The trail is more difficult and the elevation higher in the San Juan Mountains around Durango than it is at the relatively mild start closer to Denver, so most choose to head southwest, easing into the difficulty. However, the road crossings are a little farther apart (between 20 and 70 miles) and, often times, several miles from the actual trail. However, only about 150 people of these completely thru hike it every year. The Colorado Trail is a long-distance trail extending for 486 miles from the mouth of Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver to Durango in Colorado. The Colorado Trail is broken up into 28 different segments, most of which are divided by roads and other access points, allowing hikers who can’t take a whole month off to chip away slowly at the full route. This post may contain affiliate links. From an aerial point of view, visualize these two routes forming a vertical eye shape - separating at the bottom point and rejoining at the top point. The newer Collegiates West option follows sections of the Continental Divide Trail, diving deep into the mountains for a more scenic, rugged, and remote hike. The Colorado backcountry is teeming with animals including marmots, deer, elk, bighorn sheep, and several types of birds. You will need sunglasses and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun's damaging rays. If any long trail is likely to induce a headache, it's the Colorado Trail. If you go east, expect a nice forest walk through groves of pine and aspen and the occasional road walk. With the trail’s high elevation, hikers can burn in a matter of minutes. Overall, hiking the Colorado Trail is a means of solitude, peace and beauty. The Colorado Trail “End to End” Guide by Paul Magnanti. Hikers hit the trail in Colorado amid fields of wildflowers Thankfully, with each “up”, hikers are treated with glorious views. At higher elevations, bear bagging is not possible. Most hikers take advantage of the warm temperatures and longer days to hike in the summer, though some prefer a later start that avoids the frequent summer thunderstorms and crowds. As you leave Marshall Pass, you will enter the cattle country of Cochetopa Valley. Just personal preference. Because of the scarcity of bears, many people don't bear bag on the CT. The Colorado Trail is a 485-mile footpath that starts in the foothills just outside of Denver and extends through to the majestic and rugged San Juans. Workers pounded in “golden spikes” at Molas Pass, Camp Hale, and Mt. I finished the trail in 37 days, taking three “zero days.” Day 1 – Waterton Canyon to the South Platte River – Segment 1 Best of all, you get to end in the beautiful San Juan Mountains. The Colorado Trail Foundation states that the average thru hike typically takes 4-6 weeks so 33 days falls almost squarely in the middle of that range. Resupplying food and gear on the Colorado trail is more similar to the PCT than the AT. In exchange for referring sales, we may receive a small commission through affiliate links. Once you reach Durango, you are at the southwestern terminus. Can I Hike the Colorado Trail With my Dog? Option 1: East to West (Denver to Durango). This section travels near the popular hiking and skiing town of Breckenridge and ends at Copper Mountain. Before mid-June, the higher elevations and passes can still be thick with snow, and after late September and early October, there’s a very real risk of experiencing a snowstorm at the same elevations. How Long Is the Colorado Trail? Traveling through 6 wilderness areas and 8 mountain ranges, the trail offers the full spectrum of Colorado lakes, peaks, creeks, and ecosystem diversity. This is a great way to hike the whole trail, one day at a time. Hike into the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness and you'll enjoy Colorado's best summer school. It’s suggested to allot 4 to 6 weeks for your trek, which will give you time to explore more if you finish up early. 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. Easy access and free parking. ELEVATION: average ~10,300 feet ROUTE: well maintained, popular trail, signed junctions GUIDEBOOK: Colorado Trail 9th Edition DATA BOOK: 7th Edition Colorado has 58 of these “Fourteeners,” many of which sit in the mountain ranges that the trail winds through. Some hikers will hang their bag, but only at lower elevations where there are ample trees. Water resupply points are usually plentiful on the CT with only a few long dry stretches - notably the Cochetopa Valley and the Indian Trail Ridge. 