What’s so special about the Colorado Trail? For starters, it traverses parts of 6 national forests, 6
national wilderness areas, 5 river systems, and 8 mountain ranges! At 500 miles in length, it takes at
least a month to hike it end to end; double that if you like to stop and smell the flowers along the way.
This strenuous trail is divided into 28 segments. With an average elevation of 10,347 feet, and elevation
gains ranging from 1,040 to 4,520 feet per segment, the trail is satisfyingly challenging to hikers, trail
runners and backpackers looking for rugged terrain.
This July, my friend “The Bionic Peanut” (AKA Kim) and I backpacked 56 miles from Timberline Lake to
Silver Creek. That trek through the mountains covered segments 10, 11 and 12 and just under 10,000’ of
elevation gain. Our original plan had us continuing to finish segment 13 as well, but we had to exit the
trail 3 days earlier than planned when The Bionic Peanut got an SOS call and was needed for Mimi duty.
(We both wear a lot of hats: Mom, hiking friend, backpacking instructor, grandparent, etc.…) This was
our third trip on the CT, and we have now completed the first 12 segments, and the first 210 miles.
Three more trips might do it!
The Colorado Trail splits at mile 183.5 at the beginning of the “Collegiate” sections. Collegiate West goes
west at the split, and Collegiate East goes east. We opted for Collegiate East this year, but eventually we
will complete both sides so that we can legitimately say that we’ve hiked the entire Colorado Trail.
As rugged and challenging as it is, this is not the main reason for hiking this trail. The real draw is the
beauty of the Colorado Trail, and the diversity of its terrain. From beaver ponds and marshes, to flower
strewn valleys, to high Aspen forests, to soaring peaks… this trail has it all.
Hope you enjoy the photos!