By the end of the day, we had a basic plan in place, living situation and all. We camped, climbed and backpacked almost every week. If that lot is full, you can park in the other many Red Rocks lots. After moving a couple of times around Denver, we realized we didn’t want a city: we wanted mountains. Jon began working 50-60 hours per week and we moved into a small apartment in the city. And, sure, you can see a lot of gorgeous views from the comfort of your vehicle, but there’s nothing like experiencing the Colorado wilderness on foot. I can’t wait to try some of these out the next time I’m back home. The Denver Botanic Gardens has just about everything you could want in an Instagrammable locale. My husband took a photo of me taking a photo of mountains from the middle of an alpine lake. While Rocky Mountain National Park is breathtaking and full of wonder – we got married there, after all – the tourism season is very short, making it a nightmare for someone seeking quiet. The Sleepy Lion Trail is one of the best hikes in Lyons. This area is bursting with wildlflowers in the summer, and the sunrises here fill up the giant sky! But if you want a slightly easier hike, ascend the Red Rocks Trail, then descend the Morrison Slide Trail. Learn how your comment data is processed. Either hike is worthwhile and one of the best hikes near Denver thanks to the beautiful mountain scenery and wildflowers along thew ay. You’ll see most of Jefferson County and many large mountains. j=d.createElement(s),dl=l!='dataLayer'? Travel Tips. With that, bring water and maybe even a refreshing snack, like an apple, to reward yourself after you get through the first half. While there are some rocky sections of trail, the trail climbs gradually, making for a not too difficult hike. We’ve been in our new state, Colorado, for six months. The hard work will be well worth it. This is probably the easiest hike on my list as far as mileage and elevation gain are concerned. The majority of the trail is sunny, meaning the trail is usually dry, with the added bonus of wildflowers in the spring. Difficulty: Easy Elevation gain: 3,684 feet. Take the distance that it takes to walk from the lot to the trailhead into account. The land is very delicate and can take hundreds of years to repair what’s been damaged. Reviewers say that this trail is extremely well-marked, making for worry-free navigation. You’ll start this hike through meadows and wildflowers, traveling alongside a stream. 10 Best Hikes Near Denver, Colorado Green Mountain along with Hayden Trail Loop. Really, really steep. There’s a $12 fee (cash only) to enter the area, but if you have a National Parks Pass, entry is free. If your car isn’t capable, you’ll need to park in the lower lot, which will add 3 miles to your hike. Just take your time and enjoy it. We’d recommend good hiking shoes and hiking poles. Get there nice and early and chances are you’ll see very few people! It is a class 1, with the tiniest bit of class 2, making it doable for families and most in-shape doggos. This is definitely one of my favorite day hikes near Denver because it’s a quick drive, short hike, and has beautiful views. Looking for more incredible day hikes out west? My 50-year-old mother — who loves nature but doesn’t hike often — had a wonderful time hiking this trail. Denver, the capital city of Colorado, is famous for its pristine mountain vistas and idyllic landscapes. #optoutside #peace #alpinelake #glacier #coloradogram #365project #raft #snowstorm #backpacker #maysnow #snowfall #wilderness #forceofnature #photographylife #publicland #deepsnow #hlaw #rockymountains #womenwhohike #rockies #iphoneshot #kokopelli #photographer #mountains #explore #alpine #packraft #colorado, A post shared by Deirdre Denali Rosenberg (@deirdredenaliphotography) on May 20, 2017 at 12:10pm PDT. Distance: 7.5 miles out-and-back From the summit, you have a panoramic view of giant mountains, including Mount of the Holy Cross. With so much to do and see we wanted to pick the seven most Instagrammmable spots so you can get the perfect snaps from your travels.. When Jon proposed to me months later, I accepted and we happily married one another in the mountains of Colorado with Longs Peak setting the stage. On your way down, the marmots will be waking up and scurrying around. A good portion of this hike has no shade, so plan accordingly. The Best Day Hikes Near Denver to Avoid Crowds When most people think of hiking in Colorado, peace, solitude and wilderness are usually the goal. It’s truly a spectacle. Below are our picks for the best day hikes from Denver, ranging from relatively easy strolls in the foothills to the highest 14er in the state (and second highest peak in the contiguous United States). The good majority of your elevation gain is going to be in a short, half-mile segment near the summit. Be sure to go at your own pace when descending Grizzly Peak. The Herman Gulch Trail is one of the best summer wildflower hikes near Denver. Updated: The Best Colorado Hot Springs. There are several routes to the falls ranging from 0.8 to 4 miles round trip. The trail opens into a meadow towards the top, which is known to have bighorn sheep and elk grazing. By Sarah Kuta, Special to The Denver Post Dec 12, 2018, 5:26 pm. Our first day in Vail, we camped. While there are no restrooms right by the trailhead, you can drive to the Red Rocks Amphitheater to use the restroom if needed. The rest of your hike is going to be on tundra. Now