The Colorado Trail is one of the great hikes of North America. Stretching nearly 500 miles from Denver to Durango, it crosses eight mountain ranges and traverses six national parks. Technically, it’s a hiking trail, but bikers love it as well choosing to walk their machine over and through technical areas. Unlike the Appalachian Trail which takes months to hike, you don’t have to quit your job to tackle this quest. Also, you can hike or bike portions of the Colorado Trail, providing an incredible Rocky Mountain adventure with less effort and time invested. Although hiking or biking the full route takes a significant commitment to preparation and gear, the route has been broken into 28 “day trips” that offer a taste of the adventure. Give one or more a try and you can judge your ability to tackle more.
One Segment at a Time
The CT is broken up into 28 Segments with an access point at each one, making the CT easily accessible for day hikers along the length of the Trail. The CT also offers a wide range of elevations and levels of difficulty, accommodating a variety of skill levels and hiking preferences. Many people drive a second car to the destination point in order to lengthen their hike and prevent having to retrace their steps.
Always be sure to carry adequate rain protection for summer storms and extra clothing to deal with an unplanned overnighter in the high country. Time your hikes to avoid being exposed to lightning on high ridges in the afternoon. Good maps, a compass, and, or a GPS are very useful on the more remote sections of the Trail.
Three Kinds of High Adventure Fun
Whether you backpack, day hike, or bike, you are sure to meet adventure head on. The Colorado Trail (CT) is well marked and experienced hikers or bikers will have little trouble following it. That said, a GPS unit is always a good idea in the backcountry. Should you need help or find someone who does, you can give an exact location. The internet has a ton of resources to help with your Rocky Mountain high, here’s a great place to start: http://www.coloradotrail.org/hike.html