The Rockies are one of the most challenging and exhilarating range of mountains straddling more than three thousand miles starting from British Columbia in Canada to New Mexico in the South-West of the United States. The Rockies are every hiker’s dream of challenging trails and wilderness with a variety of wildlife and beautiful lakes. The mile-high state of Colorado sits right in the middle of the Rockies and Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park contains numerous trails to occupy one’s time when visiting the state. John Denver’s emotional song ‘Country Road’ succinctly epitomises the beauty of the Rockies.
There is a wide range of hiking trails for people of various fitness and skill levels ranging from challenging lung-bursting steep mountain climbs to the more relaxed jaunts that offer equally exciting sceneries of the peaks without losing one’s breath.
The Frisco to Vail Thru Hike stretches for 13.55 miles from Frisco to Vail and is considered a moderate to strenuous hike. The elevation at the starting point is 9,157 feet with the highest elevation being 11,917 feet. The closest towns are Frisco and Vail. The hike is a wildflower delight and those wanting to see fields of wildflowers should not miss this trail. The Eagles Nest Wilderness Area is the place that makes this hike worthwhile. The hike itself is made up of two connecting trails, called Meadow Creek and Gore Creek which winds through forests and alpine terrain. If the hike distance is too long then there are other similar wildflower areas, especially at the 10.25 mile.
Another equally interesting but strenuous trail is the Grays and Torreys trail stretching for 8.35 miles both ways, including both peaks. The start elevation is at 11,259 feet and the top elevations are the peaks, Grays Peak at 14,270 feet and Torreys Peak at 14,267 feet. The closest towns are Georgetown and Idaho Springs. The climbing of two fourteen thousand high peaks in one day is undoubtedly a tough but rewarding challenge that highly-committed hikers will be able to tackle in a single day as the connecting strip between Grays and Torreys peak is short. The route is filled with astounding views of glaciers set against the backdrop of the Rockies.
A moderate hike for those are who are not able to take on strenuous activities is the Hall Ranch also known as the Bitterbrush Trail to Nelson Loop. The trail is 9.4 miles with the start elevation at 5,521 feet and the top elevation 6,703 feet wit the closest town being Lyons. The Bitterbrush and Nelson trails are set amidst the mesas and meadows of the Hall Ranch formation located east of the Rockies. Although the trail is situated on lower terrain as compared to the traditional hikes in the mountains, the views are equally fascinating. Hiking along this route with a rich wildlife is a good choice for those not acclimatized to the Rockies’ high altitudes as the location has an excellent view of the Front Range. And the elevation is only a little higher than that of the Denver metro area.
There are easier routes for those wanting to just relax and enjoy the scenery without any exertion whatsoever. The Pawnee Buttes grassland is one such trail stretching for 4.1 miles with a start and finish elevation of 5,435 miles with the closest town being Ault. The Pawnee National Grasslands is one of Colorado’s most surreal and stunning landscape with intricately carved hills, gullies and mesas carved out of grassland prairies. The trail which connects the West and East Pawnee buttes are to be enjoyed from far.
These are a few of the trails that are found in the Rockies. The best time to go hiking is in the autumn when the trees start turning various shades of golden brown.