Chautauqua Park (Photo) Credit FashionAnatomy (iStock)

A view of the first and second Boulder Flatirons. Photo Credit: FashionAnatomy (iStock).

Earlier this year, Travel & Leisure released their list of the best hikes in the United States, making 18 selections spread around the country. Two Colorado hikes made the cut to be featured.

The first Colorado hike to be featured on the unranked list was Chautauqua Trail in Boulder's Chautauqua Park. At just 1.2 miles long and with 419 feet of vertical gain, this trail is quite popular among beginners and intermediate hikers, leading to other trails such as the Flatirons hike and the Royal Arch hike – both noteworthy hikes, as well. Chautauqua Trail offers stunning views of the iconic Boulder Flatirons to hikers, along with plenty of wildflowers come late spring and early summer.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Royal Arch trail has been closed temporarily for repairs. Find information on that here.

The second trail to be featured on the unranked list of best hikes in America was the trail to the summit of 12,865-foot Mount Ida. This one is a bit more intense than Chautauqua Trail, ranked as 'hard' by AllTrails. Stretching 9.3 miles and climbing 2,358 feet, this one isn't for the faint of heart. It's worth noting that this one is located in Rocky Mountain National Park, so in addition to epic high alpine views, expect an entry fee and possible reservations.

Are these two hikes definitively the best two hikes in Colorado? It's hard to say. Colorado has so many hikes that picking any two would be a selection up for debate.

I do like that the first hike, Chautauqua Trail offers a shorter, more accessible option for those seeking a Colorado adventure. While this might not be as intense as many other trails around the state, it does give hikers a good Colorado view with the option to continue onward to more difficult trails and a longer hiking experience. Plus, it's located in the Boulder area, which is a fun spot to spend time on the Front Range.

In regard to the Mount Ida hike, it's hard to go wrong with any summit-bound hike in Rocky Mountain National Park as long as it matches a hiker's skill-level. Mount Ida is the 21st-highest summit in the park among close to 100 peaks, depending on who you ask. It's sure to deliver on big views pending weather and will provide quite the adventure.

If you had to pick two hikes in Colorado that were better than the rest, what would they be? Let us know in the comments below.

See the full list here.

Director of Content and Operations

Spencer McKee is OutThere Colorado's Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to hike, rock climb, and trail run. He's on a mission to summit all 58 of Colorado's fourteeners and has already climbed more than half.


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(2) comments

Adam F

The hike from the Sheridan Costco parking lot to the high arched doorway is fulfilling, avoid peak weekend afternoons when the path is crowded


I would pick Ptarmigan Lake, near Cottonwood Pass, and the combination of Tanglewood, Rosalie, and Three Mile (at least until the latter starts to descend) in the Mt. Evans Wilderness. Both offer a great experience all along the way with spectacular destinations. Okay, both do range above 11,000' and so might not be best for flatlanders on their first day. And, yes, Mt. Harvard beats them all for those who are up for the distance and elevation. But most reasonably hardy hikers could enjoy the two I've picked.

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