Colorado is one of the most popular states for hiking, and for good reason. The Rocky Mountains offer incredible views, challenging terrain, and various opportunities to escape your daily routine. And fall is the perfect time to hit the trails, with cooler temperatures and fewer crowds.
To help you spend more time hiking and less time looking for Colorado’s best fall hikes, Fenix has a list of must-do trails to scratch your itch for vibrant fall colors and outdoor activities. We’ve also paired each trail with a Fenix headlamp with useful features that make the hike more enjoyable.
Now, let’s dive into our list of must-do fall hikes in Colorado and the perfect headlamps to take with you.
Visit Segment 4 of the Colorado Trail With the HM65R-T
If you prefer quiet hikes with fewer people, prioritize Segment 4 of the Colorado Trail before exploring Sections 5 and 6, which usually see much larger crowds. For parking, try the Long Gulch Trailhead area before scoping out the Rolling Creek Trailhead parking area. While challenging because of the 3,200+ feet elevation gain, this part of the trail also provides a breathtaking view of aspen groves and an alpine meadow.
What makes the HM65R-T one of the best headlamps to take with you to Segment 4 of the Colorado Trail?
On average, it takes about 7.5 hours one way to conquer Segment 4 of the Colorado Trail and soak in all its beautiful fall colors and vegetation. So if you tackle this trail as a day hike, you’ll need a light source with a generous runtime, like the Fenix HM65R-T.
On its lowest setting on floodlight mode, the HM65R-T has a max runtime of 300 hours. On spotlight mode, the headlamp provides a max runtime of 24 hours. Segment 4’s popular for camping, so if you plan to stay the night, the headlamp’s independent spotlight and flashlight come in handy for tasks like setting up your tent and cooking a campsite meal.
The HM65R-T’s snug headband makes the rechargeable headlamp comfortable to wear for long periods as you engage in the 16.1-mile trail’s many available activities. The newly designed headband provides a stable, breathable fit, so you can be confident of where you are setting foot.
Visit Burro Trail to Windy Peak in Golden Gate State Park With the HM50R V2.0
If you have a free weekday and the itch to experience fall’s vibrant glory, gather your hiking gear and set your GPS to Golden Gate State Park. One glance at the park’s picturesque Burro Trail in the fall and you’d think you were looking at the birthplace of autumn. From the challenging 6.4-mile trail, which takes four hours on average to complete, you can access Windy Peak, the park’s highest trail-accessible peak. To enter Golden Gate State Park (and avoid getting a parking ticket), you must purchase a daily pass.
What makes the HM50R V2.0 one of the best headlamps to take with you for Burro Trail to Windy Peak in Golden Gate State Park?
For impromptu fall hikes to beautiful destinations like Burro Trail and Golden Gate State Park, you need a rechargeable headlamp you can quickly stash in your hiking gear. The Fenix HM50R V2.0 is a small, lightweight headlamp that weighs 2.75 oz (78 g) with the headband and battery and measures 2.52“ (64 mm).
You can admire beautiful sunsets over the distant mountains at Windy Peak's west summit views. The HM50R V2.0’s red light mode is perfect for adjusting your eyes to waning sunlight and adjusting camera settings to capture unforgettable Kodak moments. For the return hike, the headlamp’s durability easily handles the trail’s shifting terrain of field, forest, and packed dirt.
Visit Ptarmigan Lake at Cottonwood Pass With the HM60R
Named for the flocks of ptarmigans that populate the area, Ptarmigan Lake is a high-elevation body of water in the Sawatch Range at the foot of Jones Mountain. The round-trip six-mile trail provides awe-inspiring views of the mountains and usually isn’t crowded. Other than hiking, the trail is also popular for backpacking and fishing. Find the Ptarmigan Lake Trail trailhead on Chaffee County Road 306.
What makes the HM60R one of the best headlamps to take with you to Ptarmigan Lake?
As a trail with nearby campsites, the Ptarmigan Lake trail is perfect for the Fenix HM60R’s multiple lighting modes. Use the headlamp’s spotlight during an evening hike to light up the lake while soaking in its beauty, the floodlight to set up camp in low-light surroundings, and the red light for up-close tasks like searching through your camping pantry and kitchen for a late-night snack.
If you want to relax with some late-evening fishing, the HM60R is an all-purpose headlamp that overcomes various lighting conditions. To quickly switch between the long-distance viewing spotlight, neutral white floodlight, and night-vision preserving red light, use the headlamp’s generous switch, which works perfectly while you’re wearing gloves.
Visit the Upper Piney Falls Trail With the HL18R-T
Fall doesn’t get more colorful than it does on the Upper Piney Falls trail. The 5.9-mile hike begins at a beautiful lake, meanders through a charming aspen forest, and includes a stunning waterfall. If you’re an avid hiker or feeling adventurous, continue the three-hour hike to a climber’s cutoff trail that leads toward the challenging Kneeknocker Pass.
To reach the Upper Piney Falls trailhead, plan for an hour-long drive down a washboard road, which is suitable for passenger vehicles.
What makes the HL18R-T one of the best headlamps to take with you to Upper Piney Falls Trail?
You don’t have to hike for long to experience the Upper Piney Falls trail’s payoff of gorgeous sunsets among the aspens. If you arrive early in the morning, the Fenix HL18R-T’s multiple power options make it easy to navigate shifting lighting conditions.
A patented SPORT headband makes the headlamp comfortable to wear for extended periods while scanning the parking lot’s creek side for critters. Then, while taking a break at a secluded pool found downstream or upstream of the fall, the HL18R-T’s IP66 rating protects it from minor splashes.
Fall in Love With Fall Hikes With Headlamps From Fenix
So, there you have it! A few of our favorite must-do fall hikes in Colorado—and why a Fenix headlamp should be part of your gear for each. Check out our entire headlamp collection for more information on the different models and features of Fenix headlamps that can make your next fall hike or outdoor adventure even better.