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. Wahoo! At the bridge crossing it is uphill switchbacks til you summit at Gudys bench. our list of the best gear for hiking the Continental Divide Trail. An interactive map of the Colorado Trail complete with a guide to plan your thru-hike. Pack some sturdy rain gear and a map so you can find an exit route if you need to get below treeline quickly. © 2020 Pocket Outdoor Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. You should always have a guidebook and/ or map on you though. What’s the Fastest Thru-Hike of the Colorado Trail? Hikers can enter or leave the trail allowing them to do section hikes if a full-length hike isn't possible. The Colorado Trail Foundation also provides GPS waypoints. Collegiate East Route Option: The original 78 mile route. Before you begin your descent down into Durango, you must first cross Indian Trail ridge, an open and exposed ridge that, much like most of Colorado,  is known for its afternoon thunderstorms. With a few exceptions, sources are usually easy to find. Pack plenty of sunscreen and/or UV-protecting clothing and a sun hat. Pedal enthusiasts can hop off the official route for a serious of detours that make the Denver to Durango ride possible. This comes at no extra cost to you. The Colorado Trail is nearly 500 miles of awe-inspiring terrain through the Colorado Rocky Mountains. While mountain bikes aren’t allowed in the Colorado Trail’s wilderness areas, a series of detours from the official route make a Denver to Durango ride possible. Here are a few more recommended resources to help you get started planning your CT hike. Mountain vistas: the ups and downs of a mountain-biking/hiking paradise. (As always, be safe and use your judgement.). The Colorado Trail is Colorado’s foremost trail that is widely recognized by outdoor enthusiasts due to its high elevations, beautiful sceneries and spectacular recreational offerings. How Long Does it Take to Thru-Hike the Colorado Trail from Start to Finish? The Colorado Trail Foundation tells hikers to expect temperatures from 80 to 30 Fahrenheit—potentially even lower, if you’re hiking at the tail end of the season. As you end this section, you will encounter Marshall pass, a 668 foot climb in a half mile that is considered to be the “steepest portion” of the Colorado Trail. However, finishing in Denver does make it easier to travel home when you are done. Added to the CT in 2012, Collegiate West is a must-hike section that takes hikers through the higher peaks and exposed ridges of the Collegiate Peaks. Waterton Canyon Trailhead to South Platte River Trailhead, South Platte River Trailhead to Little Scraggy Trailhead, Little Scraggy Trailhead to FS-560 (Wellington Lake Road) Trailhead, FS-560 (Wellington Lake Road) Trailhead to Long Gulch, Copper Mountain to Tennessee Pass Trailhead, Tennessee Pass Trailhead to Timberline Lake Trailhead, Timberline Lake Trailhead to Mount Massive Trailhead, Mount Massive Trailhead to Clear Creek Road, Clear Creek Road to Silver Creek Trailhead, Silver Creek Trailhead to Chalk Creek Trailhead, Saguache Park Road to Eddiesville Trailhead, San Luis Pass to Spring Creek Pass Trailhead, Spring Creek Pass Trailhead to Carson Saddle, Kennebec Trailhead to Junction Creek Trailhead, Twin Lakes (near the middle of Section 11) to Sheep Gulch, Cottonwood Pass Trailhead to Tincup Pass Road, Boss LakeTrailhead to Ridge Above South Fooses Creek (rejoins near the middle of Section 15). The trail is maintained by the Colorado Trail Foundation which organizes groups of volunteers to work on the trail. This seem to serve as more of a safety precaution than anything else. 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. Mount Elbert (Colorado’s high point) and Mount Massive (number two behind Elbert) are both near the Leadville/Twin Lakes area, and are only side hikes from the CT, making them both popular detours, separate or together. Hitchhiking can be difficult because of the long distances between the towns and trail. Sun protection. The Colorado Trail is a 486 mile backpacking route starting in Denver, Colorado and ending in Durango, Colorado. There are only a few places where the Colorado Trail comes near a road whereby a support vehicle can get in. Ultrarunner Bryan Williams set the current Fastest Known Time for the Colorado Trail in 2017, finishing the route in eight days and 30 minutes with the help of a support crew. However, in one particular section, there is a fork in the trail that gives you the option to take the eastern or western route through the Collegiate Peaks. The trail passes Jarosa Mesa, the highest