you must go down it. By signing up, you agree to receive emails from GearJunkie and Helux. Dogs are allowed, but they need to be leashed. Be aware that there’s a constant change in elevation throughout this hike — pace yourself accordingly. If that lot is full, you can park in the other many Red Rocks lots. Instead, go forward, past some snow. When hiking a 14er, it’s important to know what essential gear you need. Like all things though people’s two seconds of fame and “likes” on their social media will lead to over population, trail damage and trash. Bring layers, as the higher you get, the more wind there will be. I live in Denver and I’ve only heard of the hikes near Loveland Pass. Difficulty: Hard The Best Things To Do For Fall, In Colorado. Take the distance that it takes to walk from the lot to the trailhead into account. Keep an eye out for wildlife — maybe you’ll see a wild turkey or, as the name suggests, a mule deer! Distance: 3-mile loop This 2.3 mile hike is not your typical fall foliage trek, but instead a short guided hike followed by a ride on a vintage train back to the trail head. Am bookmarking this for when I take a trip there. Difficulty: Moderate It may be easy to go to a National Park, because they’re glorious and well known. As an out-and-back hike, you can turn around at any point to customize the length of your hike. However, the trail is very popular for hikers and mountain bikers, so make sure your four-legged companion is on their best behavior. What fun! Now I know there are places where I can get away from the crowds as well! With this list, I hope to help visitors and Colorado residents alike find places of solitude: perfect wilderness to take a break from the busy world. Elevation gain: 633 feet. Tyler Wilcox ... Don’t forget to turn around – the Capitol steps also boast one of the best mountain views in Denver. These hikes offer a variety of landscapes, from the red rocks of South Valley Park, to the enormous cottonwood trees that line the Highline Canal, you can experience the broad vistas of the Flatirons, or the aspen laden meadows near Evergreen. Great content overall and really nice layout! If you aren’t familiar with scrambling, this means that you are ascending/descending giant rocks and boulders that generally go straight up. I didn’t imagine it happening until I was a very old woman. 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. Drive time: 1 hour and 20 minutes from Denver Compared to the surrounding mountains, Audubon is a gradual hike with broad ridges and tons of open tundra. And if you’re looking for a Denver travel itinerary, check out this post that includes my favorite hidden gems in the area! Aug 4, 2020 - Heading to Colorado and looking for photo-worthy, Instagrammable places around Denver? Be sure to check ahead for current closures and any necessary reservations before you head out for the day. 5. Check out these gifts for hikers under $25. It wasn’t going to be easy, but anything was better than the situation we were in. If you visit during the off-season, you can use the winter hiking trail for a snowshoe or nordic ski option. Of course, there may be some mud after it rains, so be careful not to slip. If you’re a local, become a member for unlimited access to one of the most Instagrammable places in Denver. And on the hike to Lake Isabelle, there are waterfalls and wildflowers. Hike your heart out- it climbs incredibly fast for the first mile. The trail splits here and you are going to go right. Your email address will not be published. Over 20 Hikes That Are 30 Minutes or Less From Denver. Start early and keep an eye on the weather. The hard work to get here was relentless, but so worth it! If you would like to make this a much longer day of 13ers, instead of going back to your car after summitting, take the trail straight, to that right you went left at. The trail is best between April and October. At the beginning of the trail, you’ll follow an old road. There is one thing to be aware of with this fun hike: it’s open to hikers every other day, and on those opposite days, open only to mountain bikers. Who says you need an entire day to get out into the mountains? On this hike you will summit two 13ers, you will see marmots and you might see mountain goats. Anyway, as far as our “2 seconds of fame,” I’m still over here waiting on that fame, but please know that social media likes and such are an important part of what is, for me, a full time job. Dogs are allowed, but they need to be leashed. You’ll know you’ve summited once you cross a little saddle. You may unsubscribe at any time. I share your concerns about trail damage, over-population and trash, and always, ALWAYS stress following Leave No Trace principals whether you’re backpacking or just day-hiking. I fell in love with the idea of hiking from reading/watching ‘Wild’ last year. It’s against state law to block it! The hike to Square Top Mountain is a choose your own adventure! If you keep a pretty good clip, within an hour you will be at the summit. These undiscovered hiking trails near Denver, Colorado promise amazing sights, solitude, and a good chance of wildlife sightings – and they’re all an easy drive from Denver. Some hikers have even been lucky enough to see baby goats near the summit! Ahem. 