The Colorado trail is 483 miles of outdoor adventure ground spanning from just southwest of Denver in Waterton Canyon to the Durango area. Traversing this trail will take you through 7 different national forests and across 5 different rivers. Currently the trail is broken down into 28 different segments, each with their own access point. One other way to hike this magnificent area would be as a 6-week long back packing experience. With this being such a long journey, preparing for the hike can be a fairly difficult process, so here’s our handy guide of how prepare to back pack the Colorado trail.
- Prepping for the Journey – This is going to be one of the most important steps to your backpacking experience. Take a look at a trail map and how far you are going to be traveling. Be honest with yourself about how long you will be able to hike each day and how far you actually would like to go (483 miles is quite a distance to go). July to September are typically going to be the best months to go backpacking in regards to weather. Set goals and pick campsites before you leave. This way you will know the areas you will be in and the materials you need to bring with you.
- SAFETY – This is a very strenuous trip, and taking your safety into consideration is huge. The Official Colorado Trail Guide Book is a definite purchase before you go on this trip. It will go through each segment of trail and all of the safety precautions you need to be aware of before you go on you adventure. If you are not used to elevation, spend some time getting acclimated before departing on the backpacking trip. Altitude sickness would very quickly ruin what would otherwise be a great experience.
Packing – Be prepared to re-wear your clothing on a backpacking trip, especially one that is this long. You do not want your pack to be more than 1/3 of you body weight, so go over everything you will need for you trip. Weigh your backpack before you go and even practice walking around in it for a while. Make sure you have supplies to camp, eat, clothe yourself and be prepared for any and all weather conditions. A big part of being a responsible hiker is leaving no trace that you were thee so keep that in mind when you enter and leave every single one of your campsites
- Take no chances – There are so many things to take into account on a trip of this magnitude that I cannot stress preparing enough. This is a time where you do not want to leave anything to chance. Always try to hike with a companion. Up in the mountainous areas you will not always have cell phone service and a travelling partner greatly reduces the risk of accidents. Let someone know you itinerary and have designated check ins. If they do not hear from you, someone will be aware of where you are and know what to tell the forest service.
- Have a good time – Although hiking the Colorado trail is a very serious experience, make sure you enjoy yourself. Bring a camera and take a ton of pictures. It is a beautiful hike and you will encounter so many different ecosystems. Take in your surroundings and enjoy being in nature (but also be aware of who/what you are sharing these areas with).