The trails are very well-marked. Dogs are allowed on leash. Distance: 3-mile loop (Coloradoans love their dogs.) Location: Golden Gate Canyon State Park It’s less crowded than most trails at Staunton, making for a peaceful yet challenging hike near Denver. The climb to the top of Longs Peak is certainly one of the best “hikes” near Denver and arguably one of the most gratifying in the state. It’s home to a rich and diverse community of wildlife and plant species. If your car isn’t capable, you’ll need to park in the lower lot, which will add 3 miles to your hike. Before or after your hike, you can take a walk through the quaint town of Eldorado Springs. The food is also excellent. Just west of Denver near Golden, the Chimney Gulch Trail at Windy Saddle Park is a five-mile round trip (out and back, not a loop) trail up the side of Lookout Mountain. If you want solitude, this might not be the best choice. source: Bruce Dall . Note, if there is not a concert going on, you can also pay a visit to the amphitheater itself. The Trading Post Trail at Red Rocks is short, sweet, and easy, covering a 1.4-mile loop. This hike gives you not only breathtaking views of the Rockies to the west but also skyline views of the city of Denver to the east. There are restrooms and drinking water fountains at the Windy Saddle Trailhead and parking lot. For any live updates, you can check out @TrailsLakewood on Twitter. Best Hikes Near Denver. This destination is the perfect escape from Denver for a quick hike. With that, it’s important to note that the trail is rather narrow. A visit to Brainard Lake Recreation Area can give you a taste of everything magical about being outdoors in Colorado. For families, we love the easy 1.6-mile Bear Creek Trail that runs along the namesake creek. For the first hour or two, you’ll likely share the trail with a number of people. Though this hike is rated as difficult because of the elevation gain and length, the trail surface is rather moderate, with no scrambling and minimal rocky sections. If that lot is full, you can park in the other many Red Rocks lots. With that, bring water and maybe even a refreshing snack, like an apple, to reward yourself after you get through the first half. Discover destinations, find outdoor adventures, follow the journeys of our travel writers around the world, and be inspired. If you don’t have access to a car, Boulder is easily reached by public transit. If all else fails, there is also limited street parking available. Drive time: Almost 2 hours from Denver Staunton State Park is Colorado’s 41st state park, opening to the public in 2013. If you visit during the off-season, you can use the winter hiking trail for a snowshoe or nordic ski option. Wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen, as the majority of the trail is directly in the sun. Difficulty: Easy The view from the top is beautiful, however, with panoramic mountain vistas, as well as Denver and Golden spread out below. Elevation gain: 1,873 feet. There aren’t many trails where dogs are allowed to be unleashed. Rocky Mountain National Park is located northwest of Denver near Estes Park. 1. © Copyright 2021 GearJunkie, All Rights Reserved, Multiple Skiers Injured, 1 Severely, After 2 Chairlifts Fall in a Month, Copper Mountain Expands Uphill Ski Program, The Bestselling Gear at Backcountry This Week, Waterproof Cushion and Flair: HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat Mid 2 GTX Review, Playful, Aggressive, Yet Affordable AF: Ibis Ripley AF Review, Watch: Pro Skiers Surf the Season's Last Pow on Epic Road Trip, Action Filmmaking: Watch This Skier Make It Big, Watch: An Unconventional Bass Fishing Jig With Unlikely Beginnings, Fishing for Lines: Icelandic Snowboarder Pursues Passions by Sea and Summit, Ride Home: Lael Wilcox Closes in on One of Her Most Hallowed Objectives, The Bestselling Gear at Competitive Cyclist This Week, Today's Bargains: 3 Deals on Pants for Men & Women. But if you want to continue soaking in the natural beauty for a while longer, keep hiking on to Emerald Lake. Hiking trail in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. There is also plenty of shade along the way, and you'll pass a few parks that are perfect for a picnic lunch. For optimal hiking conditions, visit Lake Isabelle from June to October. There are bathrooms and water fountains near the parking lot, but make sure you bring a water bottle. The lot does fill up, so it’s best to get your day started early if you want to snag a parking space, especially on the weekends. To get to this hike, enter at Red Rocks Entrance #4. The Wild Basin trail network also includes a strenuous, 12-mile round-trip hike to beautiful sub-alpine Bluebird Lake. For starters, you’ll need a first-aid kit, a headlamp, a trail map, hiking shoes, and plenty of food and water in order to successfully bag your first 14er. ), I settled on Sky Pond. It is about a 90-minute drive from Denver to the Estes Park entrance of the park (Estes Park is also a cute town, with restaurants and accommodation and, in the fall, lots of elk). Dogs are allowed in Staunton State Park as long as they’re leashed. Note: Due to COVID-19, there may be additional closures, regulations, or reduced amenities. Right at