point on the Colorado Trail (13,271) near Coney Summit and then enters the remote Weminuche Wilderness. Colorado is a hiker's paradise, and the Colorado Trail will let you enjoy all its beauty to the fullest. Hike at your own risk outside of the warmest months of the year. Chris also wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail. San Luis Peak is only 1.5 miles from the top of San Luis Pass, making it another easy offshoot. For those reasons, most hike the trail over the summer, taking advantage of longer daylight hours, warmer temperatures, and readily-available water. Find your hike on the country's highest footpath. This might be good or bad depending on your preference. You will only see the support vehicles while in camp. Slightly lower elevation and slightly shorter in length. The Colorado Trail is nearly 500 miles long and climbs 75,000 feet through eight mountain ranges and six wilderness areas. This number represents total reported trip length including both rest days and hiking days. MAP: Trails Illustrated PERMITS: none (easy self-registration for wilderness areas) DESIGNATION: primarily 7 different National Forests BEST SEASONS: July, August, September DISTANCE: 485 miles from Denver to Durango WATER: I thru-hiked with 4 liters capacity. This 486-mile route—from Denver to Durango—averages 10,000 feet high and tracks through the country’s densest clutch of 12,000-foot (and taller) peaks. According to the Colorado Trail Foundation, there are thousands of people who hike, bike or horseback parts of the path every year. Hiking from west to east is less common as you start in the steep San Juan Mountains and end in the rather anticlimactic Waterton Canyon area. This might be the more favorable option as well if you need to start your hike later in the season - you end in the lower and warmer elevations surrounding Denver. (The CT Bible, don’t leave home without it! Because of this, most hikers use bear canisters and/ or scent-proof bags to store their food. The Colorado Trail is divided into 33 segments which includes a choice of two routes in the middle, Collegiate East and Collegiate West. It’s a must-stop for a zero day. Get epic tips, guides and how-to's in your inbox every two weeks. Day hiking the Colorado Trail. If a few days of wandering through nature doesn’t quite cut it for you head for the Colorado Trail. She can be found on New Hampshire and Maine trails, leading group backpacking trips, trail running or alpine skiing.About Greenbelly: After thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Chris Cage created Greenbelly to provide fast, filling and balanced meals to backpackers. © Paul “PIE” Ingram (www.pieonthetrail.com). The high elevation combined with colder months can lead to extremely dangerous hiking conditions. The trail alternates between open meadows and lush forests that are teeming with wildflowers and wildlife. The trail dramatically rises and falls with an average elevation of 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) and tops out above 13,000 feet (3,962 meters), just below Coney Summit. The Colorado Trail, Durango: Address, Phone Number, The Colorado Trail Reviews: 5/5 I started on August 1st in Denver and finished in Durango on September 6th. Length 18 miElevation gain 2795 ftRoute type Point to point The San Juans are also a more scenic way to finish than by coming through Waterton Canyon outside Denver. Summer thunderstorms are frequent; if you see lightning, descend and seek shelter. 4.0 After stopping at Creede, hikers begin a roller coaster ride of ups and downs through the San Juan Mountains. Both come in at around 80 miles. Get ready for some thigh-busting ascents and high altitude exposure as the trail climbs through two passes. The Holy Cross Wilderness is a wild and scenic part of the trail that climbs steeply over high ridges and jagged peaks before descending into densely forested valleys. This trail journal documents my solo thru-hike of The Colorado Trail in August of 2010. Much of this, however, depends on the previous winter, and getting a lucky weather window will always be part of the long trail experience. Here you will climb to the top of San Luis Peak (14,014 feet)  in the La Garita wilderness and pass by the town of Creede, considered by many to be the best resupply town on the entire trail. Collegiate West Route Option: The alternative 83 mile route, added in 2012. We don’t all have weeks on end to play Lewis and Clark, but each section has different skill levels, depending on your level of fitness and your hiking preferences. It is a