10 Colorado Hikes for Beginners

When I first moved to Colorado, I was always searching for hikes for beginners that I could confidently take on! The truth is, hiking in Colorado is no joke! Between the high altitudes, unpredictable weather conditions, and steep terrain, it can feel a bit daunting to be a beginner. But there’s good news for any beginners out there! Colorado is filled with gorgeous hikes of all difficulty levels. And over the years, I’ve discovered many trails that provide absolutely stunning views with less length and overall difficulty. So whether you’re visiting, you’re looking for a quick hike, or you’re new to Colorado, here are 10 hikes for beginners!

 

1. Second Creek to Broome Hut


Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 2.8 miles out and back

Location: Berthoud Pass

Elevation gain: Roughly 750 feet

Seasonal considerations: Spikes needed from mid-October through June

Why I love this hike: The steady climb is well worth the views. Once you reach the hut, you’ll be rewarded with expansive mountain views from all sides. It’s also not extremely popular so the trail is not overly crowded.



2. Gem Lake Trail


Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 3.1 miles out and back

Location: Rocky Mountain National Park (Park pass needed + no dogs allowed)

Elevation gain: Roughly 1000 feet

Seasonal considerations: Spikes needed from mid-October through June

Why I love this hike: With a lake destination and views overlooking Rocky Mountain National Park, what’s not to love?





3. Long Lake


Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 2 miles out + back

Location: Indian Peaks Wilderness

Elevation Gain: Roughly 100 feet

Seasonal considerations: Can be very muddy/icy between November and June

Why I love this hike: Gorgeous lake views without hardly any incline! This is a great one for out-of-towners who aren’t yet adjusted to altitude.





4. Chief Mountain


Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 3 miles out + back

Location: Evergreen on Squaw Pass

Elevation Gain: Roughly 1000 feet

Seasonal considerations: Can be very muddy/icy between November and June

Why I love this hike: A quick hike that offers 360 degree views at the top is hard to beat! PLUS it’s within an hour of Denver for a convenient day hike from the city.





5. Lily Mountain


Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 4 miles out + back

Location: Estes Park

Elevation Gain: Roughly 1300 feet

Seasonal considerations: Spikes needed from mid-October through June

Why I love this hike: This one is slightly more challenging than the others due to more elevation gain, but the 360 degree views of Estes Park at the top are well worth it. You will feel on top of the world!




6. Butler Gulch Trail


Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 5.5 miles out + back

Location: Empire

Elevation Gain: Roughly 1800 feet

Seasonal considerations: Spikes needed from mid-October through June

Why I love this hike: Rolling plains with expansive mountain views, wildflowers (during the summer), and waterfalls!




7. Dream Lake Trail


Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 2 miles out + back

Location: Rocky Mountain National Park (Park pass required + no dogs allowed)

Elevation Gain: Roughly 500 feet

Seasonal considerations: Spikes needed during fall. Snowshoes needed during winter and early spring.

Why I love this hike: Dream Lake is one of the most iconic lakes in Colorado! You can also continue on to Emerald Lake and the Loch if you are up for more miles!





8. Rattlesnake Gulch Trail


Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 3.5 miles out + back

Location: Eldorado Canyon State Park (Park pass required)

Elevation Gain: Roughly 1000 feet

Seasonal considerations: Spikes needed during from late October – late spring.

Why I love this hike: Less than one hour from Denver, this State Park offers impressive canyon views and unique trails. You can also spot many rock climbers scaling the walls on your hike!





9. Kruger Rock Trail


Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 4 miles out + back

Location: Estes Park – cash for parking required

Elevation Gain: Roughly 1000 feet

Seasonal considerations: Spikes needed during from late October – Early June.

Why I love this hike: The unique rock formations and ongoing views of Estes Park give you a lot of reward for a four mile hike!





10. Saint Mary’s Glacier


Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 2.5 miles out + back

Location: Idaho Springs – cash for parking required

Elevation Gain: Roughly 1000 feet

Seasonal considerations: Spikes needed during from late November– late spring.

Why I love this hike: Just one hour from Denver, Saint Mary’s Glacier has become a top day hike – and for good reason! It’s a quick hike up to the lake and glacier accompanied by beautiful mountain views. Keep hiking up past the glacier and the views only get better!



 

I hope you enjoy these 10 Colorado hikes for beginners! While easy to moderate, these hikes will still present a fun challenge and reward you with all the views colorful Colorado has to offer! Let me know which ones are your favorites, and if you like articles like this! J


Happy trails,


Bradee XOXO



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