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The Essential Packing Guide for a Hike in Colorado

Mountain view springopens IMAGE file

Colorado is consistently ranked the fittest state in the nation. Being active is just part of the lifestyle, which makes sense since Colorado is covered with trails to hike and mountains to climb. Even if you don’t know if you’ll end up having time, a good hike is all about being prepared, so it’s important to make sure you’ve packed everything that you need.

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  • Backpack (which could even double as your suitcase, if you’re doing a weekend trip) with plenty of water and snacks, like granola bars or trail mix
  • Hiking boots with ankle support
  • Snowshoes can be used all year long, but spring is the best time to go snowshoeing
  • Thick socks
  • Rain jacket or a windbreaker
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen and bug spray
  • Camera
  • Inhaler because of the altitude, it may be harder to breathe

Depending on what time of year you’re taking your hike, you may need a few different things.

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  • Snow pants that are thick and warm
  • Winter coat
  • Hat, gloves and a scarf

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  • Pants that are lightweight and breathable
  • Long-sleeve shirts that are lightweight and wind-resistant
  • Hat and gloves

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  • Shorts
  • Short sleeve shirts that are lightweight and moisture-wicking

Being prepared doesn’t just mean knowing what to pack.  You also have to know what to avoid.

  • Anything cotton
  • Rain ponchos
  • Jeans or heavy pants
  • Sandals
  • Everyday ankle socks

And, of course, no hike would be complete without an actual place to hike. There are hundreds of trails to choose from, but a few can be found in Rocky Mountain National Park outside of Denver.


  • Mills Lake: a 5.3 mile hike alongside the lake and surrounded by the beautiful view of the mountains.  A little ways up, you’ll hit Alberta Falls, a 30 foot waterfall and one of the park’s most popular features.


  • Bear Lake Loop: a half mile trail that takes you up 9,475 feet in the air, overlooking a beautiful lake and mountain view.