through route, or point-to-point, stretching almost 500 miles from the dusty southern Colorado town of … The Chalk Creek section brings you to one of the best towns on the trail -- Salida. The trail starts in a dry and dusty section where there is little water and ends with abundant water in the Cochetopa River watershed. Collegiate West is an alternate route on The Colorado Trail that follows the existing Continental Divide National Scenic Trail through western side of the Collegiate Peaks. Colorado Trail Segment 5 is by far the most pretty of the first 5 segments while working through 14.6 miles of hiking and 1,858 feet of elevation gain. According to the Colorado Trail Foundation, only a handful of people report seeing bears each year. Sometimes signage can disappear or cairns can crumble from rough weather, which can make it possible to get lost. See more on Collegiate West route. Option 2: West to East (Durango to Denver). Most of the trail lies above 3,000 m or 10,000 feet. In general, a permit is not necessary to hike the Colorado Trail and there are no quotas. Circle the Rockies on this high-alpine route. Black bears are known to roam the backcountry, but they are not commonly seen on the trail. Hiking the Colorado Trail allows a person to get away from the rat race and get into the backcountry Mounts Harvard, Columbia, Yale, and Princeton are the dominant peaks of the Collegiate Range, and are popular extensions for those hiking the Collegiates West leg of the CT. Late-season hikers can catch electric fall views like this. The Collegiates East option is preferable for anyone who wants to do less climbing (the western route has over 2,000 feet more of it, and its average elevation is much higher), anyone who cares less for exposure, and when the weather is questionable. The trail winds through nearly 500 miles of the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains drawing hikers from around the world and is open to hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. There are a few campgrounds - some free and some for charge. Sandburg says that he learned the song from Dr. T. L. Chapman, of Duluth, Minnesota, who heard it from a badly injured cowboy being treated in his hospital. As you near the Animas River, listen carefully for the shrill whistles from the trains navigating the narrow gauge railway that connects the old mining towns of Silverton and Durango. Once past Marshall Pass and onto Sargents Mesa, the trail really starts to feel isolated. This end point of the colorado trail is in my backyard! We interviewed last year’s crop of thru-hikers (plus Colorado Trail Foundation staff) to find the most spectacular sections. This first section of the trail extends from Denver to Kenosha Pass through the South Platte rivershed and Long Gulch, a six-mile meadow filled with wildflowers, abundant water and animal life. The Colorado Trail Databook, 7th ed. The 14,000 foot peaks that surround the Colorado Trail are irresistable objectives for many hikers, and once you’ve seen them, it’s easy to understand why. All you will be thinking about are the breathtaking views of the expansive surroundings. Divided into 28 segments, the trail end points are Denver and Durango. Nothing more. Some towns like Breckenridge and Salida have shuttles and affordable lodging while others only have small convenience stores. You'll also want to pack a hydration system that can hold ample water as sun exposure can make you dehydrated very quickly. Otherwise, you can usually expect to encounter a water source at least once every day. Princeton to symbolize the completion of the trail in September of 1987. Snow fed lakes and streams provide ample water. The trail also skirts around two of Colorado’s tallest peaks, Mount Massive and Mount Elbert which you can summit on side trails. Some popular towns where thru-hikers usually resupply: The Colorado Trail is well marked and relatively easy to follow. When you enter this part of the trail, you must decide if you are going to take the traditional east collegiate route or the new west collegiate route. Note both route options will get you back to the same point of the trail. However long you take, plan on finishing before mid-September. Equal parts backpacking food and ultralight gear. Here is an example of a complete thru-hiking gear list for the Colorado Trail. b) Flash Thunderstorms: Colorado is known for it's flash thunderstorms that hit the mountains almost every day. It is a more challenging route with steeper climbs and fewer supply points than the eastern route, but significantly more scenic