The Best Backpacking Trails in Colorado

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This is a review about the best backpacking in Colorado. If the mountains are calling, they’re likely calling straight from Colorado. Few things come close to the majesty of the Rocky Mountains jutting skywards amidst the Colorado skyline. Combine this with the scent of pine forests and the captivating lure of wildflowers and the average backpacker can’t resist stuffing a pack and heading for the trail.

Colorado has some of the best backpacking the U.S. has to offer. From day trips to week long backcountry treks, the wanderlust stricken adventurer will find something to fit their mood in Colorado, and the following hikes are just a glimpse at the majesty you’ll find on the trails of the Centennial State. 

Best backpacking in Colorado

The Four Pass Loop

If you’re interests are peeked towards backpacking in Colorado, odds are somebody is going to throw out a mention or two of the Four Pass Loop of the White River National Forest, and for good reason. This trail isn’t the longest or most remote, and you probably won’t be completely alone on trail either, but what else would you expect from a trail that is absolutely stunning?!

This loop features the stunning clash of crimson mountain peaks with green meadows and pine forests. The loop in its entirety is 23 miles of intense elevation sure to thrill the mountain seeking backpacker. Pack a bear canister, give yourself some grace to adjust to altitude, and dive into one of Colorado’s most revered trails.

Buffalo Peaks Wilderness

If you’re not in the mood for the rigor and duration of a hike like Four Pass Loop, the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness may be more up your alley. Opt for a day hike, or spend a couple days and a night in this pristine, far more secluded area. The Buffalo Peaks Wilderness features an 11 mile trail through rolling hills, small lakes, green meadows, and an array of quality campsites and stunning peaks. Make sure you’re well read on your wilderness rules and protocols, because once you get a glimpse of the pristine nature of this place that last thing you’ll want to do is leave a trace!

Rocky Mountain National Park

You can’t talk about backpacking the best of Colorado without mentioning the Rocky Mountain National Park. After all, the iconic Rocky Mountains are some of what Colorado is known best for. The Rocky Mountain Wilderness could very well overwhelm the senses, were it possible, with the vast array of beauty and wildlife a hiker can find here.

The park itself offers a variety of trails from arduous and overnight, to simpler day strolls. If you’re after the simpler end, go with Glacier Gorge to enjoy a scenic lake view, or opt for Longs Peak for an overnighter that’s sure the challenge even the hardiest of backpackers.

Features and Specifications

Backpacking in Colorado is sure to thrill the senses and challenge the body, be on the lookout for the following:

  • Colorado features a vast network of national and state parks that are professionally maintained and patrolled to insure great hiking and quality outings.
  • You won’t encounter any shortage of options among the array of hundreds of hiking trails featuring all levels of length, difficulty, and variety.
  • You’ll find more than jagged peaks in Colorado. The scenery the state has to offer features pristine lakes, wildflower covered meadows all alive and buzzing with wildlife.
  • Colorado is an ideal place to grow and fine tune your skills as a backpacker. You can go for challenging and well beaten trails, or go off the path and opt for pristine backcountry trekking.

What Customers Are Saying

You’ll be incredibly hard pressed to find any serious backpacker disappointed with the backpacking Colorado has to offer. Adventurers who set their feet for Colorado rave about the majesty of the Rocky Mountains as well as the beauty of Colorado’s wildflowers and pine forests.

If there were to be any complaint you might find when it comes to backpacking in Colorado, it’d probably be that there can sometimes be crowds during the peak summer months. But in reality this only makes sense with a place a beautiful as Colorado, of course a lot of people want to get out there and experience it! If you’re going in the peak tourist season, it might be best to opt for the more isolated trails if you’re hoping for some alone time. In all, we can’t help but recommend Colorado to any backpacker wanting to experience some of the most pristine beauty America has to offer.

Who Should Backpack in Colorado

As already mentioned, Colorado has trails to accommodate practically any level of hiker, but in general Colorado is ideal for the backpacker who wants to challenge and develop their skill set. The hiker who isn’t afraid to gain some elevation and get out where the wild things roam will be more than satisfied with the backpacking in this state.

Who Shouldn’t Backpack in Colorado

Depending on exactly what trails you opt for in Colorado, in general, you can expect some consistent elevation gains and a lot of wildlife. If the thought of crawling insects, flies, and the occasional deer unsettles you, backpacking in Colorado might not be up your alley.


Colorado isn’t necessarily a hidden gem of America, but it nonetheless is one of the most beautiful. Colorado is perfect for the backpacker itching to get out onto amazing trails and into serene wilderness. I hope you liked our review about the best backpacking in Colorado.


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Meet the Author

'Mountain Man' John

'Mountain Man' John is a Survival and Preparedness enthusiast who loves everything outdoors. He has a passion for learning anything and everything to help sustain his and his families way of life post SHTF. He frequently shares his knowledge on a variety of topics from his hands on DIY projects, learning new skills such as hunting and trapping along with reviews on his Survival related purchases - Prepping has been in his family for generations, it's in his blood.