The Colorado Trail is unlike anything we have ever done before. The trail is nearly 500 miles long and goes from the outskirts of Denver to Durango. We’ve spent a lot of time in Colorado, but spending 40 days out in the backcountry and hitchhiking into the small Colorado mountain towns along the way is, in our opinion, the best way to experience the state.
We started the Colorado Trail on June 26th, 2022 going south and finished on August 4th. It was an experience we will never forget and one we want to share with you.
The trail is split into 28 segments, each of which are completely different. These were our experiences from segments twenty-seven and twenty-eight as we finished the Colorado Trail.
If you missed segments 1-27 of the Colorado Trail make sure to checkout our blogs below before continuing on!
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Let it Hail!: Segment 27
We took a nice break at the descent of our climb and decided that with only a couple of miles until segment twenty-seven we might as well keep hiking. It was getting into the afternoon but the sky was clear and there’s nothing quite like hiking into the sun as it is setting into the distance.
We arrived to segment twenty-seven and it looked like the only decent place to setup a tent was taken. We said hello as we passed by and kept hiking until we could find a flat place for our tent. Both sides of the trail were sloped so it took us another few miles until we finally found a flat enough place to setup.
All in all we hiked over 26 miles on the day, making it our longest hiking day on the trail yet. We all felt great given the mileage we put in and Nemo seemed as if she still had enough energy to keep going.
We love sharing our adventures with everyone at home! If you want to see our whole Colorado Trail experience from a cameras perspective we saved all of our experiences to our Instagram highlights.
The next morning we woke up to the sounds of the birds and the trees and got ready for our second to last day of hiking. Nemo grubbed down her food from Only Natural Pet and we were on our way.
The views to our left as we started the day were that of the mountains we had already conquered and the remaining miles of mountains to come as we neared Durango.
As we were coming around the ridge we saw a group of hikers heading up toward us. We stepped to the side to let them come through and waited for them to pass. Before we could say hello we heard a voice from the group shout “Nemo!”. At first we couldn’t recognize the voice, but then after a moment we remembered it from our breakfast spot in Saguache and the trailhead outside of Creede. It was Anne & Joe who were part of the group hiking the final segments of the trail!
Anne and Joe were always such a joy to see and each time we saw them they helped give us an energy spark and a smile. They always had such great energy and you could tell that they were having a blast out on the trail! We wished them luck and continued down the path.
The plan was to get at least twenty miles done to set us up for just one more day of hiking into Durango. That meant we still had a bit of ground to cover.
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We made it to the base of our last steep climb and took a snack break to curve our hanger. If there’s one thing we have learned over time it’s that hanger left unchecked can cause some issues.
The flies began swarming us as soon as we took our packs off and we rushed to get our water boiled in our JetBoil. We made our lunch and scarffed it down as quickly as possible and began our ascent up our last “steep” climb of the trail.
About half way up the climb we looked to the right of us to see three small oranges. Beneath them was a yellow piece of notebook paper that read “Happy Trails.” This small gesture meant the world to us and that little burst of sugar from the oranges gave us that extra ‘umph’ we needed to get up the mountain.
The high point seemed to keep evading us as we zigzagged our way up and down the ridge line. The clouds were starting to look angry and we knew we needed to reach the high point as soon as possible.
We passed several marmots along the way until just one stood in our path. In order to get passed him we needed a password.
As soon as we reached the top we found ourselves in an intense hail storm. We quickly put on all of our rain gear and started to hike as quick as we could to a lower elevation. When you’re up that high the hail gets bigger and the air gets colder. The sudden shift in temperature is actually pretty impressive.
This was by far the worst hail storm we had been in on the trail and the quarter sized pieces of hail with the cold air made for a repetitive stinging of the skin. Nemo wasn’t very thrilled about it and continued to try and hide beneath the small bushes on the side of the trail.
After about an hour the hail finally stopped as we rounded the lake at the base of the mountain. What a fun experience! (That’s sarcasm is you didn’t catch that ;)) A mile later we made it to our final segment of the trail.
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To the Finish Line: Segment 28
Segment twenty-eight to the end of the trail is twenty-two miles, most of which is downhill. We still had a ton of daylight left and we wanted to make our hike into Durango as short as possible the next day. The hail storm took more out of us than we thought though so we weren’t sure how much farther we wanted to go.
We sat down for a moment to gather ourselves and ultimately decided to keep hiking for a little bit longer. We were ready to call it a day but we also knew how nice it would be to have a shorter day for our last hike into town. It was also downhill for the remainder of the day which meant it probably wouldn’t take a ton of energy.
The rain picked up again as we made our way down the valley. Our eyes stayed wide as we looked for a place to set up our tent. We finally found a spot beneath a tree and waited for the rain to let up before setting up camp. Another 24+ mile day in the books!
We ate our last supper and then laid there in the tent thinking about how great the trail had been. We only had about fourteen miles until the end and it felt like we had just started yesterday. It was everything we could have asked for and more and we were feeling extremely blessed that we were given this opportunity. We were really sad to have the trail coming to an end.
The morning came and we packed up our bags for the very last time. By the afternoon we would be sipping on some cold adult beverages and enjoying some air conditioner from a motel room.
We reached our last small climb and rejoiced at the downhill descent to the finish line. As we got closer to the end more and more hikers and bikers appeared. Several people congratulated us on our endeavor while most people passing by probably assumed we had just been out for a couple of days.
Step by step we neared the end of our first ever backpacking hiking trip. We strolled into the parking lot and asked one the people standing nearby to take a picture of us. Just like that we had completed the Colorado Trail.
Minutes later our good friend Sweet Potato pulled up and offered us a ride. We weren’t planning on her being there but I guess the universe just wanted us to see each other one more time! Everything just happens the right way when you’re out on an adventure…
She dropped us off in town and we gave her one last hug as we said goodbye. Adult cold beverage coming up! Stop by Carver Brewing Company for your complimentary beer after completing the trail!
We made our way to the other end of town where a friend from social media had offered us a room. Her family owns the Siesta Motel and they were so loving and welcoming! Ya’ll made us feel like family! If you ever need a spot to stay in Durango, checkout Siesta Motel!
The Colorado Trail allowed us to slow down and take in Colorado from such an incredible perspective. We met so many amazing people along the way and we feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to hike the entire trail from Denver to Durango. From the lightning storms to the hitchhikes into town, and everything in between, it was an experience we will always cherish.
Everyday out on the trail was a gift and we hoped you enjoyed coming along for the ride. If you missed any of the chapters before this make sure to checkout the rest of our blogs! Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe! We’ve got a lot more adventures we want to take you along for!
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