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Backpackers and Colorado
From the plains of east Colorado to the Front Range to the soaring Rocky Mountains, Colorado is a slice of paradise for backpackers looking for a diversity of terrain.

Colorado, a state with rugged terrain and beautiful views, offers some of the best outdoor activities in the United States. Colorado affords backpackers the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors of the many national forests and national parks located in the state, and many vacationers from the larger cities in the state, such as Denver, take advantage of the close proximity of many different hiking trails and outdoor sites.

One of the best things about Colorado for backpackers is the range of terrain. Colorado's mountains are in the Rocky Mountain range, and with the highest elevation in the state being 14,000 feet, there are many opportunities to climb and descend mountain passes. The Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness contains some of the most beautiful and diverse mountain passes in the state. This Wilderness area covers over 174,000 acres, and contains both the White River and Gunnison National Forests. Over 100 miles of trails cover the area, and elevations here range from around 9,000 feet to 14,000 feet, meaning you should take precautions for high elevation hiking. Alpine lakes, panoramic views of the wilderness, and aspen groves can all be found in this wilderness area because of its high elevation.

Three of Colorado's favorite mountain passes are located here; the Avalanche Pass, Buckskin Pass and Electric Pass. Maroon Lake is also a huge draw with visitors to this site having the vantage point of seeing the beautiful mountains known as the Maroon Bells framed by the lake. As this is a very popular area, motor vehicles are restricted in the Maroon Lake area. Instead, during the summer months, visitors are encouraged to take one of the buses that run to the area from the Aspen Ranger Station. The fee for these buses is $5 per person round trip, and $3 for children and seniors. These buses run daily until Labor Day. They also run on weekends from Labor Day until October. After October, this area is closed for winter, due to snow and ice buildup.

While the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is a very popular area, if you're searching for solitude in your trek in Colorado, you can still find it here. Just visit the area after Labor Day, or on weekdays during the peak season. Colorado can provide a wilderness seeker many beautiful views of water, mountains and fields of wildflowers, while also being a challenge for hikers of all levels. Time to strap on the pack and head on out.
About the Author
Rick Chapo is with Nomad Journals - makers of travel journals to preserve your travel experiences.
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