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. No matter what direction you go from Denver, the scenery will make you feel like you’ve entered an alternate universe. When you break above treeline, you will see more mountains and a vast tundra, also full of wildflowers. A post shared by 54thirty Rooftop (@54thirty) on May 15, 2018 at 2:57pm PDT. This hike is the longest one on the list and features a stunning waterfall. Get an early start, even on weekdays, to secure a parking spot at the upper trailhead. The last bit of this hike is a class two scramble to the summit. There’s a road that leads to the upper trailhead, and it’s rough terrain. Thank you for sharing. Herman Lake is right at the base of Pettingell Peak, which is a 13er that sits at 13,553ft and is a class 2. And leave your four-legged hiking companion at home for this one. The terrain is rocky in many spots, giving marmots the perfect place to poke out their heads to say hello! Hey Dylan, unfortunately, those ads are how we pay for the free content that we publish (and for all of our bills). The wind here can be very harsh and sometimes that can be hard. We decided to right then to move to Colorado. And while those things can easily be found by locals, it can be a challenge for out of state visitors to get past the full trail-heads and stop and go hiking traffic, only to find wilderness that doesn’t quite feel wild due to all the people looking for the same thing. The Indian Peaks Wilderness is a great alternative to Rocky Mountain National Park and holds many opportunities for hiking, climbing, paddling and play without the bombardment of thousands upon thousands of people. If you’ve ever taken a day trip from Denver to Estes Park, you have driven through Lyons. I live near the Vail area & it’s so much fun living in the mountains. Mount Sniktau is located right at the top of the Loveland Pass. Or, if you have a Colorado State Park Pass, you won’t need to pay the day-use fee. A part of the first few miles is also an open cattle range, so you might make a cow friend. When you park, you’ll see a bathroom. There are four false summits, so don’t get your hopes up when you think the climb is over. For about a mile you will be hauling ass up a very steep slope. If you ever need more Colorado guest posts give me a shout! ), I settled on Sky Pond. The area I am talking about, where Audubon is, sits very close to the Continental Divide. Food porn has quickly become a way of life, and in the Mile High, there is no shortage of outrageous meals or beverages to shoot. Lake Isabelle Trail is located near Nederland, Colorado, a small mountain town with a population of fewer than 2,000 people, that has numerous options for good food and coffee after your hike. Located just 60 minutes from Denver, this hike begins at the historical railroad station and museum in Silver Plume. Elevation gain: 679 feet. Once you’re past that, the rest of the hike should be smooth sailing. By watching that, you’ll understand why many locals favor 13ers and eye roll the thought of doing a 14er on a weekend. We definitely agree about responsible trail access. Staunton State Park is Colorado’s 41st state park, opening to the public in 2013. P.S. The short 2.5 mile hike to Alberta Falls, tucked away in the Glacier Gorge Area of Rocky Mountain National Park, makes for the perfect family outing. Jasmine. Downtown Denver’s Top 10 Most Instagrammable Spots. Here’s DeDe’s guide to the 8 best day hikes near Denver, Colorado that nobody knows about! The trail is incredibly easy to stay on, and if you arrive early, you will have it to yourself. Adventure & Travel. We asked five pros how they made it work and what it takes to make a living in the outdoor industry "in real life.". They’ve been hiking and exploring their new wilderness backyard ever since! Location: Arapahoe National Forest Which is oftentimes the case. Anyone else ready to lace up their hiking boots (or trail runners, in our case) and hit the trails? Low key stalk us here and on social media. There are a few things you can do to help prevent altitude sickness when hiking near Denver or in Colorado in general. Stanley is located across the street from where you’ll be parked. If you continue on Glacier Gorge Trail to the Loch Vail Trail, you can experience much, much more, including The Loch, Timberline Falls, Lake of Glass, and the lesser known Lake of Glass Falls, and finally Sky Pond. Drive time: 20 minutes from Denver If distance is something you’re after, the Centennial Cone Trail has a lot to offer. No matter which way you choose to hike this loop, be sure to stop at the many overlooks to take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding area. I absolutely love hiking and can’t wait to visit the CO Rockies. While there are no restrooms right by the trailhead, you can drive to the. Location: Golden Gate Canyon State Park To reach Cupid Peak, you are going to hike through a lot of rolling tundra. These include Elk Meadows Park, Glendale Open Space Park, and Cherry Creek State Park, to name a few. Be sure to pack extra water, extra food and layers for rain. You can find her anywhere outside with beautiful sights alongside her German Shepherd companion, Jasper. Photographer Deirdre Denali Rosenberg recently followed her dreams to move with her new husband and their adorable dog to a cabin in the mountains in Colorado. By providing information, I’m helping people opt outside, explore, fall in love with new places, and live lives that are filled with adventure and exploration – conscientiously and respectfully. Staunton State Park is one of Colorado’s best state parks, and Elk Falls is