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Backpacking the Colorado Trail in 2018

Though there are multiple segments of the Colorado Trail and you can opt-out of the long trek if you’d like, we’re covering the whole 486 miles this year.  If you’re interested in an extreme adventure in 2018, look no further than the Colorado Trail.  Here’s what you need to know before you set off.

How Long Is the Colorado Trail?

The entire trail, from Denver to Durango, covers 486 miles over the breathtaking Colorado Rocky Mountains.  It’s suggested to allot 4 to 6 weeks for your trek, which will give you time to explore more if you finish up early.

What is the Elevation of the Colorado Trail?

The average elevation along the trail is mid-10,000’s, though you’ll reach over 13,000 feet at some points.  If you’re from a lower elevation and heading to Colorado specifically for this venture, consider starting in Denver.  It’s over 1,000 feet lower in elevation than Durango, allowing you more time to adjust.

What Should I Bring on the Colorado Trail?

The Colorado Trail isn’t easy, and those who take on this hike should have experience in backpacking and backcountry excursions prior to this one.  If we’re just covering the basics:

  • Water – water filters will come in handy in many parts of the trail, too.
  • Food – dehydrated will last you the longest and is light weight.
  • Gear for all weather – you most likely won’t need your full winter getup, but rain showers occur often during the Colorado summers and the nights will be chilly.
  • A low-degree sleeping bag and backpacking tent

Check out’s Gear List for a more extensive layout of everything you should consider packing with you.

Can I Bring My Dog on the Colorado Trail?

The only section of the Colorado Trail where dogs aren’t allowed is the Waterton Canyon portion of Segment 1.  If you’re planning on hiking the full trail, you’ll have to have someone meet you with your pup at the beginning of Segment 2 after you complete to first part of the hike.

Is the Colorado Trail in the Middle of Nowhere?

Though you’ll come across some stretches of backcountry, the Colorado Trail doesn’t have a super long length of nothing on it.  The longest you’ll go without a potential water source is 40 miles, but if you plan accordingly and ration your H2O you’ll be good to go.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Colorado Trail, check out the website.  Here you’ll find answers to every question you may have, learn how you can volunteer to help with upkeep of the trail, and get yourself ready for an incredible summer in the Colorado Rockies.

Looking for more of a guided, exhilarating adventure this year?  Call AVA Rafting & Zipline!  We have outposts in Kremmling, Buena Vista, Breckenridge, and Idaho Springs, with a range of outdoor activities from just an afternoon excursion to a multi-day adventure.


*Featured image courtesy of the Colorado Trail Foundation.