Sunrise Hikes: Catch the Sunrise at Colorado’s Top Peaks

Sunrise Hikes: Catch the Sunrise at Colorado’s Top Peaks

Whether you’re out in the wilderness or on your daily commute to the office, catching the sunrise is always a magical experience. You can make it even better when you see the first light of day from one of Colorado’s gorgeous mountain summits. From the iconic 14ers to other summits off the beaten path, Colorado’s mountaintops are the perfect setting to witness one of the world’s most dazzling natural beauties. Catch the sunrise at some of Colorado’s top peaks with these ideas for an unforgettable sunrise hike in the Centennial State.

Quandary Peak

Quandary Peak is one of Colorado’s most popular 14ers. It’s also a relatively short hike, though you still need to be ready for a strenuous climb at certain parts of the trail. The hike starts with an easy dirt footpath that features gradual elevation. There are two short but intense climbing sections you’ll have to scramble through to get to the summit.

The final section of the trail is a clear and straightforward path to the peak, but it does have a sharper elevation gain toward the top. Once you’re at the summit, you can enjoy the views of the sunrise washing over Mt. Bross, Mt. Cameron, and other nearby 14ers.

Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain isn’t part of the 14ers, but it still offers incredible views, especially during sunrise. With the Front Range to the east and the Indian Peaks to the west, you can enjoy 360-degree views of the stunning Colorado scenery.

It’s another relatively easy hike, making it an ideal Colorado peak to catch the sunrise. You can drive partway up the mountain on Sugarloaf Mountain Road until you reach the parking area for Switzerland Trail. There, you’ll find a half-mile, one-way trail with an elevation gain of around 400 feet. Sugarloaf Mountain is even open in winter, though you might need snowshoes to get to the top. It’s worth it to see the rosy colors of sunrise wash over the distant snowfields of the Indian Peaks.

Mount Elbert

Mount Elbert stands at a formidable 14,400 feet, making it the highest peak in Colorado and the second-highest peak in the continental United States. It’s also one of the easier 14ers to hike, which means you have the perfect opportunity to see the sunrise from Colorado’s highest point.

The first half of Mount Elbert’s summit trail takes you through the forest. The trail is well-marked and relatively easy to follow, but make sure you bring headlamps because you’ll be starting the journey well before first light. The real ascent begins once you leave the forest, but don’t forget to take a few minutes to enjoy the starry night sky before you tackle the rocky trail up to the summit.

The elevation gain and frigid temperatures above the treeline can make the trail tricky, so make sure you’re prepared with warm gear—like our cozy women’s Colorado hats. Once you make it to the top, sit back and relax as you enjoy the stunning golden views of the sun rising over the Centennial State.

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