the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park (but outside the park boundaries) is the 7.5-mile round-trip Storm Pass Trail to Estes Cone Trail, which takes you to the eastern edge of the epic Estes Cone inside the park. The Castle trail. The Lariat Loop is a 40 mile trip that has several interesting pit stops along the way, including the towns of Golden, Morrison, Idledale, Kittredge, Evergreen, and a number of state parks. Difficulty:  Hard More than half of the trail is above the tree line, and you will encounter a slew of steep switchbacks and some bouldering near the top. Elevation gain: 679 feet. If that lot is full, you can park in the other many Red Rocks lots. She loves all things photography, film, and poetry. Just 40 minutes from Denver, Staunton State Park also features a vast trail system not only for hiking but also for mountain biking. Location: Arapahoe National Forest Drive time: 45 minutes from Denver The trail is mostly shaded and level, and you'll have the creek in view for much of the hike. Located near the eastern base of the Rocky Mountain, Denver is home to some incredible hiking destinations. Sometimes, the storms can be rather unexpected. The trail is rather narrow at times, and it goes in and out of the shade, so wear sunscreen and possibly a hat. Dogs are allowed, but they need to be leashed. It also forms a loop and offers great views. Take your climbing to the next level with top picks from Metolius, So iLL, and more. Drive time: 1 hour and 20 minutes from Denver If your car isn’t capable, you’ll need to park in the lower lot, which will add 3 miles to your hike. You’ll find detailed information about each trail, including the location, difficulty, mileage and any red tape. Head south of Denver on I-25 for about 30 minutes to the city of Castle Rock. And leave your four-legged hiking companion at home for this one. Many of the hikes near Denver listed here are inside parks, be it city, like Chautauqua Park in downtown Boulder, or national and legendary, like Rocky Mountain National Park about 90 minutes northwest of Denver. The lot does fill up, so it’s best to get your day started early if you want to snag a parking space, especially on the weekends. Chautauqua Park, in downtown Boulder, hosts dozens of... 3. While there are some rocky sections of trail, the trail climbs gradually, making for a not too difficult hike. Distance: 3.2-mile loop Location: Windy Saddle Park If you want to experience the beauty of Colorado aspen trees in the … Typically, the storms don’t last long. Along the way, you'll have great views of Big Thompson Canyon and the eastern plains. If you're up for traveling from Denver for a couple of days I've been doing a lot of hiking in Chaffee County. For something short, you can do the half-mile hike to Copeland Falls, although most people continue on to Calyspso Cascades for a 3.6-mile round-trip hike. Colorado is the place to be for hikes that will challenge you. It is a strenuous hike that includes lots of zigzags, as well as stream crossings, as the trail makes its way to the summit of Lookout Mountain-it joins up with the Beaver Brook and Lookout Mountain Trails to do so. But if you want a slightly easier hike, ascend the Red Rocks Trail, then descend the Morrison Slide Trail. Location: Matthews Winters Park As you continue on from Nymph Lake to Dream Lake, you will be treated to endless wildflowers, in season. After the hike, you can treat the little ones or yourself to ice-cream in downtown Golden. Reviewers say that this trail is extremely well-marked, making for worry-free navigation. The cone looks like some kind of volcanic crater but is actually the result of natural erosion. We asked five pros how they made it work and what it takes to make a living in the outdoor industry "in real life.". Note: while this trail is great for adventurous families, … 10 Best Hikes Near Denver, Colorado Green Mountain along with Hayden Trail Loop. If hiking the Red Rocks Trail first, you will start your hike on a steady incline. However, on most days for this hike, you should go all out with sun protection. You can find her anywhere outside with beautiful sights alongside her German Shepherd companion, Jasper. © Copyright 2021 PlanetWare Inc. All rights reserved. NordicTrack wants to give you $7,500 toward your dream adventure. And on the hike to Lake Isabelle, there are waterfalls and wildflowers. Keep an eye out for wildlife — maybe you’ll see a wild turkey or, as the name suggests, a mule deer! The first half of the hike is the most challenging. As an out-and-back hike, you can turn around at any point to customize the length of your hike. Along the trail, you will hike alongside peaceful streams and through shaded pine forests. Typically, the more difficult hikes are farther away from Denver. Now for the intense stuff. Along with that, the morning light reflecting off the water and pond lilies of Nymph Lake is unbeatable. This isn't for the casual hiker, if you aren't in excellent physical condition, you could get seriously injured. While Red Rocks Park is best known for its world-famous amphitheater nestled between 300-foot-high rock formations, the 640-acre Denver mountain park also … The 7.9 mile round-trip hike takes you up to 13,233 