Growing up in Colorado, outdoor activities and adventures have been a large part of my life. I had been on many hikes growing up, but last summer, I reignited my passion for exploring the outdoors and challenged myself to re-explore my beautiful home state.
I scoured the app Alltrails, reading reviews and receiving advice from seasoned hikers. I purchased a pair of quality hiking boots and found an adventure buddy. We averaged going on 1-3 hikes a week and compiled a list of must-see locations. From my hiking tour last summer, I’ve narrowed down this list to my four hiking trails (as of now!)
#1: Dream Lake
Ranked from easiest to most difficult, first on the list is Dream Lake located in the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park, this trail is recommended for any trail goer with varying experience levels.
With popularity among families and beginner adventures because of the short distance, stable incline, yet incredibly rewarding view. I completed this hike in January of this year. While the winter weather brought about a difference with the addition of snow equipment and caution to slippery terrain creating a new challenge, the view was incredibly breathtaking. I look forward to returning this summer and witnessing the beauty of the scene in the summer months.
#2: Chicago Lakes
The next up on the list is the Chicago Lakes Trail located in Idaho Springs. The out and back trail begins from the Echo Lake loop trail (as pictured below) and quickly descends into a variety of steep declines, massive cliff walls, and meadow areas.
Along the way, you can stop at the three lakes located along with different points of the trail which all add a variety of lengths to your trek. The variety in terrain is absolutely stunning and the location is perfect being close to one of Colorado’s most popular fourteeners, Mt.Evans.
For a post hike treat, I recommend stopping at Beau Jo’s pizza to celebrate your day long trek and try dipping your pizza crust in honey! I promise it’s delicious!
#3: Herman Gulch
Located in Georgetown, Colorado, the next hike is Herman Gulch Trail. Rated as moderate-hard on difficulty level, the steep incline and elevation gain leads to Herman Lake.
A After the initial steep ascent from the parking lot, the trail weaves in and out of trees, into small meadows with Herman Creek and mini rivers cascading across the landscape. The final segment of the path leading toward the lake is incredibly steep, but not impossible with encouragement from other hikers passing by saying “you’re so close, keep going” to “the view is worth it.”
Their sentiments are 100% accurate. The view of the lake is one of the most serene sights I’ve witnessed and brought about several moments of reflection. I encourage anyone up for the challenge to attempt this hike and gain the peaceful reward from the journey.
#4: Sky Pond
Sky Pond, located in Rocky Mountain National Park, is the final hike on my list of favorites! The 9.4 mile out and back trail, rated hard in difficulty offers stunning views through several switchbacks, multiple lake stopping points, wildflower meadows and ultimately a climb up and through a waterfall to reach the final portion of the hike.
The journey to Sky Pond tested my mental and physical limits. Climbing up a waterfall brought about a huge sense of accomplishment that confronted my fear of falling. Fellow trail goers were encouraging and friendly, willing to help one another when the climbs became difficult. The beauty of the landscape was so surreal making the long trek worth it. My advice: pack extra water and snacks, go at your own pace and enjoy every second of the journey!
This summer’s hiking season is already in full swing and I can’t wait to add to this ever-growing list of my recommended hikes and sites to see in Colorado!