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Must-haves for Hiking in the Rocky Mountains

If you want to have an active and adventurous summer, head west to the Rockies! There is an endless number of outdoor activities to take advantage of, including hiking, white-water rafting, mountain biking, rock-climbing, and more! Keep reading to learn about the must-haves for hiking in the Rocky Mountains!

Must-haves for Hiking in the Rocky Mountains

1. Insulated Water Bottle

insulated water bottle

The first must-have for hiking in the rocky mountains is an insulated water bottler. You are at a higher elevation, therefore closer to the sun, which will heat your bottle up quicker. If you are doing a longer hike, this is especially important and you may need more than one bottle. Personally, if the hike is 5 miles or longer, I bring 2 water bottles. Usually, there are streams in the mountains that you can filter water from. If you choose to do this, bring an additional empty bottle and a filter.

2. Close-toed shoes with good support and traction

hiking shoes

The next must-have for hiking are close-toed shoes with good support and traction. If you do not have hiking shoes and you probably won’t use them much, buy them used or buy a cheaper pair. If you plan on hiking routinely, I suggest buying Salomon or Oboz shoes. Do NOT… I repeat do NOT wear open-toed shoes for long hikes. The trails are rocky and some are very steep. While shoes like Chacos are great for walking or water fun like white-water rafting, they do not make a good trail hiking shoe.

3. Sunscreen or some sort of sun protection


Like I said previously, you are closer to the sun, therefore don’t forget to wear sunscreen! You will burn quickly and severely.  Definitely put sunscreen on your face, neck, and shoulders. You can also wear a thin shirt as a form of sun protection as well.

4. Layers of clothing

hiking clothes

The great thing about the mountains is that it is usually 30 to 40 degrees colder at the top of the mountain compared to its base. For example, here in Colorado Springs at an elevation of about 6,000 feet in elevation, it is 82 degrees F. Whereas at the top of Pikes Peak, which is about 14,000 feet in elevation, it is 53 degrees F. Therefore, you may start your hike in a tank top and end in a jacket, vest, and beanie. The reverse could also be true if the sun is beating down and your body has heated up from the exercise.

5. Hiking backpack (for long hikes)

If you plan on going on a longer hike 5 miles or more, it is wise to bring a small hiking backpack. It allows you to hold your water bottles, snacks, medicine, and whatever else you may need.

hiking sticks and backpack

6. Hiking sticks

Depending on the season and the terrain of the hike, you may need hiking sticks. If it is the middle of winter and you have to hike through snow and ice, hiking sticks are important. For hikes that are very steep, hiking sticks are a good idea as well. This is because they take some of the work off of your legs and knees and transfer it to your upper body. Personally, I feel sore and tired when I use hiking sticks.

7. Granola bars or trail mix


Your body works hard to hike, especially as you increase in elevation. Thus, it is important to bring high-carb snacks to fuel your hike and prevent dizziness.

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