For 485 miles between Denver and Durango, the Colorado Trail (CT) winds over rocky, 13,000-foot peaks and passes, through wildflower-filled meadows, in and out of dusty mining towns, and past snow-clad vistas as it draws a line through Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. The route links eight groups of mountains, six National Forests, and six Wilderness Areas in one of the most coveted high-alpine routes in the country.
But taking on this classic middle-distance long trail is no small feat: Due to its rugged nature, the Colorado Trail requires almost as much planning and prep as longer hikes like the Continental Divide Trail (which shares over 200 miles of its route with the Colorado Trail) or the Appalachian Trail.
History of the Colorado Trail:
A relative newcomer to the nation’s long trail repertoire, the Colorado Trail came into being in the 1970s and 80s as a cooperative project between the US Forest Service and the Colorado Mountain Trails Association. Workers pounded in “golden spikes” at Molas Pass, Camp Hale, and Mt. Princeton to symbolize the completion of the trail in September of 1987. Read more…