Voices of The Colorado Trail

Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 9 customer ratings
(9 customer reviews)


The answer to the question of why hike or bike The Colorado Trail is as unique as the individual traveler. Yet there is a common theme to the answers. All whisper of adventure, challenge, and personal transformation in this beautiful photo book of the trail. This book will be a wonderful gift for someone thinking about hiking the trail, or will inspire heartfelt memories for someone who has already taken this amazing journey. If you like, you can hear some of the voices in the book in this short video.

A 10% donation to the Colorado Trail Foundation will be made for each book sold.


I think the heart, rather than the head, makes the decision to travel a long trail. This book, I hope, speaks to the heart. The trail is simply the ground upon which I stand to see beyond the trail to something else. I am, above all, interested in the “truth” of the trail, rather than its day-to-day reality.

This photo book is not really a guidebook. You won’t learn anything useful about backpacks, tents, or stoves. I don’t have much in the way of backpacking advice to give you. Rather, this is a book about the experience of being on the trail. It describes what The Colorado Trail is like for people traveling on it. The “voices” you hear in this book are varied and idiosyncratic because the travelers are individuals who feel compelled to walk or bike a long distance. All of them crave adventure or change in their lives.

The trail is a transforming experience for many people. It informs and influences the rest of their lives. Whatever this personal experience of the trail is like for a person is what I mean by the “truth of the trail.” This is what I’m after in the stories in the book. This is what interests me. This is fundamentally what this book is about. Each voice whispers of adventure, challenge, and personal transformation.

I have hiked the 500-mile Colorado Trail three summers in a row, and interviewed over 150 fellow hikers and mountain bikers about their reasons for being on the trail. Their stories, along with almost 200 of my trail pictures and a few of my in-the-moment trail poems, give the reader a clear sense of the experience of the trail.

For those thinking of hiking the trail, this book supplies the motivation. For those who have traveled the trail before, this photo book recalls precious memories. Leave it around the house where your friends and family can find it. Chances are, they won’t think you are crazy anymore. They will be planning to join you on this experience of a lifetime.

There are over 60 “voices” in the book. Here are a few of my favorites.

Enjoy a few pages in the book by clicking on the image below.


9 reviews for Voices of The Colorado Trail

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Peggy Archuleta

    I was initially drawn to this book because of the “Voices.” I wanted to read about people who had experienced the Trail. I wanted to discover what kind of people they were, what motivated them, and what they learned from the trek. I was not disappointed! Not only did I get to “meet” some interesting characters, but I was also rewarded with beautiful photography and vivid descriptions of the Trail that clearly reflect the author’s own passion and personal experience. I love a book that leaves me feeling more excited, enthusiastic, motivated, and enlightened than before I picked it up. This book had that effect on me. Hiking the awe-inspiring Colorado Trail via the pages of this book, in the comfort of my own home, was most enjoyable, and I highly recommend the experience to everyone.

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Dave Brookins (verified owner)

    If it was a cookbook this recipe would begin with abundant photos of expansive views along the Colorado Trail – add some close up shots, fold in the diverse characters blended with their varied experiences that led them to this path, sprinkle in some original poetry and spiced up with the author’s musings. – Wonderful photography, insightful, thought provoking and peppered with humor. – This book is delicious – eat it up!

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    Chad Dewitt

    People are better on the trail. They’re more courteous, open minded and generous. Maybe it’s the scenery or exercise endorphins. Maybe it’s the humility that comes from pooping in a hole week after week. I’ve tried to describe this phenomenon myself, but never with much success. Voices of the Colorado Trail by David Fanning succeeds where I’ve failed. He succeeds not with his own words, (although his poetry is a delight ) but with brief interviews with these diverse and “better” people. These conversations offer a microcosm of this often life changing experience. While these interviews are the real meat and potatoes of the book, the photography steals the show! When I solo hiked the CT in 2015, one of my most frequent thoughts was, “I wish my wife could see this.” I’m a mediocre photographer who only uses a cell phone camera. With the help of Mr. Fanning, I can finally show this scenery off. The windswept tundra, lonely peaks and sagebrush desolation come to life with careful composition and perfect lighting. All this is arranged in a visually appealing way that fills the page without feeling crowded. Voices of the Colorado Trail shares a common fault with the trail itself: the end comes too soon.

