Traveling the CT
There are many ways to enjoy The Colorado Trail, from a day-hike, bike or ride, to a multi-day trip through some of the state’s best backcountry, to an end-to-end excursion beginning in either Denver or Durango. There are dozens of access points to the CT’s 567 miles of trail. These are accessible by car, 4-wheel-drive, bike, horse, on foot, or even by train. Numerous resources including maps, guidebooks and websites can help you with your planning. And there is no place better to begin your journey than right here.
Scan the menu of this Traveling the CT section to find information on everything from modes of travel to what to carry to weather and trail etiquette.
When To Go
The “season” for The Colorado Trail is primarily 3 months: July, August and September. Before this 3-month season, users encounter troublesome snowpack remaining from winter and spring storms. (See our page about snowpack.) After these months, fall storms begin bringing new snows that can be deep and long lasting. (Here’s a video that shows how a snowstorm can ‘up’ the challenge of distance hiking.)
During the lead-up is also when you’ll likely begin coordinating with one or more individuals in your network. Are you likely to travel solo or go with others? Even solo travelers often find that they are involving other people as helpers or resources. Often the support people will need the CT Guidebook with its information about roads access and more.
Maps and guidebooks
- The Official Guidebook of The Colorado Trail Foundation. This guidebook is particularly helpful with trip planning, finding directions to access points, and as an on-trail reference.
- The Colorado Trail Databook. Much smaller and lighter than the Guidebook, the Databook is particularly popular with thru-hikers, bikers and riders, providing all of the essential information for negotiating the Trail.
- The Colorado Trail “Guthook” Smartphone App from Atlas Guides This app covers the entire Colorado Trail and is available in both iOS and Android versions. It is becoming the go-to guide for tech-savvy Trail users.
- Colorado Trail Mapbook and Collegiate “East/West” Loop Mapbook These topographical maps provide a much more detailed reference regarding the terrain of the Trail.
- Other companies’ maps: CTF sells excellent maps by National Geographic/Trails Illustrated and by Latitude 40°. These waterproof, tear-resistant maps can be used alone or in tandem with other Trail guides.
Other resources for planning
- The CTF Facebook Page
- CTF Blog on this Website
- See other people’s stories, including videos.
- Colorado Trail Thru-Hike group on Facebook (a discussion group; changes each year)
- If you still have questions, you can contact the CTF.
Read, plan and enjoy!