See more of our great state – on foot and with a backpack!
Ron Nies, PE
Transportation Manager –
This summer, I was able to realize a dream of through hiking the entire Colorado Trail (CT) over 5 weeks from June 26 to July 29th. The CT is a 486-mile trail between Denver (starts at Chatfield Reservoir in Littleton) to Durango. You’ve probably seen signs and trail markers for the CT at highway crossings throughout the state. I wanted to do this hike because I’ve lived in Colorado most of my life and there still were many remote areas that I had not seen. Plus, by doing the whole trail at once, I could see the changes that occur from day to day in the terrain, vegetation and the scenery.
This was my first thru-hike of any kind, so I wasn’t totally sure what to expect. I estimated that I would cover 2.5 miles per hour, so to do the hike in 35 days, I would be averaging 15 miles or 6 hours a day of hiking. My actual pace was about 1.7 miles per hour, with all rest, water, and photo stops, so I ended up hiking more hours each day.
I enjoyed hiking by myself during the day, since it allowed me to set my own pace, but there were also plenty of others to hike with and also share campsites with. I was in the prime time for thru-hiking; early enough for the creeks to still be flowing well, yet having the trail clear of snow. So I met a lot of people, many from out of state, a good mix of newbies and veteran thru-hikers, and a few people doing the trail for a second or third time, just because they liked it so much.
The most amazing thing about this hike was how many mountains there truly are in Colorado. Sounds weird since we see them every day but you gain a new appreciation for them when you have to climb over or around them. Also, the high altitude mesas were amazing and the wildflowers were at their peak. I didn’t see as much wildlife as expected but did see one bear closer than I would prefer so that was enough for me!
A few photos will give you a sample of the trail. I hope everyone would look for a chance to do at least a part of the CT. Any section you pick will not disappoint!