If you think Rocky Mountain National Park is beautiful just wait until you see the rest of Colorado. We don't want to keep you, so just dive right into our suggestions for some of the best day hikes and backpacking trips around Rocky Mountain National Park.
Steamboat Springs: Upper Fish Creek Falls
5 miles out-and-back
Close to Steamboat Springs, this popular waterfall is considered by many to be one of Colorado's best. From the main parking lot on Fish Creek Falls Road, begin a short 0.5-mile descent to Fish Creek and Fish Creek Falls. After crossing the creek and checking out the lower falls, begin a steep ascent through a rich aspen forest prime for late fall hiking. In 2.5-miles the trail emerges at Upper Fish Creek Falls. Snap some photos and then head back the way you came. (Luckily it's mostly all downhill)
Ft. Collins: Greyrock Mountain (Roosevelt National Forest)
7 miles out-and-back
Perfect for a short day hike, this 7-mile out-and-back catapults hikers nearly 2,000-feet to the summit of Greyrock Mountain. (Don't worry the elevations worth it; the views are pretty amazing.) To hike, park along Hwy 14-sings point the way-and begin hiking along the Poudre River. The trail soon leaves the river and ascends 2,000 feet to Greyrock's summit. The last few hundred feet is a non-technical scramble with a few dead ends, but the route is never fully exposed or treacherous. To return, scramble back down the mountain and head back down the trail to your car.
Nederland: Arapahoe Pass (Indian Peaks Wilderness)
6.25 miles out-and-back
Popular with locals searching for spectacular early summer wildflowers, this relatively moderate day hike includes cascading waterfalls and open valleys framed by jagged peaks. From Nederland, head 8.9 miles to the Fourth of July Trailhead. The parking lot fills up early, so if you see cars parked on the dirt road it might be best to just park there. The trail gradually climbs through old spruce trees, before cresting tree line emerging into a spectacular alpine valley dotted with seasonal streams and lush tundra. Pass old remnants of the Fourth of July Mine and continue along a steady 1-mile ascent to Arapahoe Pass. At the pass drink in 360-degree 50-mile views complete with shimmering lakes, towering peaks, and deep valleys. To return simply follow the trail back down to your car.
Devils Thumb and Kings Lake (Indian Peaks Wilderness)
2+ Days, Think of this two-day adventure as if walking into a postcard and becoming completely overwhelmed in Colorado's awesome beauty.
Easily expanded to three, four, or five days, begin your journey from the Hessie Trailhead just a few miles from Nederland. The first day is a 6.4-mile hike to Devils Thumb Lake through open meadows and healthy subalpine forest. Campsites are first come, first serve, and if full there is more backcountry camping available just a short distance up the trail. Fish the evening light away as Devils Thumb looms ominously overhead to the west rising 12,285 feet high.
Day two begins with a strenuous 1.1-mile assent up Devils Thumb Pass (11,747) where the trail makes a hard left merging onto the High Lonesome Trail. It is here you can easily add mileage to your journey. Instead of turning left make a right and hike up the spine of the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
At the Continental Divide Trail junction, turn left and head down a steep grade to Kings Lake, a dark blue pocket of water at the bottom or a large cirque. Passing Kings Lake the trail continues to steadily descend through open tundra, lush meadows, and healthy uniform forest. The trail eventually meets back up with Hessie Trail and your car.