click for details and join us on a hike! click here if you are unable to use the state-by-state map know how to walk the walk, but have trouble talking the talk?  try this page. click here for Colorado Hiking Trail Maps free and for sale




this link goes to the current camping & hiking close-outs and specials on amazon.com ...deep discounts on better quality gear


click here for the slackpacker web site

Colorado Hiking Trails

This site is designed to provide quick access to informative Colorado hiking websites. Hiking enthusiasts like you have created excellent web pages on Colorado hiking trails -- then posted those pages on free web servers -- only to be ignored by search engines. The purpose of this site is to provide a way to find these personal hiking pages, and make your research easier.

  • American Discovery Trail The ADT crosses the eastern plains of Colorado following the paths of explorers and pioneers. West of Denver, the towering Rocky Mountains provide magnificent backcountry travel through six national forests on trails that rise above timberline. The ADT crosses 15 mountain passes over 9,000 feet high including four that are above 12,000 feet. The route crosses the Continental Divide twice and uses portions of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail and the Colorado Trail. "official" site.


  • Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests this is the specific hiking page with an alphabetical trail-by-trail roster, most of which you can then click on for detailed directions and trail info. This site is comprehensive and quite valuable.


  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison now with full National Park status, this is the hiking page at nps.gov.


  • Colorado National Monument NPS home page for this monument. Not enough information on hiking trails, but it will get you started. Or just look at the next site...


  • Colorado National Monument This is more like it. This link goes to the Colorado NM "index" page on the ProTrails.com site. Here you can link to some nice in-depth trail descriptions - with photos, details, etc - on a number of trails from the Black Ridge - Alcove Nature Trailhead, Canyon Rim Trailhead (that's the stuff near the Visitor Center), the upper trailhead at Monument Canyon, and the Window Rock Trailhead (that's the popular one at Saddlehorn Campground). Anyway, Dave Schwartz and crew do a great job with the ProTrails site, lots of good stuff, definitely click this. You'll see we've got quite a few links to ProTrails here at the Slackpacker. One of my favorite hikes at Colorado NM is the short Coke Ovens overlook. (it's described on ProTrails, specifically here) Well I guess it isn't the greatest trail in the park, but it is a good one, short/easy...mostly I just have fond memories of taking my twin daughters on this one at age two. Sorry to ramble on here, just click the link. Good site.


  • Continental Divide National Scenic Trail Here's a general site, from the CDT Alliance. Plenty of info, maps, etc.


  • Continental Divide National Scenic Trail site for section through the Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests. Hosted by US Forest Service, lists access points, mileages, trail descriptions, and more. Very good site; one of the better USFS sites.


  • Dolores River Valley here's a blog by veteran hiker Todd Lochmoeller that features a lot of information and photos in the narration sort of blog that is becoming increasingly popular. Dolores River area has a lot of interesting viewpoints, natural formations, and just some terrific southwest hiking. Todd resides in Dolores, so we're glad to have his suggestions.


  • Eagles Next Wilderness Area Lily Pad Lake Trail Page provides very clear directions, description, and superb photos for this easy 2 mi hike near Silverthorne. It's actually a "freebie" culled from Kim Fenske's book, Greatest Hikes in Central Colorado. Hey, we'll take all the freebies we can get!


  • Estes Park Area Big Thompson/Estes Park Trail descriptions with maps, in .pdf format. Absolute must download; a mini-book of about 8 key trails, including Round Mountain Trail, North Fork Trail, Lion Gulch & Homestead Meadows, Crosier Mountain Trail, Bulwark Ridge and others. A significant resource; again, this is a .pdf file.


  • Fort Collins Area This is the entry page for Fort Collins on the LocalHikes.com website. At this time it has about six hikes...what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality. Great photos, descriptions, details...bookmark this one if you're local. Top quality site.


  • General The 10th Mountain Division Hut system is located in the central Rocky Mountains of Colorado between Aspen, Leadville, and Vail. Styled after the European tradition of hut-to-hut travel, 24 huts provide overnight shelter for seasoned backcountry skiers and riders, snowshoers, mountain bikers, and backpackers.


  • General 14ers The Colorado 14ers are peaks that exceed 14,000 feet in height. Excellent site with explanations, photos, information. Site by Bill Middlebrook.


  • General 13ers In addition to the popular and highly-sought 14ers, Colorado has some 600 peaks over 13,000 feet. Here's some info from the outstanding "14er" site by Bill Middlebrook.