feet with an elevation gain of 2,789 feet. One of my favorite hikes near Denver is at Mount Falcon Park. From here, you'll have views across the city, as well as the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains-Long's Peak will be to the northwest and Pike's Peak to the southwest. And the park is located right behind Red Rocks Amphitheater, which is an absolute must-see while staying in Denver. Sugarloaf Mountain Trail, Roosevelt NF 1.3 miles RT 439 feet elevation gain. But if you want an extended outing or maybe just a full night’s rest before venturing up the mountain, there are a few dispersed camp spots at the upper trailhead. From the Bear Lake trail head, hikers can continue to Dream Lake (1 mile) and Nymph Lake (2.2 miles.) (Danika Worthington, The Denver Post) I recently found some old … Elevation Gain: 1,256 feet Go as slow as needed and take in the beautiful views and the striking red rock formations. If you pay attention to how you’re feeling as you gain elevation, you can more than likely bypass any serious symptoms. Difficulty: moderate/difficult Also check out these guides to nearby areas: the best hikes near Boulder, the best hikes near Fort Collins, and the best hikes near Rocky Mountain National Park. Even better, it’s only a 25-minute drive from Denver. The trails here range in length from half a mile to a demanding 5.5-mile round-trip hike that takes you to the summit of Green Mountain and back. Once you pass the trailhead, you’ll see signs to the left to begin the hike on the Lake Isabelle Trail. And if the day ends up being overcast, well, the overcast sky makes the red rocks even more vibrant! The hike itself is a mix of sun and shade as you hike through the trees and meadows. Here are some of the best short day hikes near Denver, CO, in no particular order: ... it also boasts some of the Front Range’s best day-hiking options near Denver. If you’ve ever taken a day trip from Denver to Estes Park, you have driven... Centennial Cone Trail from Camino Perdido. or this hike, you should go all out with sun protection. The trail is part of the Round Mountain National Recreation Trail system that includes the Foothills Nature Trail, which is only a mile long and perfect for kids. Location: Brainard Lake Recreation Area (Indian Peaks Wilderness) These include Elk Meadows Park, Glendale Open Space Park, and Cherry Creek State Park, to name a few. Who says you need an entire day to get out into the mountains? Boulder has great hiking in the early spring. The Red Rocks Amphitheater is surrounded by the towering red rock formations it takes its name from and is famous for its acoustics. On days when many trails become inaccessible due to snow, rain, or mud, this trail is normally accessible, making it a good year-round hike. Grays and Torreys Peaks is one of the many famous Colorado 14ers. The list includes Mount Elbert, Capitol Peak, San Luis Peak, and others. Hikers overlooking Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. But if you're looking for a challenge in one of Colorado's most beautiful natural locations, it's a must-do. Enjoy this easy start as the upper portions of the trail are rocky, and you’ll have to watch your footing. Difficulty: Moderate As it goes with the majority of Colorado trails, dogs are allowed if they are leashed. The park features views of Boulder's signature Flatiron rock formations from many different angles. View of the Flatirons from Chautauqua Park. As a 14er, Longs Peak comes with its own set of risks and should never be taken lightly. But the Mount Morrison South Ridge Trail is only 25 minutes away from downtown and has some of the best hiking near Denver. Elevation gain: 705 feet. Paved at first and then turning to dirt, it follows the creek, and kids will enjoy keeping an eye out for kayakers running the chutes, and cliff swallow birds that build their nests along the 6th Ave bridge you pass. So pack your day hiking essentials, and get ready to explore the Colorado Front Range. Drive time: 50 minutes from Denver The 10 Best Hiking Trails Near Denver 10. From next-gen tech to ingenious innovation, our weekly peek at emerging products examines the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design. The trail is not too steep and has very clear signage. In the Roosevelt National Forest, about 60 miles from Denver in Loveland, the Summit Adventure Trail is a moderately difficult hike that climbs Sheep Mountain to its 8,450-foot summit. Difficulty: Hard HIKES NEAR COLORADO SPRINGS. Leashed dogs are allowed, but because of the technical rock scaling near the end of this hike, only bring your dog if you’re confident they can handle this terrain. Once you've started walking, you'll cross the Continental Divide and have stunning views of Longs Peak, Mount Meeker, and the Twin Sisters, among other lofty highlights. Hikers enjoying the view from the summit of Pikes Peak. The Davis Ponds Loop trail is another option that is much less intense and perfect for families. Elevation gain: 633 feet. While there are no restrooms right by the trailhead, you can drive to the. Most people know of Red Rocks for its iconic outdoor concert venue. From Denver, cruising south on I-25, take exit 141 for Highway 24 West. Dog-Friendly:... 