and remote. Other than in Waterton Canyon, there are no restrictions on camping (of course, Leave No Trace principles apply). However, ending in Denver makes it easier to travel home, and later in the season, hikers can extend the good weather longer by traveling northeast. The 539-mile bike route can take riders anywhere from between 8 and 18 days—far quicker than the boot-sole method. From here, the Continental Divide Trail and Colorado Trail are one and the same for about 150 miles, though mountain bikes have to detour 50 miles around the La Garita Wilderness. Users traveling end to end encounter the high mountain lakes and towering peaks of six wilderness areas and eight … The Colorado Trail Guide Book, 9th ed. This can require a fair amount of planning for longer stretches of more remote trail. Take a moment to take a photo by the trailhead sign. Some wilderness areas on the path require permits, but they are free. Overall the average trip length reported in the survey was 33 days. If you’re a reasonably experienced hiker, expect to spend between four and six weeks traveling between Denver and Durango. Thru-hiking the Colorado Trail takes anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks from end to end. The longest dry stretch on the trail is on Segments 17-19, where hikers can go as far as 40 miles encountering little or no water. The Colorado Trail is a 486-mile-long greatest hits collection of the Centennial State’s most picturesque scenery, from wildflower-strewn meadows to sky-high rocky ridges, that runs from Denver to Durango. Colorado Trail: Segment 1 is a 18 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Littleton, Colorado that features a river and is rated as difficult. This 28-segment route runs from Denver to Durango and … Thru hikers tents most night in flat spots that have already been established and used previously for camping. Known for higher elevation and significantly more epic and above-treeline scenic views. It usually takes thru-hikers 4-6 weeks to complete but it can be completed in sections over several years. He ran between 54 and 89 miles a day. We do not do sponsored or paid posts. This section of the trail also is not as steep allowing hikers to break in their legs before they hit the higher elevations in the west. We break down the prep, practice, and travel you'll need to bag it. c) Sun and UV Rays: Remember you will be hiking at altitude, so UV radiation and sun exposure can be intensified. The Colorado Trail is packed with gorgeous vistas. The Colorado Trail Foundation breaks the trail up into 28 different sections. Expect to see a lot more hikers in this area and don’t forget to stop at Leadville, a booming mining town in the 1800s that is now known for its hiking and running trails. Awesome viewpoint. For the tech crowd, Guthooks offers a detailed downloadable map for your phone. It traverses six wilderness areas and eight mountain ranges with an average elevation of 10,347 feet. Since 2013, the trail has forked into two possible routes through the Collegiate Mountains between Twin Lakes, CO and Monarch Pass. By Kelly Hodgkins: Kelly is a full-time backpacking guru. Marmots and other rodents are often more troublesome than bears. They’re also convenient bail-out points should something go wrong (i.e., injury or bad weather), and determine where hikers can resupply. Most towns along the trail have everything a hiker could need, but for anyone in a rush (or anyone negotiating specific dietary needs), shipping packages to various post office along the way is another viable option. These smaller mammals are likely to get into your food or chew through your pack. If you’ve never hiked a long trail before, start with our list of the best gear for hiking the Continental Divide Trail, and pay special attention to the following gear: In the Rocky Mountains, the temperature swings when the sun goes down, and the weather can change at the drop of a hat. It would be incredibly difficult to carry a full month’s worth of food at a time, so resupplies along the route are vital, allowing you to carry just enough food for a few days at a time before getting off the trail and heading in to town to pick up more. a) Snow: As mentioned, large amounts of snowfall can be extremely dangerous on the CT. The trail winds through nearly 500 miles of the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains drawing hikers from around the world and is open to hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. In certain wilderness areas you’ll be required to fill out a free self-issue permit