  • General -- Ft. Collins, Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Walsenburg This is the "hikelist" page on the Colorado Hiking website, emphasizing routes near the above five cities. Links to comprehensive hike descriptions include info on TOTAL elevation gains. Most have 3D maps, excellent photos...a great resource for this part of Colorado.


  • General ProTrails.com website has in-depth pages for a couple dozen popular Colorado hikes, emphasis on Rocky Mountain NP. Good photos, details, descriptions...great source for excellent hikes that may not be the best-known trails, but generally provide a less crowded experience. And this site has a good mix of the top popular routes as well. Webmaster Dave Schwartz is one of those people who definitely knows his way around RMNP, so take advantage. Good source of info.


  • Great Sand Dunes National Park -- High Dune hike across the "beach" and on through the dunes is described in detail on this page from NaturalBornHikers.com. Good photos, good info, good clicking.


  • Hovenweep National Monument here's another blog by Todd Lochmoeller, a local resident with a lot of mileage on these trails. Covers the key trails, as well as a few you might not be familiar with if you rely solely on the regular sources. Great photos too.


  • Indian Peaks Wilderness Boulder Ranger District of Arapaho & Roosevelt NF. Good site with maps, trail descriptions, comprehensive info. Excellent USFS site.


  • Leadville Area online descriptions, maps, links. Courtesy Leadville.com. Good site with comprehensive info on Leadville area hiking and biking.


  • Long's Peak summit climb described on the NaturalBornHikers.com site. Good lengthy description and dozens of photos will give you an excellent understanding of what to expect. A superior page in every respect.


  • Maroon Bells we turn again to the Natural Born Hikers for this very descriptive page on a 3.6 mile hike in the Maroon Bells Wilderness. This is "calendar country," land of marmots, aspens, and that famous Maroon Bells reflection. "Calendar Country" means you go there and say, "Hey! I've seen this place on a scenic wall calendar!" Then you try and take the same photo and it looks like a shot taken by a tourist with no photography skills. Not sure why that is.


  • Never Summer Wilderness Here's a terrific essay on a 5 mile hike by photographer Sam Cox into this wild and remote region. Good photos, description, etc. If you aren't familiar with it, Never Summer is a sort-of arctic zone; awesome place.


  • Rawah Wilderness northern Colorado high country hiking trails described in detail on a site by Resource Analysis Systems. They're an environmental research firm that just happens to provide an awesome resource for us hiker types. Detailed specs, good photos, excellent reading.


  • Rocky Mountain National Park -- Andrews Glacier hike past Nymph Lake, Hallet Peak, etc. hike is 5 miles from Glacier Gorge Junction, 10 miles round trip, max Elevation 11,700 feet with Gain of 2,460 feet. Strenuous hike from Bear Lake Trailhead, one of the best in Rocky Mountain National Park. Page features a great narrative and excellent photos, on the Natural Born Hikers website.


  • Rocky Mountain National Park -- Gem Lake Short but rewarding 1.8 mile hike with one of the key "calendar" vistas in Rocky Mountain NP. Concise, informative page with all necessary details, map, description, etc. on the ProTrails.com website.


  • Rocky Mountain National Park -- Lawn Lake This little-used trail takes hikers into the beautiful Mummy Range to a tranquil high mountain lake. Well-written with all the facts and figures, by Thomas Osburn of Greenville, Texas. (This is on the OneDayHikes.com website, which we think is a rather stuffy way of saying "slackpacking." Seriously, now, the OneDayHikes.com site is one of the better commercial hiking sites we've seen.)


  • Rocky Mountain National Park -- Photography Not a hiking site, exactly, but a lot of hikers use cameras, and Michael Barton is somebody to emulate if you're into carting one along. Has some technical articles, quite helpful for digital shutterbugs. Look through his lens, learn how to make your landscape shots less hideous. You know, when you're showing hiking trip photos around the workplace, most people are thinking "what a nut" and "how much longer do I have to look at these dreadful photos?" But if you could take photos even remotely like these, people would line up to see them.


  • Telluride Area another blog by Todd Lochmoeller that provides a bunch of information on Lizard Head Pass and the key trails around town. Bridal Veil is covered of course, as well as some you might not be familiar with. Good site from one of the most knowledgeable hikers in Four Corners country.


  • Vallecito Creek Trail "virtual hike" through a series of photos and descriptions on the basecamp website by Homefront Studios. A different approach from the usual trail descriptions, quite enjoyable.


