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A continuous, narrow path from Denver to Durango for hiking, horseback, and bicycling.

The journey that you are about to embark upon follows a portion, or perhaps the entire 567 miles, of recreational trail that crosses Colorado from Denver to Durango. The Trail passes through six National Forests and six Wilderness areas, traverses five major river systems, and penetrates eight of the State’s mountain ranges. What makes The Colorado Trail unique is that it was developed with the efforts of thousands of volunteers, all interested in the conservation and recreational exploration of Colorado’s stunning mountainous areas.


Who Maintains the Trail?

The Colorado Trail Foundation, in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service, is responsible for the maintenance and administration of The Colorado Trail. The Foundation has been organizing the improvement of, and overseeing the volunteers who work on, the Colorado Trail since it was first built by Foundation volunteers in the 1970’s.


Where Can I Find Trail Information?

This website can serve as a guide to those who are new to the Trail and to those who are new to hiking and camping. For more detailed information, The Official Guidebook of The Colorado Trail Foundation is the single best resource for planning your excursion on The Colorado Trail. Our page on Alerts, Closures & Reroutes can inform you of major projects and guide you to the best resources for current conditions.

Topo & Relief Maps

Here are a couple of overview maps to give you a basic sense for the trail location. Make sure to visit our Maps & Guidebooks page for all resources, including full-resolution trail maps available for purchase.

Maps & Guidebooks

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General Trail Information


Treading Lightly

While enjoying the freedoms offered by mountains, forests, and trails, visitors sometimes love nature to death, unknowingly causing serious damage to the land. It is each person’s responsibility to educate themselves about the basics of nature so that everyone can help to reduce human impact upon the land.

Trail Sustainability


Trail History

Gudy Gaskill began spearheading the effort in 1974. Two years later, the Forest Service and Colorado Mountain Trails Foundation, predecessor of The Colorado Trail Foundation, signed a partnership agreement. A route was roughed out, connecting existing trail and forest roads with new trail to be built mostly by volunteer and Forest Service crews.

How it was Built


Trail Completers

Undertaking the entire 567-mile Colorado Trail is a major feat! (Those that complete the Collegiate East route conquer 486 miles, and those that take Collegiate West total 491 miles). Given its average elevation of over 10,300 feet and total climbing of more than 90,000 vertical feet, completing the CT is an accomplishment. We hope you had the experience of a lifetime and would love to acknowledge you as a Trail Completer.

Trail Completers


Trail FAQs

Get detailed answers to many specific questions you may have about the Trail. From accommodations along the way to cell phone coverage, from dogs on the Trail to altitude adjustments. If you’re planning to travel the Trail, make sure and check out the FAQs.

Frequently Asked Questions


Who Owns the Trail?

USDA Forest Service is the primary partner of the Colorado Trail Foundation. They “own” the Trail and manage it. We help with the management and build public support for the Trail and help people to use, appreciate, and enjoy it.

US Forest Service


Travel Essentials

After familiarizing yourself with the Trail, if you plan to hike, bike, ride, walk, or run it, whether a day hike or a summer-long adventure, make sure to dive into the essential travel resources on this website.

Traveling the CT


Total Trail


Average Elevation


Highest Elevation


Total Gain