The Gear and Knowledge to Get Outdoors and Hike
Hiking is one of the most straight-forward and rewarding activities that you can do along the front range of Colorado. There are numerous trails, beautiful vistas, and great experiences just minutes from DU’s campus.
While the equipment and knowledge is very basic to go hiking, we are located in the Rocky Mountains and storms can quickly move in so it is best to be prepared.
- Water: Unless you are going on a short walk around Wash Park we always recommend that you carry plenty of water. Even at Denver’s elevation you can quickly become dehydrated during any activity. Plan on a minimum of 1 liter per person for easier hiking and cooler weather.
- Shoes/Clothing: Wear the appropriate shoes and clothing for the activity and the weather. Most trails around Colorado tend to be rocky so having shoes with support is highly recommended (hiking in flip-flops will strain your ankles and put you at high-risk of a sprain). Clothing needs to meet the type of weather that you expect.
- Backpack: Something basic to carry water, any specific clothing, and maybe a snack or two.
- Sunscreen: There is not much space between us and the sun. Always lather up, and yes that includes anyone that thinks they have relatively dark skin.
Equipment/Knowledge for Longer Hikes:
- Once you start getting several miles from a trailhead you need to be considerably more prepared. Cell-phone service is unreliable and it is best to be prepared for the unexpected.
- Food/Energy: Having some trail food such as granola bars or energy bars is always useful in case the trail takes much longer then expected. This helps ensure that you have plenty of energy to complete it.
- Proper Clothing for the Weather (including extras): The weather in Colorado can instantly change (not uncommon to see hot sunshine, hail, snow, and then hot sunshine in a matter of an hour). Read your weather forecasts and understand what that means for the location that you will be in.
- First Aid Kit and Skills: Depending on the hike and the location having a basic first aid kit plus the knowledge on how to use it is necessary.
Understanding Weather in Colorado
- Difference between Denver and the Local Mountains: It can be hot and dry in Denver and just in the foothills you can encounter drastic weather differences. It only takes about a 30 min drive from DU to be in a completely different ecosystem with different weather systems. Never assume that because the sun is shining outside your dorm room window means it is not snowing in the mountains.
- Be Prepared: If hiking in the fall be prepared to encounter cold rain or snow. In the spring it is the same. During the summer violent lightning storms can come at any minute. This does not always happen but it is best to make sure you are aware so that if it does you are prepared.
Get out and enjoy the Beautiful Trails around Colorado!!!!