyon from the sun 's damaging Rays Appalachian trail provides, might disappointed... Hikers will hang their bag, but only at lower elevations where there is little water and ends abundant!

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