Our perfect summer day starts at the trailhead early, resting with a sandwich from our pack on a rock with a view, then getting back to the car by 2 or so to beat the frequent afternoon showers. A beer and dinner on the deck or at the fire pit finish off the day. Repeat as needed until you feel healed.
All of these are gorgeous, either a loop or out-and-back and within an hour’s drive from the house. Pack a lunch/snacks, plenty of water (1.5L per person at least), a rain jacket and a wag bag. I’ve listed them by difficulty. You can find any of these online, with directions, lengths and detailed descriptions.
Brush Creek (trail 400)
This is a nice flat, wide trail with stunning views close to town. Great for a warmup hike on the first day to get a baseline on how you’re handling the altitude. Also great for younger or older hikers.
Washington Gulch (trail 403)
Iconic, moderate length & ascent, gorgeous payoff. The last turn on the drive up is a little hairy, but also fun!
Three Lakes (trail 843)
Absolutely stunning loop trail that takes you to three alpine lakes (cold swimming but so fun) and a gorgeous waterfall. If you head out to this one you might want to rent SUPs to bring with you.
Cliff Creek (trail 840)
Easy drive down Kebler Pass to a gorgeous, moderate out and back trail. Truly one of our favorites.
Dark Canyon (trail 830)
Starting at Horse Ranch Park across the road from Cliff Creek, this trail provides a view of Marcellina mountain and an Aspen forest that is said to be the second largest living organism in the world.
Scarp Ridge (trail 421)
Fun ascent above Lake Irwin to a ridge that looks back over Oh Be Joyful to Mt Crested Butte. This is a challenge for flatlanders but absolutely worth it.
Oh Be Joyful (trail 835)
Iconic out and back trail with postcard views at every turn. Starts at the OBJ campground, which is a great place to hang out for the day with chairs on the edge of the Slate River as well.
Rustlers Gulch (trail 599)
Great for wildflowers, getting to the trailhead requires fording a small pond in the car, which is pretty fun. The first mile is a road that you can drive in a 4WD, but don’t attempt it in an average clearance AWD or you might run aground!
West Maroon trail
To get to this one you need to drive Schofield Pass, which is a tough drive for flatlanders…check with the Visitor’s Center before you go. The trail is one of the most beautiful in Colorado – it is part of the Four Pass Loop and the Aspen hike which are included in Top 10 lists regularly.