I moved to Colorado in late summer- perfect hiking weather. Between the Cherry Creek bike trail and the Maroon Bells to off the beaten path roads like Forest Road 201, I fell in love with the Centennial State before snow ever covered the Rockies. Besides the actual physical exercise, there is a world of wonder out there to see on the hiking trail in Colorado.
My personal favorites to see out on the trail are wildflowers. While wildflower season ranges from mid-June through August, July is one of the best times to get out on the trail to look for Indian Blanket, Purple Archangel, or Bull Thistle.
Sometimes, especially in early summer, trees are still settling from the harsh winter snows. Last time I was out on the trail north of Steamboat Springs, I actually heard one of the trees creaking. It was kind of amazing to see nature at work with the bark bending- until I realized I might not be in a safe space to stand! It’s common to see felled trees either from the pine beetle kill or a storm that split an aspen down the middle. If anyone hears a tree fall in the woods, tell us if it makes a sound!
Naturally, everyone stays on the lookout for wild animals on the hiking trail. In some places in Colorado, you might hike and see nothing. Other times, you might see a ton, depending upon the time of year. In the summer, you might see red tail hawks, chipmunks, prairie dogs, rabbits, and all over manner of birds. I love looking for the gifts that animals left behind for me- like a hawk feather. If you are traveling quietly, you could see deer, moose or elk in their habitat. Be cautious around all animals as your travel in their domain.
Learn more about Hiking and Backpacking around Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Sometimes the best things to look out for on the hiking trail are things you can’t look for; they just surprise you. I challenge myself to look up now and then. I’ve spotted a hawk’s nest and flowers growing at the tops of trees, just by shifting my focus. Other times, the best things are invisible. Can you hear a rabbit next to you without looking? Can you feel the sun shining through trees above? Can you hear your breath in time with the wind? When you’re out on the hiking trail in Colorado, it’s about using all of your senses. If you do that, you’ll never have the same experience twice.