Cutting a diagonal line across the state, the Colorado Trail stretches from Denver to Durango through six wilderness areas and eight mountain ranges. With an average elevation of 10,000 feet, this trail requires iron lungs, or at least an affinity for high elevation. It rewards the effort as it crosses some of the most beautiful landscapes in the state with remote forested trails, wildflower meadows, mountain panoramas viewed from above tree line, old mining towns, and a ski resort.
“In my opinion it’s the best way to explore Colorado,” says Davis, who has hiked the entire trail. “The section between Silverton and Lake City is one of the prettiest stretches of trail I’ve done anywhere in the world. And if you can time it with the wildflowers coming out in June and July it’s just really magnificent.”
Time to Complete: 4-6 weeks
Terrain: Dramatic climbs and descents on mostly forested paths, with a significant portion above tree line.
Best Segment You Can Do In a Day: The Stony Pass (12 miles out-and-back) follows the Continental Divide, offering non-stop views at 12,500 feet in the San Juans (arguably Colorado’s most stunning mountain range).
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