10 Reasons to Thru-Hike the Colorado Trail
After completing an AT thru-hike in 2013, I decided it was time to start hiking again this summer and began my trek of the Colorado Trail on July 23rd. At 485 miles, the CT starts near Denver and ends in Durango. Along the way, hikers pass through many wilderness areas and towns while spending a lot of time hiking the continental divide. Although it’s nowhere near as special, insane, and social as the AT, it’s still a fun and worthwhile adventure to go on.
Here are 10 reasons why you should hike the Colorado Trail…
1. It’s an AT reunion – About a year removed from the trail, it felt really good to be hiking again. Mentally, the trail brought back the joyful and painful self-induced feelings of long distance hiking that I experienced on the AT. The CT also served as a reunion between myself and other former thru-hikers. Around 50% of the CT thru-hikers I met had hiked the AT before and it was always nice reminiscing about the trail with them.
2. The views – Essentially, an average view on the CT would be considered one of the best views on the AT. There is no green tunnel on the CT and nothing like the mid-atlantic states.
3. The towns – In my opinion, the CT towns were way better than the AT towns. I felt like a local in a lot of the small mountain towns and had a lot of fun spending time in them. The best ones were Twin Lakes, Lake City, and Durango.
4. You can find solitude – Since there aren’t nearly as many hikers on the CT and the 2nd half of the trail is hard to access from the city, you can choose to be alone if you want to. There were a lot of days where I saw no one besides the few people I hiked with.
5. You can find a group to hike with – After hiking a lot of the AT alone, I decided to stick with a group on this hike. Although there weren’t ever many of us, it wasn’t hard to find people to hike with.
6. It is easier than the AT – On the AT, you can look at any view and automatically assume you will climb the tallest mountain in the distance. On the CT, you can assume that you will walk around the mountain while getting an amazing view. The CT is graded for horse and bike travel, so there aren’t any climbs that are steep like in New Hampshire or Maine.
7. You don’t have to sacrifice as much time – I hiked the CT in 31 days and I believe most people hike it in around that time. One of the guys I hiked with, Radio, took a month off of his job and did not have to quit to hike the trail. If you have a job that you can leave for 4-5 weeks, the CT may be the right trail for you.
8. Aspen trees – These beautiful trees are everywhere and they are my favorite
9. You can be the highest person in Colorado – The trail comes across side trails to major 14ers along the way, like Massive, San Lois, Harvard, Yale and others. You can even summit Mt. Elbert, which is Colorado’s highest peak.
10. Hiker Trash lifestyle – My favorite part of the CT was getting to be hiker trash again. Personally, it felt really good to live out of a backpack, eat ramen, talk in a rough southern accent, not shower, and bask in the glory of unemployment.
All in all, the CT is a fun trail and I am glad that I hiked it. For my information about my thru-hike, check out my website Being Colbert.
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