Thruhiking: Colorado Trail

Emma Schultz


Minneapolis, Minnesota

Cairn Project Ambassador Emma Schultz smiles in a yellow beanie on a pedestrian bridge while crouched behind her child who's bundled up for the winter weather

About Emma Schultz

Emma is forester by training, a mother, and a year-round adventurer based in Minneapolis, MN. Emma passes on her love of cycling as a mentoring with The Cairn Project’s local partner Little Bellas – Twin Cities.

485+ Miles From Denver to Durango

In August, Emma is thru-hiking the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango. Emma’s family will meet up with her along the way, and she’s even planning to hike a section of the trail with her two year old daughter! Emma’s hike will raise support for The Cairn Project’s program to get more girls on trails in Minnesota and beyond.

The Colorado Trail passes through six National Forests, six Wilderness areas, and eight of Colorado’s mountain ranges. In total, the trail gains nearly ~90K ft of elevation with ith the lowest point in Waterton Canyon (5,520 feet) and the highest point at Jarosa Mesa (13,271 ft), . Adventurer and trails advocate Gudy Gaskill (1927 – 2016), is regarded as the driving force behind the Trail’s creation through efforts that culminated in Trail’s full completion in 1987. The Trail continues to be improved and maintained through the dedication of Colorado Trail Foundation volunteers and the U.S. Forest Service.

A map showing her route from Denver to Durango along the Colorado Trail
Emma smiles and sticks her tongue out with her child in a backpack on her back

Why Get Out and Give Back?

“While I’ve never been afraid to get dirty or traipse through the woods, it took me many years to realize that I could get myself from Point A to Point B on my own, whether by bike or on foot. Hiking, biking, and physical fitness were not things I prioritized in my teens, and looking back, I missed so many opportunities for adventure by undervaluing myself and what my body has always been capable of. I hope to give back by inspiring a positive outlook on all ways to enjoy outdoor adventuring, big or small. Whether it’s a short walk to a park down the road, or a bike ride to a park in the next state over, all it really takes is a desire to get up and go outside. Realizing that you can control your destiny, and your destination, is empowering.”

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