6 Great Tips for Hiking in Colorado
Ready to go on an exciting hike in the gorgeous terrain of Colorado? No matter your hiking skill level, it’s important to be properly prepared. Here are six tips to keep in mind as you plan your next outdoor expedition!
1. Bring Plenty of Sustenance
Your body will need plenty of energy to complete a hike in Colorado, so be sure to pack enough food for your journey. You’ll want to choose foods based upon the length of your hike. If you want to bring fresh produce, choose items that won’t spoil quickly such as bananas, peppers, boiled eggs, apples and oranges. Bring plenty of snacks like trail mix, granola bars, jerky and/or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (or two). Most importantly, make sure you have plenty of water! You always want to bring more than you think you will need. Please do NOT feed any animals you may encounter on your hike.
2. Wear the Right Clothing
You know what they say: “If you don’t like the weather in Colorado, wait five minutes!” Colorado is notorious for its quickly changing weather, so it’s important to bring proper clothing for hike. Layers are recommended to keep you warm, and you can remove layers if you get too hot. Wear synthetic fiber clothing that dries quickly – avoid cotton fabrics that tend to absorb moisture. To be on the safe side, be sure to pack a few extra pairs of socks in case your first pair gets overwhelmed by moisture. Also, it’s recommended to hike in Colorado with a high-quality pair of waterproof hiking boots. Due to Colorado’s varied terrain – with rocky trails and woodland streams – a nice pair of hiking boots is recommended to protect your feet.
3. Know Where You’re Going
You’ll want to do plenty of research before you head out for your hike. As you decide on which hiking trail to follow, choose one that matches the skill level of everyone in your party. You’re only as strong as your weakest link! Understand the rules of the trail you choose. You may not have cell phone service out on the trial, so be sure to let someone who is staying behind know where you’re going and when you plan to arrive back home. This way, if you aren’t back around your estimated time, that person can contact your local mountain rescue on your behalf. If you’re going on a long journey, consider bringing a GPS beacon – this can be a lifesaver if you get lost or need to direct others to your location. When it comes to spending time in the wilderness, always be prepared and leave nothing to chance.
4. Use Trekking Poles
Expert hikers and novices alike will benefit from using trekking poles during a hike. Trekking poles provide added stability as you hike, allowing you to maintain your pace even while carrying a heavy pack on your back. By providing an extra point of contact between your body and the ground, trekking poles reduce heavy loads that can put pressure on your knees and ankles. Modern trekking poles also feature collapsible options, allowing you to easily stow the poles away when not in use.
5. Carry Emergency Supplies
Hikers of all skill levels know to prepare for the unexpected. Bring emergency supplies to keep you and your party safe in all circumstances. Pack a complete first aid kit – at minimum, this should include adhesive bandages, medical tape and antibiotic cream. Also, pack emergency shelter such as a tent to protect your group from the elements. Be sure to familiarize yourself with setting up the tent before you head out on your hike so that you can act swiftly in case of an unexpected situation.
6. Pack Light
Now that you know what to bring on your next hiking trip, it’s important to keep one thing in mind – do not overpack. If you pack too much, it will seriously weigh you down as you navigate even simple trails. If you’re heading out on a long, multiple-day trip, try to keep your pack under 30 pounds. Otherwise, even the most experienced hiker can be affected by dragging around excess weight. Keep your pack light and you’ll be better able to enjoy your experience in beautiful Colorado.
Written by Mikkie Mills
There is so much natural beauty to explore as you hike in Colorado. Now that you know exactly what to bring with you on your next hiking trip, all that’s left is to pack up, get out and enjoy the great outdoors!