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We Coloradans know that when June comes along, and the summer sun finally melts the high alpine snow, the Rocky Mountains are the only place to be. Our state is home to thousands upon thousands of trails traversing some of the most stunning terrain in the country, including rugged peaks, turquoise lakes and expansive meadows dotted with wildflowers.

While conquering a 14er (or a few) is always a worthy goal for the summer, maybe consider turning your hiking trip into a multi-day adventure. Backpacking is a less stressful way to enjoy the great outdoors, offering a chance to pitch a tent, watch the sun set over the Colorado scenery, and sip a local brew to celebrate your day’s work.

The opportunities for adventuring are endless, but we’ve rounded up some of our favorite backpacking treks in Colorado to get you started. The trips range from an easy overnighter to a full five-day excursion, but you’re bound to find something on this list that fits your skill level. So dig those old boots out of your closet and get going — after all, those boots were made for walking.

The Continental Divide Loop

Total Distance: 27 miles
Driving Distance to Trailhead: Near Grand Lake | 143 miles | 3 hours and 18 minutes

The Continental Divide Loop combines the best of Rocky Mountain National Park in one thrilling adventure. You’ll traverse 27 miles of peaks, valleys, glaciers and marshy meadows, enjoying spectacular views along the way. You’ll pass by several waterfalls and lakes over the first sections of the hike, which are perfect sites to make camp or enjoy a midday lunch break, but the latter portions are all above tree line! Set aside at least five days to complete the loop (unless you’re Iron Man), or opt to tackle a partial loop instead. Regardless, make sure to do your research and come prepared for the journey. If you prefer to be guided, Wildland Trekking offers excursions throughout the summer.

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