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Ouray Perimeter Trail - Cascade Falls

Featured Article

Take a Hike

Colorado native and avid hiker Sherryl Klosterman offers tips for traversing Colorado's trails

Article by Hannah Echols-Grieser

Photography by Courtesy of Sherryl Klosterman

Originally published in Parker City Lifestyle

Colorado is globally known for its abundance of outdoor activities and awe-inspiring mountain views. With 42 state parks, 58 peaks that exceed 14,000 feet, and thousands of trails, the Rocky Mountain state is the perfect place to experience active summer fun.

If you aren’t an avid hiker, traversing Colorado’s trails can be intimidating. It helps to have guidance from someone who’s been around the block a time or two. So, we chatted with Colorado native Sherryl Klosterman to get the scoop on the best trails—and a few hiking tips—to keep you safe and active all summer long.

For as long as she can remember, Sherryl’s summers have consisted of sunny afternoons full of hiking, camping, and fishing. When she was younger, Sherryl’s grandfather operated a Christian camp at the foot of Longs Peak and Twin Sisters Mountain. She had the privilege of living near this breathtaking property and leading hikes for the campers. Some of her fondest memories are from the 4th of July, when Sherryl, her family, and the neighbors would climb straight up the mountain to watch a spectacular firework display, and then scoot their way down in the dark.

After she got married and had her two children, Sherryl and her family moved to Parker. Despite the distance from the mountains, the family still found plenty of time to hike. Today, Sherryl’s primary hiking partners are her husband and two Weimaraners. She also enjoys a serene solo hike. When she's not hiking, she works as the manager of The Exercise Coach on Hilltop Road.

“Hiking restores your soul," Sherryl says. "It’s so nice to get out in nature and away from the city. On a lot of the hikes, you don’t have a cell signal. So, you’re out there, enjoying nature and doing something physical, which is really good for you mentally as well as physically.”

Top Colorado Hike Recommendations

Unique Views: Lake Haiyaha

Last summer, a rockslide turned this iconic lake in Rocky Mountain Park into a gorgeous shade of milky turquoise. Experts don’t know how long this chemical reaction will last, so put this four-mile hike at the top of your list this year.

Gratifying Challenge: Royal Arch

This heavily trafficked, classic Boulder trail is quite the workout. It’s scattered with loose rocks and challenging switchbacks. As a reward for the 1,400 feet you gain in elevation, you’ll get great views of the front range, flatirons, and, of course, the glorious arch at the top. 

Kid and Dog Friendly: Castlewood Canyon State Park 

Only a 20-minute drive from Parker, this is an excellent option for families with small children and pups. There are several scenic spots to rest and over a dozen trails of varying lengths. Kids will be delighted by the homestead trail, which includes impressive ruins of an 1890s homestead and failed dam project. 

All-Time Favorite: Silver Dollar and Murray Lake Trail

This hike is situated along the historic Guanella Pass and simultaneously offers a view of three different lakes. In July, the trail is alive with blooming wildflowers. It gives hikers ample opportunities to take a deep breath, capture a few photos, and enjoy the scenery that makes Colorado America’s number-one hiking destination.

Sherryl’s Hiking Tips

Bring the Essentials

"Pack your backpack lightly but efficiently. I carry trail mix, a flashlight, a jacket, sunscreen, bug spray, bear spray, a hat, sunglasses, and extra socks in case of stream crossings."

Tell Someone Your Whereabouts

"If you’re hiking alone, always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. Be sure you know your route, and carry bear spray just in case!"

Travel Smart

"Do your research beforehand and make sure your car can handle the journey. Most iconic Colorado hikes require a 4-wheel drive to get to the trail. You can take a shuttle to some spots inside Rocky Mountain National Park."

Time it Right

"If your schedule can swing it, the ideal time to hike is on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. If you need to go on a weekend when it’s more crowded, be sure to leave early and finish by 1:00 pm (especially if your hike goes above the tree line.) This allows you to beat the crowds and afternoon thunderstorms!"

“Hiking restores your soul," Sherryl says. "It’s so nice to get out in nature and away from the city."

  • Lake Hiyaha, Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Waterton Canyon
  • Royal Arch near Boulder
  • Ouray Perimeter Trail - Cascade Falls
  • Black Powder Pass at the top of Boreas Pass
  • Garden of the Gods
  • Arthur's Rock overlooking Horsetooth Reservoir near Fort Collins