Parking in Denver
People planning their Colorado Trail thru-hike are often surprised to learn that there is no overnight parking at Waterton Canyon, the northern terminus of the CT and most people’s starting point. This discovery often leaves future CT hikers searching for somewhere else to leave their car safely for a month or more while they hike to Durango. While there are many inexpensive options and other safe options, it can be a challenge to find a parking place that is both safe for your vehicle and easy on your wallet.
Here are a few options that might work for you:
- Airport parking: several companies operate remote parking near the airport for around $10-12 a day. These can be reserved beforehand, and they offer good security for your vehicle. You will need to factor in the expense of a rideshare or other transportation from the airport to Waterton Canyon, however.
- Durango airport: a great option is to drive to Durango before your hike to leave your car at the Durango airport and then fly to Denver to begin your hike. The advantage here is that you will already have a car waiting for you in Durango when you finish, and the long-term parking is currently $6 a day for stays over 7 days. The risk, however, is that Durango is much harder to reach should you have to bail on your hike before Silverton.
- Storage facilities: some hikers pay for a month at a long-term storage facility. This requires a bit more planning but often proves less expensive than airport parking. It also allows you more geographic flexibility within Denver, so you can try to store your vehicle close to the trailhead to save on rideshare costs.
- Leave the car at home: one of the best ways to deal with parking in Denver is to not deal with it at all. Secure parking near the airport can run a thru-hiker $300-400, which is roughly the cost of a plane ticket to Denver from just about anywhere in the US. The challenge here is that you will need to find a way to buy fuel for your camp stove before beginning your hike since you cannot fly with it.
- Facebook contacts: if you follow the FB page for CT thru-hikers, you will occasionally see people offer to store vehicles either for free or inexpensively. A word of caution: lots and lots of people hike the CT each year, so this option is often us the most saturated relative to need.