more about colorado hiking vacations
BACKPACKING & HIKING TRIPS IN COLORADO
Wildland Trekking offers trips in two Unique Colorado destinations:
- Rocky Mountain National Park: This national park is in many ways the heart of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. On a hiking trip to this beautiful park, you can see wildlife, waterfalls, pristine rivers, lakes and creeks, sweeping views, snowy mountain peaks, glaciers and much more. During every moment of a hiking or backpacking trip in Rocky Mountain National Park, you will be captivated by the incredible landscapes around you.
- Flat Tops Wilderness: You’ll become familiar with this Colorado secret gem if you join one of our Flat Tops backpacking trips. This destination is home to more than 100 lakes, volcanic peaks, waterfalls and more.
Whichever destination you choose, you’ll have an unforgettable experience exploring the sweeping beauty of Colorado.
types of colorado hiking tours
At Wildland Trekking, we know everyone is a little different. To make sure we have a trip that anyone can enjoy, we offer a variety of different types of hikes and tours in Colorado. Here are some of the options you can choose from:
- Colorado Backpacking Trips: With so many beautiful trails and sites, you’ll feel like a part of the scenery during a backpacking trip. These trips are best for guests looking for a demanding, adventurous wilderness experience.
- Basecamp Hiking Tours: we have one basecamp tour in Colorado – our Rocky Mountain National Park Basecamp Tour. This trip combines a series of adventurous day hikes with comfortable frontcountry camping, fantastic outdoor cooking, and access to showers.
- Inn-Based Hiking Tours: Similar to the basecamp tour, these trips combine adventurous day hikes with accommodations and meals on a multi-day tour, except that these are based in lodges, hotels and inns instead of camping. Meals are a combination of restaurant/lodge meals and picnic meals prepared by your guide.
- Rocky Mountain Snowshoe Tours: Hiking isn’t just for warmer weather. Available only in Rocky Mountain National Park, you’ll see the park in a whole new light, covered in pristine snow! You can even take a snowshoe tour over several days or experience the fun during a day hike.
When to Hike Colorado
The state of Colorado offers a diversity of hiking opportunities, from high in the Rocky Mountains to low down in the deserts of Western Colorado, near the Utah border. We are focusing this information on when to do trips that Wildland Trekking offers in Rocky Mountain National Park and the Flat Tops. Both of these areas are high up in the mountains, where the scenery that Colorado is most famous for is at its best.
The short answer of when to hike Colorado is “summer.” But it is more nuanced than that because the summer months each offer a different experience. And winter months offer snowshoeing and skiing opportunities that are magnificent. To help understand the nuances of when to visit, we have provided descriptions below of the primary hiking/snowshoeing months in Colorado:
- June marks the beginning of the summer hiking season in the Rocky Mountain State. It is great for hikes below treeline, but above treeline there can often be quite a bit of snow. Also, the creeks and rivers that drain the Rockies can be swollen in June, making river crossings more difficult. All in all, June is an excellent month to get your walking legs under you in Colorado.
- July is the first month of the year when the alpine snowpack is mostly gone, rivers and creeks are back to lower levels, all trails are open, and the hiking is at its peak. Think about alpine treks this time of year, hikes to the tops of 14ers like Longs Peak, and long wilderness hikes like our Mummy Range Trek.
- August is arguably the best month of the year to explore the Rockies on foot. Warm days and cool nights make for excellent hiking and sleeping, so a Rocky Mountain backpacking trip is a great option. Day hiking is also fantastic though. By mid August the crowds (especially on weekdays) are thinning out, most bugs are gone, and the mountains are at their prime.
- September is perhaps the most under-appreciated month for hiking the Rockies and for Colorado backpacking trips. The days are still warm, and the nights are getting cooler which can be lovely. Fewer people are in the mountains since schools are in full swing. By late September the elk can be “in the rut” and bugling, which is a joy to hear. Finally, also by late September, the Aspen are often beginning to show the first signs of fall colors.
- October is good for hiking through the first week or possibly into mid October. Days and nights are cool, the backcountry will be quite empty, and the Aspen will will be in their full autumn glory with yellows, reds and oranges exploding across the mountains.
- November-March, i.e. winter months in the mountains, are of course not good months for hiking. But they offer the joys of skiing and snowshoeing instead. The mountains in winter are quiet, peaceful and astonishingly beautiful with frozen lakes and creeks and active winter wildlife (never guaranteed of course.) We offer half-day, full-day and multi-day snowshoe tours in Rocky Mountain National Park.
I’ve Never Heard of the Flat Tops – Are They Worth It?
Yes! The Flat Tops Wilderness is a remote, off-the-beaten-path range in northwestern Colorado. The Flat Tops rise out of the lower country as a magnificent plateau with an abundance of alpine lakes, high ridges and summits above treeline, pristine creeks and wonderful mountain solitude. If you’re looking for a more unique experience with fewer people, the Flat Tops offer a wonderful opportunity.
Safety Considerations in Colorado
As mentioned above, our Colorado hiking and backpacking tours feature both backcountry trips (backpacking, portered and llama treks) and frontcountry trips (inn-based and basecamp tours.) The safety considerations will vary depending on which option you go with.
On backcountry trips the primary safety considerations are black bears, lightning storms when above treeline, and river crossings. Of these 3, lightning is the main one that also applies to frontcountry trips. We use bear cannisters to securely store food, and we keep very clean camps to avoid attracting bears into camp. We have never had a serious bear incident in Colorado. To avoid lightning storms, we leave camp early when we know we are going to be hiking above treeline. Thunderstorms often form in the afternoons, so the key is being up and over any high passes or plateau before the storms set in. And river crossings on our trips tend to be quite manageable; the main consideration is using your trekking poles effectively to avoid slipping on wet rocks. If needed, your guide can also ferry your backpack across the river so you can cross less encumbered.