Summer Hiking in Colorado: Adventure Awaits at Every Peak

Discover the best hiking resorts in Colorado. Get tips on what to wear, how to prepare, and explore scenic trails at Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail, Beaver Creek, and Crested Butte.

Friends hiking on Horseshoe Bowl at Breckenridge

Explore Scenic Hiking Destinations in Colorado: Top Trails & Tips

When it comes to hiking, Colorado's high-altitude trails and stunning landscapes offer some of the best experiences in the United States.

From the towering peaks of the Continental Divide’s “Fourteeners” to the lush valleys, there's something for every hiker in the Centennial State.

Let's explore some of the most unique hiking experiences near Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail, Beaver Creek, and Crested Butte.

A Summer of Scenic Peaks

Summer hiking in Colorado offers an escape into nature's grandeur, where the iconic Continental Divide forms the backbone of many breathtaking trails.

This natural divide stretches from Alaska to Mexico, with Colorado boasting some of its most impressive sections.

Hiking these trails means you’re walking along the very spine of North America, where rivers begin their journeys to either the Atlantic or the Pacific.

Summer Weather and What to Pack for Colorado Hiking

Colorado's weather can be as varied as its landscapes.

In the high country, expect cooler temperatures even in summer, with potential afternoon thunderstorms. Lower elevations may offer warmer, more stable weather, perfect for extended hikes.

Here’s a brief gear checklist to ensure you're prepared for any conditions:

  • Layers: Essential for managing the drastic temperature changes from morning to afternoon.
  • Waterproof Jacket: For unexpected summer showers.
  • Sturdy Hiking Boots: Well-broken-in boots to avoid blisters.
  • Hydration System: A CamelBak or water bottles to stay hydrated.
  • Sun Protection: Hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen—in lip balm form too!— to protect against high-altitude UV rays.
  • Navigation Tools: Map, compass, or GPS to stay on track.
  • First-Aid Kit: One per group.
  • Illumination: Flashlight or headlamp
  • Insulation: Down Jacket, fleece, or sweater. 

Hiking Trails Near Mountain Resorts 

Breckenridge: Diverse Trails and Historic Charm
Breckenridge offers a mix of trails that showcase both its historical mining roots and stunning alpine scenery. Known for its high-altitude hikes and rich history, it's a destination that caters to all hiking levels.

  • Mohawk Lakes Trail: Explore historical mining sites and serene alpine lakes on this moderate hike.
  • Quandary Peak Trail: A challenging route to a 14,265-foot summit, offering panoramic views.
  • Peaks Trail: A scenic 8.5-mile trail connecting Breckenridge to Frisco, perfect for a day hike.

Keystone: Serene Wilderness and Stunning Views
Keystone is known for its tranquil trails and breathtaking vistas. This resort offers a peaceful escape with lush forests and clear mountain streams.

  • Montezuma Basin: A serene hike through lush forests and past clear streams, ideal for nature lovers.
  • Snake River Trail: Four-mile trail that links the east end of the resort to the east bay, before it connects with a short, yet challenging climbing to Swan Mountain.
  • Sapphire Point: A short, family-friendly loop with panoramic views of Dillon Reservoir and the Tenmile Range.

Vail: Luxury and Wilderness Combined
Vail seamlessly blends luxurious amenities with rugged wilderness. Its extensive trail system offers something for everyone, from easy strolls to challenging hikes.

  • Booth Falls Trail: A moderate 4.2-mile hike featuring a beautiful waterfall and stunning valley views.
  • Gore Range Trail: Challenging terrain with breathtaking views of Vail Valley and surrounding mountains.
  • Berrypicker Trail: A scenic hike that connects Lionshead Village to the top of Eagle Bahn Gondola, offering sweeping vistas.

Beaver Creek: Family-Friendly and Accessible
Beaver Creek is perfect for families and those new to hiking, offering gentle, well-maintained trails with beautiful scenery.

  • Beaver Lake Trail: A gentle, family-friendly hike ending at a pristine alpine lake.
  • Village to Village Trail: Connects Beaver Creek to Arrowhead, offering stunning vistas and diverse ecosystems.
  • Overlook Trail: Provides sweeping views of the entire Beaver Creek Resort and surrounding areas.

Crested Butte: Wildflower Capital and Mountain Majesty
Crested Butte is renowned for its spectacular wildflower displays and dramatic mountain landscapes, making it a haven for athletes, nature enthusiasts, and photographers.

  • Snodgrass Mountain Trail: An easy to moderate hike with expansive views of the Elk Mountains and wildflower meadows.
  • West Maroon Pass: A challenging route from Crested Butte to Aspen, passing through some of Colorado's most beautiful scenery.
  • Judd Falls Trail: A short, picturesque hike to a stunning waterfall, surrounded by vibrant wildflowers in summer.

Reminders for a Safe and Enjoyable Hike

Hiking in Colorado's high country is a one-of-a-kind experience, but it comes with its own set of challenges. Here are a few reminders to keep your adventure safe and enjoyable:

  • Break in Your Boots: Never start a hike with brand-new boots. Blisters can quickly ruin your day.
  • Pack Smart: Always carry the essentials listed above. And don't forget your sunscreen!
  • Stay Hydrated: The high altitude can dehydrate you faster than you think. Drink water regularly.
  • Acclimate: Spend a day or two at higher elevations to acclimate before attempting more strenuous hikes.
  • Weather Watch: Monitor the weather—and expect changes. Afternoon thunderstorms are common. Start early and aim to be below the treeline by noon.

Hit the Trail in Colorado this Summer

Hiking in Colorado's majestic landscapes is a summer adventure that promises unforgettable memories.

Whether you’re scaling a fourteener or strolling through a wildflower meadow, these trails offer something special for every outdoor enthusiast.

So lace up your boots, pack your gear, and get ready to explore some of the best hikes in Colorado.