As any Denver resident will tell you, one of the greatest perks of living there is its proximity to a range of incredible hiking trails.
Whether you’re looking for an afterwork activity or a weekend adventure, you are bound to find a great hiking trail a mere stone's throw away from the city, with spectacular views and varied landscapes, there is nothing stopping you from heading a short drive out of Denver and into the great outdoors.
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.
Below is a guide to the best hikes near Denver.
The Red Rocks Trail falls right in the heart of the Red Rocks Park. This easy trail takes you through the park’s meadows surround the giant monoliths that make this park famous.
The highlight of this incredible trail is the Red Rocks Amphitheater – climb up the steps to the top for magnificent views of the city of Denver.
The 6-mile, 3-hour roundtrip trail is a mere 20-minute drive from Denver, so you have zero excuses not to go check it out.
The trail is open all-year round and it is a great after-work activity. You can even bring your dogs as long as they remain on the leash.
There is little stopping you from exploring the rock formations and panoramic views of the city scape.
Mount Falcon Park is only a 30-minute drive from downtown Denver and offers several trails and routes.
The park includes stunning views of the Rockies, downtown Denver as well as historic ruins.
The three most popular trails are the Castle Ruins Trail, the Meadow Trail and the Tower Trail.
The Trail of choice is the Castle Ruins Trail. This trail is a 3.7-mile loop and boasts gorgeous city views.
Although the terrain along this trail, and most of Mount Falcon Park, is relatively flat, the Castle Ruins Trail will definitely leave your legs burning.
The highlight of this trail is of course the castle ruins, which is actually the ruins of Walker Mansion.
The trail is perfect for a spring or summer hike and offers a great picnic spot along the way to the ruins. A great option for the entire family.
One thing to keep in mind is that the trail tends to get quite busy due to its popularity.
Waterton Canyon offers one of Denver’s classic hikes. The canyon is convenient, accessible and only 35 minutes outside of Denver.
There are a lot of options when it comes to hiking in the Waterton Canyon, from a short hike in to the canyon to one of the many picnic spots or the 12.4-mile out-and-back hike to the Strontia Springs Dam.
A well-maintained winding dirt trail road takes you along the South Platte river and into the beautiful Waterton Canyon where you could very well spot some wildlife; from trout in the river, to a golden eagle soaring above, and you may even see a Bighorn sheep.
However, due to the presence of wildlife, dogs are strictly prohibited.
This beautiful hike is accessible all-year round and the perfect option for an evening picnic next to the river.
The trailhead offers ample parking and restrooms are available at the beginning of the hike and at one point along the way.
The Golden Gate Canyon State Park, located west of Denver off Highway 93, consists of 12,000 glorious acres of meadows, forests and mountains with 35-miles of hiking trails.
There are 12 marked trails ranging from 1-mile to over 6-miles. These trails are of varying difficulty; these trails include the Elk Trail, the Raccoon Trail, the Horseshoe Hare Trail and the Horseshoe Trail, all of which should take around 2 hours to complete.
A good moderate trail to choose is the Horseshoe Trail, which is 1.8-miles in length. The trail takes you through Frazer Meadow for prime wildflower viewing in the spring and summer months.
The park offers you the opportunity to enjoy incredible hiking in spring and summer or you can watch Aspen change colours in Autumn.
You can enjoy a variety of different activities in winter such as cross-country skiing and exploring the park on snowshoes in winter.
For $80, you can even rent out your very own yurt for the evening if you wish to spend the night in the park.
The yurts are equipped with heaters, so they can be occupied all-year round.
The park is open from 5am-10pm and parking costs $7 per day.
If you’re willing to travel a little further, the Castlewood Canyon State Park, located 50 minutes south of Denver, is a great option.
The park offers several easy to moderate trail options, with most of the trails being shorter than 2-miles.
You can, however, combine loops to make your hike as long as you’d like.
The Creek Bottom Trail winds along the beautiful Cherry Creek and connects you to the Dam Ruins Trail, which offers a view of the now-defunct Castlewood Dam.
If you’re an avid bird watcher, the Castlewood Canyon State Park is definitely recommended as you will have the opportunity to spot birds such as Turkey Vultures, Bluebirds and Canyon Wrens.
The park is open from 9am to 5pm and you will be required to pay a $7 parking pass.
Located just 20 minutes outside of Denver, hiking up North Table Mountain is a great option if you don’t have much time on your hands and you’re looking to get some fresh air.
There are several trail options on North Table Mountain, ranging from 2.7-miles long to 7.7-miles. The trails are of moderate difficulty and you can expect to take anywhere from 1 hour to 4 hours to complete your hike depending on which trail you choose.
Once at the top of the butte, you will be treated to glorious views of the windswept grasses. You may even be able to spot a Golden Eagle or two.
The trails are accessible all-year round, but it is definitely recommended to go in the spring or early summer months, so you can have the opportunity to see the wildflowers bloom.
Great news for those who want to bring their dogs along, your pooch is more than welcome to join you on your hike as long as they’re on a leash.
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Mark has trekked extensively in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. He founded Mountain IQ in 2014 with the sole aim to be the best online information portal to some of the most popular mountain destinations around the world. When not writing for Mountain IQ, Mark is out exploring the outdoors with his wife!
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