- Ice Lake Basin (Silverton, CO): see two gorgeous lakes
This was easily my favorite hike we did. You walk through a gorgeous valley of streams and waterfalls, then up to the basin of Ice Lake. From there, you can trek over to Island Lake and the back down to the trail on your way out. Be prepared to get your hiking shoes wet! Right of the bat, you tread through a waterfall stream. We went late June and there was still snow on the trail, but it was melting fast which meant beautiful waterfalls. The two lakes were also frozen, but still a spectacular sight. I plan to go back later in the summer next year to see the wildflowers and thawed lakes.
According to All Trails, Ice Lake Basin Trail is rated hard and is 8.1 miles with 2,998 ft elevation gain.
- Engineer Mountain (Durango, CO): get on top of a mountain
This was the only summit we did on the most recent trip to Colorado. It was challenging but tons of fun. You start off hiking through a meadow, and then begin the summit of Engineer. This included some rock scrambling and a few steep areas of rock climbing. We lost the trail a few times due to snow, so I’ve heard we took the long way up. Oh, well!
According to All Trails, Engineer Mountain Trail is rated moderate and is 12.8 miles with 3,221 feet elevation gain.
- Old 100 Mine Boarding House (Silverton, CO): get off the beaten path and admire some Colorado mining history
To get to the trail, you’ll have to do some Jeeping up the mountain. Then once on the trail, the final destination of this hike is an old abandoned boarding house. This hike had the best mountain views and we didn’t see another person or vehicle. At a certain point, there isn’t much of a trail and it’s a lot of rock scrambling to get down to the tram house and boarding house. It was even more difficult getting back up that! You can click here to learn more about the history of the boarding house and tram house. Or check out this forum with some more details about the hike and how to get there. We took our dog on this trail thinking it was easier than it really was. He did fine, but I would not take him again or recommend taking your pup! There are lots of loose, sharp rocks for his paws.
- Castle Rock (Durango, CO): a well-paved hike with gorgeous views
Now, this hike was the easiest compared to the rest and the most dog friendly! And thus, we saw more people on this trail. The trail is dirt and well worn which was a great change of pace to the snow covered, loose rock trails we’ve been on. It has some steep inclines that wore me out, but the view of The Needle mountains from the top is well worth it!
According to All Trails, Castle Rock is moderate and 4.5 miles with 1,686 feet elevation gain.