Living in (or visiting) Colorado definitely has its advantages — great food, diverse cultures, beautiful weather, and some of the best hiking in the country. From butt busting inclines to gorgeous hikes among scenic forests, hiking in Colorado has something to offer both novice and experienced hikers alike. Here are 15 trails that offer the best hiking in Colorado. Everyone should try them at least once.
1.) Great Sand Dunes National Park
"Take a hike" from your regular trails and mountains by hiking this beautiful 30 square miles of dune-field (Word to the wise: Don't hike this in shorts if it's windy (I learned this the hard way!)
2.) Arapaho National Forest
via the USDA: "The forests and grassland (of Arapaho) encompasses 1.5 million acres and extends north to the Wyoming border, south of Interstate 70 to Mount Evans, west across the Continental Divide to the Williams Fork area and includes short grass prairie east of I-25. " You have your pick of the land!
3.) Castlewood Canyon State Park
Castlewood Canyon offers something for everyone with trails ranging from mild to moderate; short to long.
4.) Grand Mesa National Forest
Step out of your normal routine and into Grand Mesa National Forests (complete with stunning views of Bridal Veil Falls, Alpine Tunnel, and much more!)
5.) Crested Butte
Like the view? I'm here to tell you that there's A LOT more where that came from when you hike one (of the dozens) of Crested Butte's trails.
6.) Green Mountain
Close to the city, yet far enough away to experience nature and lush shrubbery as far as the eye can see.
7.) Gunnison National Park
via National Park Service: "Big enough to be overwhelming, still intimate enough to feel the pulse of time, Black Canyon of the Gunnison exposes you to some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock, and craggiest spires in North America." I know where I'll be headed this summer!
8.) Manitou Springs
1 mile. 2,000 vertical feet. 2,744 steps. My legs burn just thinking about it.. let's go!
Did you get a good look at this picture? Ouray is unreal (and they leave you no excuses for not hiking with their shorties, ambitious, and profound trails)! Purchase a print of this photo
10.) Pike National Forest
Called "the most diverse forest throughout the five-state Rocky Mountain region", Pike National Forest offers not only hiking, but cabin rentals, water recreation, and much more!
11.) Colorado Springs
A short drive from Denver, the Springs is surrounded by several gorgeous hiking grounds (including the Garden of the Gods, Palmer Park, and Red Rock Canyon).
12.) Rocky Mountain National Park
Arguably the most famous of Colorado hiking spots, RMNP boasts 300 miles of hiking trails, untouched nature, and diverse wildlife.
13.) San Isabel National Forest
Turn off your devices, pitch a tent, and enjoy Pike's "sister" Forest the way that nature intended.
14.) Rio Grande National Forest
Dubbed one of the undiscovered jewels of Colorado, RGNP offers a unique experience you won't find anywhere else sporting caves, Native American rock art, and more!
15.) White River National Forest
The most visited national forest in the nation -- and for good reason! With 12 ski resorts and trails galore what's not to love?!
Which of these trails have you hiked? Are there any that deserve a place on our list? Tell us about them in the comments!