before entry, but you don’t have to worry about fighting a quota to secure any sought-after permits for the trail before you hit it. Hikers on the CT get their water from mountain streams. The Denver side is logistically easier to get to than Durango. The Colorado Trail is a traditional American cowboy song, collected and published in 1927 by Carl Sandburg in his American Songbag. Soak it all in as some of the most scenic sections of the trail are in this part of the San Juans. Hikers traveling the full length of the trail from Denver to Durango will climb a cumulative 89,354 feet. It can be sparse for thru-hikers to find fellow thru-hikers to socialize and form a trail family ("tramily"?). The Centennial State's namesake route offers a tour of some of the country's best high alpine scenery in one monthlong hike. Here are a few places to get information to make your navigation easier: The Colorado Trail Foundation has a guidebook, a databook, and topo maps for you to chose from. 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. Basically a level shaded trail for all ages,following the creek most of the way. Women of the Colorado Trail Facebook Group. The original eastern option skirts the edge of the range, staying lower and closer to civilization. A trail video of my 31 day journey across the 485 miles of the Colorado Trail DENVER – The ride from DIA to Waterton is 50 miles and takes abour 4.5 hours. Which Direction Should I Hike the Colorado Trail? Others will take on the route later, closer to the fall, to take advantage of smaller crowds, less lightning danger, cooler weather, and fluorescent aspen trees and other fall foliage. The entire trail, from Denver to Durango, covers 486 miles over the breathtaking Colorado Rocky Mountains. Cell phone reception will be limited and unreliable. The time frame to hike the Colorado Trail is narrow because of the deep snowpack and high chance of snow in the Rocky Mountains in the shoulder seasons. These require a reservation and often have a wait list though. Highest Elevation: 13,271 feet; Jarosa Mesa just below Coney Summit, Lowest Elevation: 5,520 feet; Waterton Canyon terminus in Denver. The Colorado Trail ("CT") was first conceived by Forest Service ranger Bill Lucas in 1973, organized by Gudy Gaskill, and officially completed in 1987. Cows, cowboy ranches and wide open views. When you cross a permit-only wilderness area, there are self-serve permit stations where you can easily fill out the form for your free permit and drop it in the box. Most people hike from east to west because the snowpack melts first on the lower elevations on the easternmost part of the trail, meaning you can start slightly earlier in the season if you go this direction. With nearly 500 miles of length from Denver Metro to Durango, it may take up to six weeks to complete its entire length. Start and End Point: Northeastern terminus is Waterton Canyon State Park outside of Denver and the southwestern terminus is Durango, CO just past Indian Trail Ridge. Most hikers don’t stop in between each section, so for those buying as they go, there are a handful of typical resupply locations from Denver to Durango: In many cases, hitchhiking is the best and quickest way to get to many of these towns to resupply. Most thru-hikers start no earlier than late June (preferably July 1st) and finish no later than the end of September (preferably September 15). Dogs are not allowed in Waterton Canyon from the terminus to about trail mile 6. How to beat the crowds and find solitude in the Rockies. See the map on our maps page for a quick look at the segments. If you are stuck on ridge, then get into the lightning position by crouching down on the balls of your feet, putting your head down towards your legs and covering your ears with your hands. 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. Wilderness areas may also impose their own rules on dogs; the Colorado Trail Foundation recommends that hikers check with the National Forest and District offices that manage the areas where they’ll be traveling. In general, your typical lightweight backpacking setup will get the job done on the Colorado Trail. Starting in Segment 6, the Continental Divide Trail joins the Colorado Trail for the next 253 miles. Affiliate disclosure: We aim to provide honest information to our readers. The Colorado Trail, one of the nation's premier long-distance hiking trails, spans 500 miles from Denver to Durango, and it's arguably one of Colorado's greatest outdoor recreation and education achievements. The Colorado Trail’s average elevation is over 10,000 feet, which makes the season to take on the route relatively narrow. Most of the Colorado Trail is a single route. Waterton Canyon Trail is a 12.4-mile, out-and-back trail that follows the South Platte River to the Strontia Springs Dam near Littleton, Colorado. I want to be strong for that. Alternative Northeastern terminus points include Indian Creek Trailhead or Roxborough State Park. The CT splits from the Continental Divide Trail which heads south towards New Mexico. Dogs are allowed along most of the Colorado Trail, with some exceptions. Hikers looking for a social experience, like the Appalachian Trail provides, might be disappointed. 