Colorado Mountain Man

American Discovery Trail

Colorado Jul 27,2016

The ADT is a coast-to-coast hiking and biking trail across the United States. It is 6,800 miles long and begins in Delaware on the Atlantic coast and travels through 15 states before ending in California at the Pacific coast. The trail follows paths of the early explorers and pioneers who crossed the states in covered wagons, by horse and even on foot. The trail crosses Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California. The trail crosses the District of Columbia as well.

The American Discovery Trail Society website states The ADT connects five National Scenic, 12 National Historic, and 34 National Recreational Trails; passes through urban centers like Cincinnati and San Francisco; leads to 14 National Parks and 16 National Forests; and visits 10,000 sites of historic, cultural, and natural significance. It is truly the backbone of the National Trails System.

The entire trail is open to hiking, and the vast majority is biker friendly. Trips should be planned to locate alternate routes for bikes at some locations on the ADT.

The ADT enters Colorado from the East in two different locations; at the NE and SE corners of the state. The NE trail enters Julesburg from Nebraska and travels to Denver for 241 miles. The SE trail enters Holly from Kansas and travels to Canon City for 219 miles and then travels to Denver for another 158 miles before linking up with the NE trail. The ADT continues from Denver as one trail to Utah for another 535 miles.

The ADT crosses the Eastern plains of Colorado using County and State roads through pastoral countryside. At Canon City, the trail leads you through the Front Range where the foothills meet the Rockies. After departing Denver, the ADT travels through 6 National Forests and crosses 15 mountain passes over 9,000 feet and 4 passes over 12,000 feet. The route crosses the Continental Divide twice and uses portions of the Continental Divide Trail and the Colorado Trail.

Hiking from Denver should be hiked in July and August to avoid the extreme weather and blizzards. The mountain passes are deep in snow during the winter months and can be dangerous and impassable. There are 2 stretches of trail that are 60 plus miles that have no services and no roads for access when crossing the mountains. It is advisable not to hike them during the winter months. These remote areas will require backpacking and camping.

The highest point on the ADT is the Argentine Pass in Colorado at 13,207 feet. The lowest point on the ADT in Colorado is at Julesburg at 3,448 feet elevation.

Colorado ADT Coordinator Jim Bratton

The American Discovery Trail Society breaks down the Colorado ADT into six segments. Hover over for more information.

Colorado Mountain Man