Best Multi-Night Backpacking in Colorado

A wooden fence in the middle of a grassy field.

With multiple alpine lakes, national forests and the Rocky Mountains, backpacking in Grand County, Colorado is an unparalleled experience. For adventurers seeking a challenge or experienced backpackers, we’ve put together two of the best multi-night backpacking hikes in the area:

Baker Gulch to Bowen Lake

Distance: 19 miles | Difficulty: Hard

The Baker Gulch to Bowen Lake backpacking hike is a 19-mile loop located in the Never Summer Wilderness and Rocky Mountain National Park featuring wildflowers in summer, streams and panoramic views of the surrounding peaks. Start at the Bowen/Baker trailhead located in the national park, which requires an entry fee, and follow the trail toward Parika Lake. Find a camping spot around this clear alpine lake for your first night. On your second day, hike along the Continental Divide until you reach Bowen Pass and continue on toward the more secluded Bowen Lake. Camp here on your second night before completing this backpacking trip. No permits are required to camp in the Never Summer Wilderness; however, make sure to follow wilderness regulations.

North Inlet Trail to Lake Nanita

Distance: 21.6 miles | Difficulty: Hard

Located near Grand Lake, Colorado, begin at the North Inlet Trailhead for a two-night backpacking trip. Follow the trail through forests and meadows abundant with wildlife toward Lake Nanita. This hike brings backpackers past rushing Colorado waterfalls including Cascade Falls and North Inlet Falls. Past these falls there are various backcountry sites along the way to Lake Nanita which is 10.8 miles from the trailhead. Camp one night before reaching the lake and a second night before returning to the trailhead at your campsite of choice. Some of the campsites include Ptarmigan and North Inlet Group. A permit is required for all backcountry camping in Rocky Mountain National Park.

With two epic Colorado backpacking hikes to choose from, get ready to experience Grand County like never before. And if you’re in search of a shorter trip, we have a list of the best one-night backpacking trips too.

Whenever you venture into the wilderness always remember to follow Leave No Trace principles.