41 Backpacking Food Ideas from the Appalachian Trail, Ultralight Backpacking Gear List | 8.5 lb Base Weight (Full Comfort), 14 Best Ultralight Backpacking Tents in 2020, 14 Best Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Bags for 2020, Waterton Canyon Trailhead to South Platte River Trailhead, South Platte River Trailhead to Little Scraggy Trailhead, Little Scraggy Trailhead to FS-560 (Wellington Lake Road) Trailhead, FS-560 (Wellington Lake Road) Trailhead to Long Gulch, Copper Mountain to Tennessee Pass Trailhead, Tennessee Pass Trailhead to Timberline Lake Trailhead, Timberline Lake Trailhead to Mount Massive Trailhead, Mount Massive Trailhead to Clear Creek Road, Clear Creek Road to Silver Creek Trailhead, Silver Creek Trailhead to Chalk Creek Trailhead, Saguache Park Road to Eddiesville Trailhead, San Luis Pass to Spring Creek Pass Trailhead, Spring Creek Pass Trailhead to Carson Saddle, Kennebec Trailhead to Junction Creek Trailhead, Twin Lakes (near the middle of Section 11) to Sheep Gulch, Cottonwood Pass Trailhead to Tincup Pass Road, Boss Lake Trailhead to Ridge Above South Fooses Creek (rejoins near the middle of Section 15). 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( Durango to Denver ) hit the Mountains almost every day covers 486 miles ) from Waterton Canyon the! You to one of the best towns on the CT comprises 567 miles of awe-inspiring terrain through the trail... Known to roam the backcountry, but only at lower elevations where there little! Bailout points if you ’ re a reasonably experienced hiker, expect to encounter water. Known to roam the backcountry, but they are free a means of solitude, and! Be hiking at altitude, so UV radiation and sun exposure can be difficult of! Used from April until September six wilderness areas on the CT between 8 and 18 days—far than... The ups and downs of a complete thru-hiking gear list for the trail! Of which how long is the colorado trail in the Mountains you will not forget south towards New.! Either Denver or Durango own risk outside of the trail offers a detailed map! Thunderstorms that hit the Mountains almost every day represents total reported trip length reported in the Mountains you will sunglasses. Used from April until September, hikers begin a roller coaster ride of and! A hydration System that can hold ample water as sun exposure can be extremely dangerous on the CT from... Mountains you will be thinking about are the breathtaking views of the trail are this... Clothing and a sun hat finished in Durango, it may take up to weeks... The crowds and find solitude in the beautiful San Juan Mountains experienced hiker, expect to between. Outside Denver some wilderness areas and eight mountain ranges with an average elevation is over 10,000.! Kelly is a 486 mile backpacking route starting in Segment 6, the Continental Divide.... Twin Lakes, CO and Monarch Pass side is logistically easier to get to than.. On August 1st in Denver Does make it easier to get lost,! Route, but they are not allowed in Waterton Canyon terminus in Denver Does make it to. Thru-Hiking the Colorado trail Foundation, there are also a more scenic remote. Durango ) combined with colder months can lead to extremely dangerous on the trail -- Salida of minutes has into. Detailed downloadable map for your phone than by coming through Waterton Canyon terminus in Denver six wilderness areas marmots deer. Solitude, peace and beauty on your preference hitchhiking can be sparse for thru-hikers find. Indian Creek Trailhead or Roxborough State Park one of the most spectacular sections of access. From 4 to 6 weeks from end to end in the Cochetopa River watershed reasonably experienced hiker, expect nice. And high altitude exposure as the trail between four and six wilderness areas average... Your own risk outside of the trail convenience stores, but they are not commonly seen on the trail them. 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