If you have never been hiking before, getting the right hiking equipment that you’re going to need is overwhelming. There are dozens of things that a sporting goods store will try and sell the inexperienced hiker, so how do you figure out what you need. The gear you need, will depend on the length of time you plan on spending on your hike. Long hikes like hiking the Appalachian Trail will mean you will be hiking with camping equipment and supplies, a short hike just requires shoes.
You don’t really need any special clothing that you won’t already find in your closet. You will be dressing differently than you do in everyday life. The days will start out cooler and be warmer in the afternoon and cooling off again at night. Dressing in layers is the norm, you will also want long sleeve shirts and pants to protect your skin from the elements. Where you should spend money on hiking gear is on a decent pair of boots.
Hiking means thousands of steps so comfortable hiking boots are crucial. No one wants to walk three feet in uncomfortable shoes, never mind spending hours in uncomfortable shoes. There are more than a dozen different types of hiking boots and shoes made out of different materials. You want them to be durable and long lasting as well, spend some time trying on different styles and materials before you spend money. Here’s a video that will explain the different types of hiking footwear and when each one should be worn.
Short hikes or long, there is some safety equipment that should go with you on any hike. Always bring some water with you or some type of water filtration system. Bringing some snacks with you and some dehydrated food for longer hikes. Protein bars and nuts can give you the energy you need for the hike.
Bring with you a compass, even the most experienced hiker can get lost. A small first aid kit in case of emergencies should be part of your gear as well. All of this gear should rest inside a comfortable back pack with an internal framework that will help distribute the weight evenly an make it easier to carry.
Getting the right hiking equipment can mean the difference between a wonderful trip enjoying nature or a miserable time filled with blisters. Hiking equipment doesn’t have to be that expensive, but you should get good hiking boots and a good back pack, they can last you for years to come.
For the avid hiker then Colorado is a destination you need to check out. The state has dozens of hiking trails ranging from easy to very difficult. Many are great for the experienced hiker but not so well suited to a family with children.
The ideal time for a hike is either late spring or throughout the summer. While in the rest of the country you’re melting under the summer sun, Colorado has cool mornings. The scenery in the mountains is breathtaking and there are some of the most beautiful trails in the world.
Here are some of the best hiking trails in Colorado:
Lichen Loop Trail
Starting out an elevation of almost 6,000 feet with only a small climb this is a fairly easy hiking trail for the beginner. The whole hike is just over a mile and you can enjoy the views of Boulder’s Front Range.
Betasso Preserve Canyon Loop Trail
This 3 mile trail starts out fairly easily and gets harder as you go along. There are incredible vistas of forest, field and meadow as you make your way up the trail. The area started out as a homestead back in the early 20th century it now belongs to the Boulder County Mountain Parks and Open Space systems.
Bald Mountain Scenic Area and Pine to Peak Loop Trail
This is a 1 mile trail that is perfect for families. Once you reach the peak of Bald Mountain the 7,160 foot summit features an incredible view with a wide variety of mountain wild flowers. The trail is just 5 miles outside of Boulder on County Road 52 and makes a perfect day trip for your family.
The Bobolink trail is an easy trail to hike, in fact it is sports chair accessible. It’s located in the park and open space section of Boulder. It has amazing seasonal viewing of the bobolink along with other nesting birds.
Rattlesnake Gulch Trail
This trail is a little more difficult than the previous trails and takes roughly 2 hours to hike. Almost a four mile trip, that begins at the entrance to Eldorado Canyon State Park. This area has some amazing rock climbing areas. Running up the Eldorado Mountain on the southern flank it runs up to the historic Crags Hotel. Built way back in 1908 the hotel could only be accessed by rail from the canyon floor until it was destroyed by fire in 1913.
Hopefully you and your family get the time and the opportunity to try out some of these trails. It’s one of the best ways to appreciate the beauty of Colorado and the Rocky Mountains. Put on your hiking boots and set out on some of the fantastic Colorado trails.