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    Vyvyan (verified owner)

    David Fanning’s gift is his intuitive understanding that a great trail is like a great theater: the people and the stories they tell create its magic.

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    Douglas “Whiskyfish” Thiel (verified owner)

    When I set out to hike the Colorado Trail in 2015 all the information I could find always said to prepare yourself mentally, yet none of the stuff I found ever said how to prepare for the mental aspect. Voices of the Colorado Trail is an answer to that dilemma. Everyone struggles on the trail at some point. Seeing photos of other hikers and reading about their joys, their struggles and their experiences is profound. David’s additions of poetry and descriptions of each segment furthers embodies the reader with what it is like to hike a long trail. The voices you here are real. “Voices” brought me right back to trail and has me contemplating hiking the trail again. For anyone who is considering hiking a long trail this is a must read, if you know of someone who is interested in hiking a long trail, it’s a must read for you as well. And if you don’t fall into either of those two categories- Voices of the Colorado Trail is still a must read.

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    Karl Riters (verified owner)

    I am reliving the Colorado Trail in the stories and photos in David’s book. Every page is an interesting stand-alone story or photo. All together it’s a story of “hiking your own hike” accompanied by gorgeous photographs. Having hiked the 500 miles in 2013 and the 160 mile Collegiate Loop in 2016, am tempted get out there again after enjoying David’s book. An inspiring must read for anyone contemplating hiking the CT. As a friend and my ultralight instructor, David inspired me to hike the CT and I actually bumped into him on the Trail in 2013 and 2016, knowing that he was slogging along somewhere out there. I’ve always admired his writing skills and now he has added to that photography skills. As I’ve told him, I am a Fanning fan having read a prior book by David and being a follower of his blog.

  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    Clay Bonnyman Evans aka Pony

    What a great book this is. David Fanning has lived life on the Colorado Trail and could as easily written a memoir. Instead, he uses his skills as a photographer of both people and landscapes and offers readers the rich and varied voices of other hikers he met along the trail (including a handful that I met myself while hiking the trail in 2015). There is a truly unrehearsed feel to these hikers’ words, sometimes funny, sometimes profound, sometimes blunt, that makes every page a surprise. More than any guidebook you could ever buy, “Voices of the Colorado Trail” comes close to conveying the incredible experience of the trail between the covers of a beautiful, inspiring and useful book.

  8. Rated 5 out of 5

    David Lobree (verified owner)

    What a wonderful book! I enjoyed reading every page. I love to hike and to backpack, especially in Colorado; and I love to read accounts of other peoples hiking experiences. The book is a fabulous collection of the author’s poetic musings, beautiful photographs, insightful Colorado Trail segment descriptions and, most interestingly, the Voices along the trail. It was as if I was right there on the trail, experiencing it as I “hiked” my way from start to finish. As stated in the Foreword, this is not a guidebook – at least not in the traditional sense. If you are considering hiking the Colorado Trail, reading this book will provide excellent preparation. I may never hike the trail from start to finish; however, reading this book has motivated me to plan a hike on some portion of the trail in the near future, especially the San Juan Mountains section.

  9. Rated 5 out of 5

    Dawn (Early Bird) Dodd (verified owner)

    This is a lovely getaway for any hiker who cannot be out on the trail. It is a beautiful book in every way. The first hand interviews from the hikers give wonderful perspectives about why hikers hike. The author provides beautiful descriptions of each trail segment and his own insights about the CT. The photography is beautiful. David has captured the drama, majesty and wonder of the Colorado Trail in a photo tribute worthy of one of one our natural treasures. Whether a weekend treker or a muilti-week/month thru hiker, reading this book will get your heart pumping and make you want to get on the trail. If you have never hiked, be careful, you may just find yourself getting fitted for a pack and some hiking boots.

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