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Honor ‘On Your Left’, Plus Other Things to Know About Hiking in Colorado

When you think about hiking in Colorado, you probably picture a snowy summit in Vail, or Rocky Mountain National Park. However, there is a ton of hiking in Colorado, and it is quite varied.  An extremely diverse state with landscapes from vast desert to snow covered peaks, hiking in Colorado is just as varied as the landscape. Whatever you’re looking for, this state has it. Thinking about hiking in Colorado? Here are some fun facts and things to know.

It’s the Land of Fourteeners

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Many hikers come to Colorado for their chance at a coveted 14er summit. “14ers” are mountains that reach over 14,000 feet in elevation, and if you’ve ever hiked, you know how breathtaking it can be—both literally and figuratively. These challenging mountain hikes are intense and often cause altitude sickness, especially to those who come from sea level. Colorado is home to 53 fourteeners. 

There’s Over 39,000 Miles of Hiking Trails

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Hiking is one of the best things to do in Colorado. The hiking is so plentiful, it’s a wonder that anyone has time to do any other sports. The state has over 39,000 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy to challenging. Some of the best places to hike are Rocky Mountain National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, and Mesa Verde National Park. Popular trails in Rock Mountain National Park include the incredible Emerald Lake Trail with awesome views of the Tyndall Glacier, Nymph Lake, Dream Lakes, and Hallett Peak. The Royal Arch Trail near Boulder, Colorado, offers a unique trek near the Flatirons—the iconic tilted rock slabs that proudly tower over Boulder. 

The Best Hikes Are Around Seven Miles

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According to the AllTrails best trails and hikes in Colorado list, the average length of the best hiking trail in the state is about seven miles. That’s great news for day-hikers who have limited time to explore these beautiful landscapes. Seven miles is basically the perfect distance to get outdoors, break a sweat, and be home in time for dinner. 

They’re Serious About ‘On Your Left’ 

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In Colorado, trails can get busy as it was ranked the “most active state” by America’s Health Rankings Public Health Impact report. In Colorado, communication is key to not getting run or ridden over. “On your left” is the tradition adopted by trail go-ers, so make sure to keep your ears open and yield to faster trail users. Hikers, runners, cyclist and horses all share the trails. Always make sure to yield to horses. 

There’s Red Sandstone, Dunes, Desert, and Alpine Lakes

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The landscape of Colorado is very diverse. Garden of the Gods National Landmark is located in Colorado Springs, with lots of hiking trails that explore the unique red sandstone formations. Hiking in Durango takes you through an arid landscape with rocky outcrops and rolling hills. Telluride offers steep, grassy mountainous hikes. If you’re near Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park offers an opportunity to explore alpine terrain with gorgeous alpine lakes, rugged trails and all kinds of wildlife, including elk. There’s even hikes across the Great Sand Dunes—just about everything you could dream of, all in one state.

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