Fall in Colorado means snow storms and sunny days all in one week. For many residents who love spending time outside, hiking season is far from over! Mike Fitzgerald shares these places to find quality hiking in Colorado before it snows… again…
This time of year can feel like a race against time with the upcoming winter snow season. Winter brings not only a lot of snow accumulation but also bitterly cold temperatures that make it harder to get outdoors. Between snowfalls, hiking in the late fall and early winter season is a great time to wear a light jacket and enjoy the changing colors. Consider these 5 places to go hiking this fall.
Tip: Make sure to call ahead to check the trail conditions in case a recent storm has arrived.
Elk Meadows is one of the most exciting hikes in Colorado for wildlife spotting. The park features many open space trails that offer a glimpse of herds of Elk. Located in Evergreen, this hiking opportunity is open daily from sunrise to sunset. You’ll find multiple pathways, including the Lewis Ridge Trail. More difficult options, like the Stagecoach Trail, may see snow sooner than its counterparts. There are over 14 miles of trails to choose from that feature rolling meadows, plenty of wildlife, and a wide range of difficulty.
Seven Bridges Trail
This moderate roundtrip hike is just under 6 miles long in one of Colorado Springs’ best outdoor places, Manitou Springs. The area is within the valley near Pikes Peak, which means many of the trails will eventually close due to snow accumulation. Seven Bridges Trail features a beautiful hike that crosses seven well-kept bridges. The creek along the valley will have a strong current during the fall season that can be enjoyed from many parts of the trail. You’ll notice many beautiful trees and fall colors along the trail. Most hikers take about 2-3 hours to complete the trail in good conditions.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park
With many hiking trails to choose from, Golden Gate Canyon State Park offers a wide variety of sights to see just a short drive from the Denver area. The Raccoon Trail is one of the most popular trails that provides a moderate 2.5-mile loop. The path is easy to find behind the campground, and you’ll see plenty of foliage and wildlife along with plenty of other hikers on a busy day. View Panorama Point from the trail to see brilliant views of the Continental Divide and snow-capped mountain range.
Colorado National Monument
This national park offers many low elevation hikes that should be free of snow well into the early part of the winter. You’ll find short trails, like Window Rock Trail and Devil’s Kitchen Trail, that offer an easy-to-moderate hike that is great on a crisp fall day. Many of the trails are below 6,000 feet in elevation making them easier to hike as well. Consider grouping a few of the trails together to create your outdoor adventure near Grand Junction.
Alderfer and Three Sisters Park
If you’re looking for a great trail system to tackle with the family, consider Alderfer and Three Sisters Park in Evergreen. This unique park system has many trails to choose from — a map is heavily suggested not to get lost. You’ll find easy trails that all start at around 6,500 feet in elevation with loops as well as out and back trail types. The park is the perfect spot for those wanting to see unique rock formations, beautiful green meadows, and plenty of wildlife.
There are plenty of trails available all over Colorado to explore before the winter season descends over the area. Consider choosing easy day hikes together or moderately harder trails that will give you beautiful views of nearby snow-capped mountain ranges. Be sure to check trail conditions ahead of time to be sure that you won’t run into any closed trails. Check out all of these places to go hiking before it snows (again) in Colorado.
Mike Fitzgerald is an outdoor living expert and explorer with his sidekick dog, Champion. When he’s not traveling to nature’s most well-known beauty spots, he tends to the greenery surrounding his home.