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Advanced Hiking Trails in Colorado

Colorado is a hiker's paradise. With its rugged mountains, lush forests, and breathtaking vistas, it's no wonder that hikers from all over the world flock to this state. While there are plenty of beginner and intermediate hiking trails in Colorado, there are also many advanced trails that are perfect for experienced hikers looking for a challenge. Let's explore some of the best advanced hiking trails in Colorado!
Maroon Bells Four Pass Loop
25.7 mi. round trip | 7,752 ft. elevation gain
The Maroon Bells Four Pass Loop is one of the most iconic hiking trails in Colorado. This 27-mile loop takes hikers over four high mountain passes, each over 12,000 feet in elevation. The trail offers stunning views of the Maroon Bells, as well as alpine lakes, meadows, and forests. This is a challenging trail, with steep ascents and descents, and hikers should be prepared for changing weather conditions.
Longs Peak
13.3 mi. round trip | 4,934 ft. elevation gain
At 14,259 feet, Longs Peak is the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, and the hike to the summit is strenuous. The trail takes hikers through forests, alpine tundra, and the famous "Boulder Field," a section of the trail where hikers scramble over boulders to reach the summit. The views from the summit are absolutely breathtaking, with panoramic views of the mountains and the Front Range.
Manitou Incline
4.0 mi. round trip | 1,978 ft. elevation gain
The Manitou Incline is a unique and challenging hiking trail located in Manitou Springs. Originally a cable car route, the incline is now a popular hiking trail with a steep 2,744-step ascent. The trail is a favorite among fitness enthusiasts and adventure seekers, offering breathtaking views of the mountains and Manitou Springs. The trail is not for the faint of heart, and hikers should be prepared for a strenuous workout and changing weather conditions. But for those who make it to the top, the sense of accomplishment and stunning views are well worth the effort.
Comanche-Venable Loop
12.3 mi. round trip | 3,884 ft. elevation gain
The Comanche-Venable Loop is a hiking trail located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of southern Colorado. This loop offers hikers stunning views of the surrounding peaks, as well as access to several high alpine lakes and meadows. The trail is challenging, with steep ascents and descents, and hikers should be prepared for changing weather conditions. Highlights of the trail include Venable Falls, the stunning beauty of Comanche Lake, and panoramic views of the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Hikers should also keep an eye out for the abundant wildlife that inhabit the area.
Bison Peak
11.8 mi. round trip | 3,736 ft. elevation gain
Bison Peak is located in the Lost Creek Wilderness of Colorado and takes hikers through dense forests and up steep, rocky terrain to the summit of Bison Peak, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Hikers may also encounter unique rock formations and stunning vistas along the way, making the trail a memorable and rewarding experience.
Sneffels Highline Trail
12.4 mi. round trip | 4,356 ft. elevation gain
The Sneffels Highline Trail is located in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado and offers hikers breathtaking views of the iconic Mount Sneffels and the surrounding peaks, as well as access to high alpine meadows and valleys. Highlights of the trail include wildflower-filled meadows, alpine lakes, and stunning vistas of the surrounding peaks. Hikers may also encounter wildlife such as elk and mountain goats along the way.
Gore Lake Trail
12.1 mi. round trip | 2,867 ft. elevation gain
Nestled in the heart of Eagles Nest Wilderness, the Gore Lake Trail is a challenging hiking trail known for its steep ascents and descents, taking hikers through dense forests and high alpine valleys, with breathtaking views of towering peaks and sparkling alpine lakes. The trail is remote and less traveled, giving hikers a serene and peaceful experience, and wildlife such as moose and marmots can be spotted along the way.
Mirror Lake Trail
14.8 mi. round trip | 2,500 ft. elevation gain
The Mirror Lake Trail is in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness of northern Colorado. The trail offers views of cascading waterfalls, dense forests, and alpine valleys, leading hikers to the serene and reflective Mirror Lake. Moderately challenging, the trail provides a variety of activities such as fishing, camping, and backpacking, and the opportunity to spot wildlife. The trailhead is easily accessible from Steamboat Springs, making it a popular destination for day hikes and weekend trips.

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