  • Santa Fe National Historic Trail Loosely preserved corridor from Missouri to New Mexico bisects Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado. It is frequently viewed from the comfort of an automobile, but numerous sections can only be hiked. This page is part of the Kansas Heritage site, and is about the most comprehensive. Other useful links include the official National Park Service site, as well as the more comprehensive Santa Fe Trail Association site. Another helpful guide to get you started is this site, which focuses on Colorado & New Mexico.


Would you like to be...in Colorado

Alright, so a third of Colorado is flat as a pancake; we like that part too. It's like an extension of Kansas. In fact, the only downside to Colorado is that some of the way cool places are way too expensive. But, as my fellow slackers point out, it's a big state.

I honestly believe that most of Colorado is so mind-numbingly beautiful that many otherwise intelligent people become complete morons. My favorite -- true story -- was a trigger-happy Ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park in 1993. I pulled up to his entrance fee booth, brandishing my Golden Eagle Pass. He stopped me, printed a receipt, handed me one of the colorful pamphlets, and then announced some nonsensical special parking rules in clipped, military style. I needed something from the trunk of my car, and based on his polished buttons and zealous adherence to rules written or otherwise, I asked him where I could safely egress my vehicle and retrieve the whatever it was. He said that I should turn around and use the small parking lot at the entrance to his little station. In other words, I had to turn around and go back and re-enter.

"You may do this carefully, and yield to other vehicles prior to turning."

He watched me the entire time, as I u-turned, dashed out and collected the item, dashed back to the driver's seat, and proceeded back to the entrance. All of this took about 20 seconds, and no other vehicles came or went in the meantime. I proceeded slowly with a casual wave, whereupon he stormed out of his little station, one hand on his sidearm, the other motioning me to return....but no, not to back up...

"You can't back up here, SIR, go around please."

Well, I was confused to say the least. So I looked carefully up and down the empty roadway, turned around, exited the station, turned again, and re-entered. Slowly. And this time I stopped.

"May I see your pass and receipt, please?"

I presented the one he had just given me, along with my pass, and he carefully examined both.

"Do not drive through a National Park Service entry station without stopping. You must show your pass every time."

But we just...

"THAT DOESN'T MATTER! You must show your pass every time sir. Enjoy your visit."

I honestly believe that I hold some sort of record for most vehicular entrances of a National Park within 60 seconds.

Real is how you feel...in Colorado

Fortunately, I've been able to find trail guides written by people who haven't lost their minds. For most of us, 100 Classic Hikes in Colorado by Scott S. Warren is the volume to carry. But, if you want to reach for the clouds, the well-known Colorado's Fourteeners: From Hikes to Climbs by Gerry Roach is the book to take you to the top. It even provides less strenuous hikes at or around the 14ers for those of us who aren't interested in week-long sieges. These links are to amazon.com, and in both cases, I have no problem recommending that you opt for a used copy (if you can find one). Sometimes used copies of earlier editions are available on amazon, and I think both these books were good enough to begin with, and I can vouch for the safety and success of purchasing used books from amazon's "marketplace" sellers.

Now, if you recognize the lyrics in the subheads from Hoyt Axton's On the Natural, give yourself a whopping nine points on the slackpacker music trivia scale. If you are under age 30, give yourself ten points.

-- Rick Bolger

Please click here for the Slackpacker web site

Want to add YOUR Colorado hiking page? It's free, it's easy, and there are no strings attached. Please click the "Submit a Site" button, above left, for instructions and complete information.

I found it cd by Brady RymerGot kids? Recently caught this guy, Brady Rymer, at a show in the northeast. Infectious to say the least, a fun, energetic sing-along type thing had the audience singing and grinning from ear to ear. Now don't ask why, but I bought the CD (my own kids are teenagers) and now I can't get these tunes out of my head. If you've got kids between the ages of 2 and 7 or thereabouts, you'll just love this music. So much better musically and lyrically than the usual drivel recorded for kids, that mind-numbing stuff that drives you nuts. If you don't have kids, you'll have to think up some other excuse for buying it. And when you do, let me know, because my daughters think I'm crazy. Not sure where'd you find it in stores, so here's a direct link to Amazon.com for I Found It! and again, the singer's name is Brady Rymer. Just great stuff, excellent gift for pre-K kids. For a preview, click the Youtube thingy below...

Google

Copyright © 2002-2008 Slackpacker
comments? rick(at)slackpacker(dot)com

There are no limits to growth, because there are no limits on the human capacity for intelligence, imagination, and wonder.

-- Ronald Wilson Reagan