Listen up Jeremiah Johnson! There is nobody to impress out there so when you head out for some Colorado hiking, so be sure to make good decisions & be S.M.A.R.T.
Stay safe and know your limitations
More water than you think you’ll need.
Alert somebody where you are planning to hike
Research a map of the area
Take precautionary supplies
This newly made up acronym is a quick way to make sure anytime you plan to go into the wilderness that you have all of your bases covered. I grew up hunting, fishing and hiking the Rocky Mountains from New Mexico to Montana and I tell you not to be braggadocious but to warn of the seriousness of being unprepared. Make sure you have everything in your pack to be able withstand a night lost in the mountains. Water (purification systems are cheap, buy one), matches, knife, clothing etc.
1.) Meyer Ranch – Easy hike through open meadows and Aspens with three trails that range from 2-5 miles depending on the route. A great place to go with dogs (must be on leash) and an even better place to find some time in the mountains. Located right outside Conifer, CO this is a great hike year-round, however the fall and spring make this place a perfect hike to take an edible beforehand and enjoy a peaceful walk through nature.
2.) Mount Galbraith – It is a little over 4 miles to hike up Mount Galbraith. The trail gains roughly 900 feet in elevation making it a quasi difficult uphill climb but don’t let the numbers deter you as this is a manageable hike even if you do end up sucking wind. Once at the top there are plenty of places to sit back, enhance, and take in the views. Just a few miles outside of Golden, Colorado this makes for an ideal day trip to sneak away.
3.) Cheesman Canyon – This trail is primarily used by the fly fishing community as it follows the South Platte River through some of the most pristine fishing waters in the state. However it is overlooked in the hiking community. As the trail borders the river it leaves you with views of the spectacular canyon. Its a 3 mile round-trip trail with moderate elevation gains. While the parking lot will be packed, it’s worth noting that 95% of the people are there to fish leaving the trail open to the hiker. Located in Deckers, CO, this trail is close to both Denver and Colorado Springs yet secluded enough to make it seem more distant.
4.) Barbour Fork Trail – This is the hidden gem of the group. While it’s primarily used for people looking for 4-wheel drive trails, this a secretive gem for the hiker. Just minutes outside of Idaho Springs, this allows for an easy day-trip for anyone in the metro area. Following the 4wd trail makes for an easier hike on the maintained dirt trail. There are also ample opportunities to explore far enough away from the Jeeps (including a hidden secluded teepee on top of one of the nearby mountains west of the trail). It takes some heavy looking and expertise navigating in the mountains but if found, it makes for a great spot for lunch and a smoke break with out-of-this-world views. If you can get there before they open the trail to motors you will pretty much have free reign of the place.
The Spring: A STRAINWISE Store®
- (303) 225-6271
- 15 Colorado Blvd
- Idaho Springs, CO 80452
5.) Colorado River Trailhead (Lulu City)– This trail is located inside Rocky Mountain National Park so a park pass must be purchased in order to reach this trail, but it’s worth every dime. The trail follows the Colorado River to its headwaters and the abandoned mining town of Lulu City. An abandoned mining town from 1879 is quite the added bonus to the unbelievable scenic river valley on this 4+ mile hike. Crowds are bigger here than most the other hikes, but there is also a very real chance of running into moose if you are willing to follow the whole length of the trail. Take Trail Ridge Road* on your way home and enjoy the most beautiful road Colorado has to offer.
*Trail Ridge road is only open on a seasonal basis so make sure to check with the park.
- 72399 US Hwy 40,
- Tabernash, CO 80478
Make sure to talk to your local budtender and find strains or products that will be most compatible with you and the hike. Always keep an eye on the weather and for wild animals, but more importantly have fun and enjoy your time in the wilderness.
IMPORTANT: Consuming cannabis on federal or state lands is prohibited so take great caution. Maybe imbibe in your parked car before you set out for your hike, and be mindful of your entire situation. As always, respect nature, your fellow nature-lovers, and any officer of the law or the park. Leave nature untouched and undisturbed. You represent an entire community.
Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. – John Muir