Summer has officially started, and with it comes the season of hiking 

The days feel like they can last forever, but of course that’s not true. There are only so many weekends in the season (14, officially), and there are countless thousands of miles to explore.

In the hopes of narrowing down 32 hiking trails down to the #1 in Colorado, Hike to End Hunger and The Denverite launched the Mile High Hiking Quest, a March Madness-style bracket where you can vote on your favorite hikes (or not vote for them to keep them for yourself)

Here are some of the featured hikes:

Sky Pond. (Steven Bratman/Creative Commons/Flickr)
Sky Pond
  • Distance from Denver: 2 hours; 82 miles
  • Locale:  Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Type: Strenuous uphill
  • Objectives: The name says it all: An ascent to a crown of the national park. See two waterfalls and the beautifully named Lake of Glass on your way up to Sky Pond.  It’s a busy trailhead, so get there early.
  • Length: 9+ miles roundtrip, 1650 feet vertical
  • Trailhead address: Glacier Gorge Junction Trailhead, Rocky Mountain National Park

St. Mary's Glacier. (caporaso/CC 2.0/Wikimedia Commons)



James Peak via St. Mary’s Glacier

  • Distance from Denver: 1 hour; 43 miles
  • Locale: I-70 mountain corridor
  • Type: 13er
  • Objectives: Hike alongside St. Mary’s Glacier before taking a somewhat tricky trail to one of the summits above. Don’t get lost!
  • Length: 8.3 miles out-and-back, 2,900 feet of vertical gain
  • Trailhead address: Parking is $5, cash. St. Mary’s Glacier Trailhead, Fall River Road, Idaho Springs, CO
Castlewood Canyon. (Courtesy Stephen Simon,



Castlewood Canyon

  • Distance from Denver: 45 minutes, 42 miles
  • Locale: Southern metro
  • Type: Variable-length hikes with little elevation gain
  • Objectives: Combine different trails into a winding walk through the unusual geology of Castlewood Canyon State Park. The fall colors are spectacular.
  • Length: Up to 6 miles and 1,100 feet of vertical, but you can choose different trail combinations.
  • Trailhead address: Castlewood Canyon State Park, 2989 S. State Hwy 83, Franktown, CO

For access to the brackets and information on the remaining 29 hikes, visit The Denverite

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