A Short Guide to Hiking the Colorado Trail
The Colorado Trail (CT) stretches across the Rocky Mountain Range from Denver to Durango. It takes you through some of the country’s highest elevations, most stunning scenery, and most temperamental weather.
From the flower-filled alpine meadows of the Sawatch Mountains to the dramatic craggy peaks of the San Juans, a hike on the CT is sure to be a journey full of challenges and rewarding experiences.
- Distance: 486 miles (give or take a few depending on whether you choose the Collegiate West or Collegiate East route)
- Time Needed: 4-6 weeks
- Highest Elevation: 13,334 ft. - Coney Summit
- Lowest Elevation: 5,520 ft. - Waterton Canyon
- Elevation Gain (approx.): 89,000 ft.
- Best Time to Hike: According to the Colorado Trail Foundation, July 1 to September 30 is the ideal window for hiking. Snow is typically still present along much of the trail before July. After September you run the risk of dealing with early-season snow storms.
- Permits: None
- Difficulty: Strenuous
- Nearly unending views since much of the trail is above treeline
- Lots of great resupply towns
- Tons of wildlife & wildflowers
- Social & friendly trail community
- Feeling amazingly capable & confident at the end of the journey
- You can peak bag some awesome 14ers on short side trails
- Well marked & maintained
August 31, 2022
Outdoor Life: Do You Really Need a Water Filter for Backpacking and Mountain Hunting?
While DEET products may be more familiar by name and their chemical smell, sprays with 20 percent picaridin, like Sawyer Products, offer comparable protection without the harsh odor and oily feeling on your skin.
The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).
SAWYER MINI WATER FILTER, $22 This has been my water filter of choice for years now. The bags can be iffy — I have had a few break – so carry a couple. However, the filter itself is reliable, light and inexpensive. -Logan