2. Starting in the early morning is a great idea for this destination, as it can become extremely crowded. For a slightly less intense hike, try the Enchanted Mesa Loop trail, which also features gorgeous mountain views and takes you through a variety of different terrain, including pine forest. The strenuous hike begins at Lily Lake. When you’re bored there is nothing better than taking a fun day hike from Denver. Within the parks, you'll find dozens of trails, from easy to difficult. 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In the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, close to Boulder and just under 60 miles from Denver, Brainard Lake Recreation Area sits on the Continental Divide and is home to multiple hiking trails. To see it from above, you'll want to do the difficult 10.8-mile loop trail to the Elk Falls Overlook. Literally in the city of Boulder, Chautauqua Park is just a 45-minute drive from Denver and is home to dozens of different hiking trails-from quick and easy strolls to physically intense hikes with lots of elevation change. From the incredible views from the Red Rocks Amphitheater to the historic castle ruins in Mount Falcon Park, you are bound to find a hike that excites you. When you're ready to explore the best hikes near Denver, explore our recommendations. Pack your lunch and enough water so that you can stop at the falls in the middle of your hike and enjoy your surroundings. Lariat Loop. Dogs are allowed, but they need to be leashed. Check out my itinerary below for a long weekend guide to the best hikes near Denver! A good portion of this hike has no shade, so plan accordingly. There are restrooms at the upper trailhead near the camping areas. There is a requested $20 honor system donation into a box near the trailhead. There’s a road that leads to the upper trailhead, and it’s rough terrain. Difficulty: Easy We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 Colorado 14ers. Dogs are not allowed on any trails in Rocky Mountain National Park. One accessible area for hiking is the Wild Basin trail network, which offers a range of hikes for all fitness levels. 10 Beautiful Hikes to Take Near Denver Mayflower Gulch Trail. If you want to stop at 2 miles, you can make your final destination Dream Lake. The hike itself is rather long, but the trail remains moderate throughout. Try the Dushanbe Tea House for something truly unique-the landmark teahouse was shipped piece by piece from Boulder's sister city in Tajikistan. HIKES NEAR BOULDER, COLORADO. There’s an upper parking lot and a lower parking lot; both require a $9 parking pass. Evans, the Continental Divide, and the city. Distance: 3.8-mile out-and-back Distance:  8.6 miles The Lookout Mountain Trail will take you to the top of the mountain to — you guessed it — look out over the mountainous surroundings. While this mountain just west of Colorado Springs and about 75 miles from Denver is not the easiest 14er to climb it is one of the most impressive-Katharine Bates was inspired to pen America the Beautiful after summiting Pikes Peak. Explore the red rock Fountain Formations of the park plus eastern views of Denver and beyond from the Trading Post Trail. Located only 20 minutes away from the city center, this is an excellent hike if you don’t want to overexert yourself or if you just want to make it back to the city in time to have dinner at a restaurant patio. Elevation gain: 650 feet. This hike gives you not only breathtaking views of the Rockies to the west but... Upper Mule Deer Trail. The final part of this hike requires a lot of bouldering to reach the top, so this is really not the hike for beginners or anyone not in excellent shape. One of the best places to hike near Denver, in my opinion, is the city of Boulder. Get an early start, even on weekdays, to secure a parking spot at the upper trailhead. You can also take a secondary loop around the base of the rock itself. Leashed dogs are allowed. For something more intense try the six-mile Red Rocks trail. First and Second Flat Iron Based on our research, we’ve gathered this list of some of the more popular hikes near Denver. Once you reach the top, you’ll have views of Denver’s Front Range including Mt. Hells Hole Trail in Idaho Springs The hike is worth the effort because the views from the top of the mountain show Boulder and surrounding suburbs in panoramic glory. 10 Best Hikes Near Denver, Colorado Green Mountain and Hayden Trail Loop. This list of the 11 best hikes near Denver without crowds includes trails for all abilities. Top Denver Hiking Trails: See reviews and photos of hiking trails in Denver, Colorado on Tripadvisor. Well, he just casually slacklined across this spectacular canyon, a mere 500 feet in the air. You will take the FF1 or FF2 (Flatiron Flyer) bus from the RTD Bus Station which is connected to Denver’s downtown Union Station. Though you won’t reach such gravity-defying heights on your hike, you will enjoy memorable views of Eldorado Canyon and the surrounding area. Overview: After doing tons of research on hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park (there are over 300 miles of trails throughout the park! The Mayflower Gulch trailhead sits... 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