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  • Writer's pictureJosiah Holwick

Best Colorado Camping & Hiking Trails

Updated: Jul 9, 2019

Hiking in our backyard of the rockies is one of my favorite things to do in the summer. I realized I’ve gained quite the collection of hiking videos from most regions of Colorado. 

Mohawk Lake Trail

A great trail just past Breckenridge. It begins with a steep incline along a waterfall, then you come across an abandoned mine shaft. We chose to set up basecamp at the lower lake, then continued to day hike up to the upper lake. It is a beautiful 360 view as you are in a bowl of mountains. 

Distance from Denver 1.5hrs, Distance 9-miles, Elevation Gain: 2,129ft

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Lake Isabel

Lake Isabell has an amazing view of Indian Peaks, plus its an hours drive from Boulder. Park at the Brainard Lake Recreation Area.

Distance from Denver 1.5hrs, Distance - 4.5 miles, Elevation Gain: 488ft

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Piney River Ranch

We have long loved our favorite mountain spot in Colorado... Piney River Ranch! Special thanks to the awesome management at the ranch and all our friends for making this possible! The lake is stunning with a mountainous backdrop and offers many water activities (fishing, canoeing, paddle boarding, etc) if that’s more of interest for some than an actual hike. There is a trading post that sells food, drinks and has a bathroom. It’s a 40 minute rocky and bumpy drive to get there so take an SUV! There is dispersed camping along the road or you can stay in their cabins or teepees.

Distance from Denver 2.5hrs, Distance - 6 miles, Elevation Gain: 730ft

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Herman Gulch Trail

This trail is very close to Idaho Springs and is a great hike to get above tree line.

Distance from Denver 1hr, Distance 6 miles, Elevation Gain: 1,755ft Click here for more info


Photos below are my favorite milky turquoise Blue lakes from glacial sediment in the Mount Sneffels Wilderness. A gorgeous but steep alpine hike with wildflower-filled meadows, and impressive views. This can be a day hike but the lowest lake has several campgrounds along the shore for those who wish to spend the night.

Distance from Denver 6hrs, Distance - 8 miles, Elevation Gain: 2,519 feet

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Fruita, 18 road | Mountain Biking

Fruita has many great trails to go mountain biking, many trails loop right back to your campsite. There is a campground at the end of 18 road that is usually full. I have always car camped in the canyon just below the parking lot.

Don't forget to stop at Hot Tomato Pizza! Distance from Denver 4hrs

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Red Rocks Park

There are a variety of trails to hike at one of the most iconic music amphitheaters., Red Rocks. Easy and laid back trails, mostly flat and straight with some nice up close views of the Red Rocks. Great for bringing visitors.

Distance from Denver 30 min

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Telluride Blue Grass Festival is a great way to start the summer with the Via Ferrata trail for those who are adventurous enough to take this on will be rewarded with epic views of the valley below.

Distance from Denver 6hrs, Distance - 3 miles, Elevation Gain: 1,243 feet

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Crested Butte | 401 trail

One of Crested Butte's most iconic mountain bike trails - the 401. Long climb but not too steep, followed by a long fast descent on singletrack through amazing wildflowers. The trail tops out above treeline for some of the best views on any mountain biking trail.

Distance from Denver 4hrs, Distance - 15 miles, Elevation Gain: 3,185ft 

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Salida is growing as an arts community and has a fun festivals, art walks, and a great mountain atmosphere. There are many great trails and free dispersed camping on the outskirts of town. Distance from Denver 3hrs

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Devil’s Canyon 4x4 Trail

This is one of the first off road trails I stumbled upon was Devil’s Canyon just before you reach Mount Evans. This is a great trail for SUV’s and has free dispersed camping with amazing views. 

Distance from Denver 1hr, Distance 6 miles, Elevation Gain: 1,230ft Click here for more info

Red Feather Lakes

Red Feather Lakes, is west of Fort Collins just south of Wyoming featuring amazing free dispersed camping and 22 great hiking trails ranging from 2.3 to 22.9 miles and from 8,106ft to 10,997ft. Distance from Denver 2hrs

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11 Mile Reservoir State Park

This is a beautiful reservoir where you can rent boats or go fishing. Though I would not recommend camping at the State Park as their sites are pretty crowded and have a lot of strict rules. You are better off finding camping elsewhere.

Distance from Denver 2hrs

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Grays and Torreys

My favorite 14ers to bring visitors has to be grays and tory’s as you can cross two off the list in one hike. It is a close drive from Denver but I would recommend a 4WD vehicle for the approach to parking lot. 

Distance from Denver 1hr, Distance - 8 miles, Elevation Gain: 3,582 feet Click here for more info

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