3 Ugly and Pretty Truths About the Colorado Trail

Before I get started, this post is for people who have thru-hiked the AT and are looking for their next adventure. In my case, I chose to thru-hike the Colorado Trail. It was AMAZING, but it wasn’t perfect. Here are 3 ugly truths about the Colorado Trail, from the perspective of an AT thru-hiker… IMG_3857

The Ugly Truths

1. It’s not the Appalachian Trail : If the AT was your first thru-hike, the CT will be nowhere as near as awesome or exciting or fun. In my case, I actually knew what I was doing this time around and I had a better idea of what to expect. Part of what makes the AT so special is that it is the first time most people ever have to learn to live out of a backpack.


2. You may get bored : The CT isn’t nearly as social as the AT. If you’re looking for constant parties and a lot of people, the CT may not be for you. For example, I hiked the CT with 2 other AT thru-hikers. One of them was so bored on the trail that he wanted me to pepper spray him for fun. I was bored too, so I pepper sprayed him.

3. You’ll yellow-blaze without thinking twice about it : I am not a purist, so yellow-blazing is not a bad thing in my opinion. On the AT, however, I would sometimes feel bad if I skipped part of the trail and often refused to skip trail. On the CT, I never felt bad about yellow-blazing and thoroughly enjoyed it. In terms of purism on the trail, my philosophy is that I will skip any trail if I am certain it will make my day and hike as a whole significantly better. For some reason, yellow-blazing became way more desirable in Colorado.

Not all is ugly about the Colorado Trail. In fact, it’s really pretty. Here are 3 pretty truths to counter the ugly truths…


The Pretty Truths

1. It’s not the Appalachian Trail : There are nowhere near as many rocks, no green tunnel to hike through, no weeks of intense heat, no norovirus, no required permits, no super-steep climbing, prettier views, and way less mosquitos.

2. You may get bored : Boredom may exist but thats because the CT spoils you. Since the whole trail is so beautiful, you will become accustomed to insanely beautiful views and natural perfection. To keep yourself from being bored, think about how monotonous some parts of the AT were and you will fully appreciate the CT.


3. You’ll yellow-blaze without thinking twice about it : The beauty of the CT is that you can create your own trail a lot of the time. Maybe you chose to hike part of the Continental Divide instead, or took a side trip to a 14er, or needed to get to Leadville a little early because of lightning, or needed to get to Leadville (again) because of lightning (again), or needed to get to Leadville (for the 3rd time) for Boom Days, or you met someone with a car that could drive you wherever you wanted. The possibilities are endless…   To find out more about the CT, check out my personal blog!  

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