just one of its many hidden gems. If your car isn’t capable, you’ll need to park in the lower lot, which will add 3 miles to your hike. It’s all very cute. The trail is a part of the Continental Divide Trail has many options for continuing on if you’d like to summit a mountain or two as a part of the whole shebang. Which you’ll locate easily, by seeing a giant cross in the middle of a mountain. The views from the top of the two peaks are outstanding. Required fields are marked *. Check out some of our other posts! The rushing water is peaceful and the flat terrain is a nice easy way to wrap things up. It is a 3.7 mile out and back, which means one thing in my book: arrive by 5am. Pretty creative naming, huh? ... A Guide to the State’s Best Waterfall Hikes.” Picturesque hikes in Jasper, Banff, Dinosaur Provincial Park, and Waterton Lakes National Park Fall foliage turning mountainsides to gold, chill mornings where you can see the sunlight drifting through the misty trees, and more! It’s home to a rich and diverse community of wildlife and plant species. As an Amazon Affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Drop us a comment below! We didn’t move to Colorado for people, for shopping, for any of that stuff. Share it on Pinterest! Here are my top gear recommendations for hiking, or you can check the full list of my favorite hiking & backpacking gear. These hikes are also great for those out-of-town guests that want to experience the “mountain life” but aren’t ready for a 14er. Centennial Cone has nipped this in the bud by implementing the alternative days rule. If you’ve spent much time hiking in Colorado or near Denver, then you probably know about the minor rivalry between boots and pedals. Which brings me to the last hike…. Denver, Colorado is the gateway the some of the most beautiful mountain passes, winding back-country trails, and scenic vistas in the United States. Dogs are not allowed on any trails in Rocky Mountain National Park. Once you pass the trailhead, you’ll see signs to the left to begin the hike on the Lake Isabelle Trail. Location: William F. Hayden Green Mountain Park Brainard Lake Recreation Area (Indian Peaks Wilderness), August 4th Is Now ‘Great American Outdoors Day’: NPS Announces Free Park Holiday, 14 Himalayan Hikes You Have to Experience. Distance: 3.8-mile out-and-back Colorado has been on my list for quite sometime; I only hear good things. (Coloradoans love their dogs.) At any rate, the hike to Herman Gulch is beautiful and simple. It’s a super cute little town with a lot of charm. Take it slow and you’ll be just fine. Enter before February 8th for your chance to win. ... comes everyone's desire to find the best and most challenging workouts. Once you reach the top, you’ll have views of Denver’s Front Range including Mt. This hike might be one of the greatest bang for your buck hikes in the area. Leashed dogs are allowed on this trail. Maybe be a cool cat and do both! When hiking in Colorado, be aware that lightning storms that can happen fairly often in the summer months. There’s a small parking lot right by the trailhead. Lush grounds, gorgeous exotic plants, impeccably designed architecture, colorful outdoor art, and calm, clear water. If you found this post helpful, please share it to Pinterest! If you’re interested in a bit of a challenge, I suggest you arrive at Loveland Pass around 5 or 6am. It is a vast body of water that you can fish in- if you have a permit! I think a few people knew about that one…. For all my life, the goal was to move into the mountains. But by writing about these trails that not many folks know about, we’re making them a little bit more accessible, which we think is a good thing. #wednesdayvibes #14er #conservation #rockymountains #colorfulcolorado #solitude #lifeisgood #ecology #optoutside #sheadventures #natureisbeautiful #hlaw #nikonphotography #coloradolife #flowers #wildflowers #nofilter #photographers #photographylife #wildernessculture #wildlifephotography #wildlife #mountainslovers #marmot #teamhlaw, A post shared by Deirdre Denali Rosenberg (@deirdredenaliphotography) on Aug 2, 2017 at 9:36am PDT. We had similar passions and goals, all of them pertaining to wilderness, conservation, and epic adventure. I would love to be able to get rid of them, but especially right now as travel is all but dead, we need them to stay afloat. The trail begins with a strenuous hike up, up, up! The main symptoms of altitude sickness include headache, dizziness, nausea, and shortness of breath. My best friend Nancy. From the get-go you’ll be dropping in a considerable amount, into a basin of willow, streams and rolling hills. The summit is unmarked but fairly obvious. Six months ago, I moved to Denver with my husband. And we’ve just begun to find what we’d been seeking out all along. I believe in kindness over everything and discomfort over settling. 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. But I’ll let her tell you about that. But if you want to continue soaking in the natural beauty for a while longer, keep hiking on to Emerald Lake. #tundra #alpenglow #conservation #lifeoutside #soloday #solitude #happy #mountainview #optoutside #continentaldivide #mountaineering #pine #hikelife #continentaldivide #summit2017 #cdt #nofilter #photographers #photographylife #sunriseporn #sunrise #colorful #mountainslovers #arapahonationalforest #earybird, A post shared by Deirdre Denali Rosenberg (@deirdredenaliphotography) on Jul 8, 2017 at 3:53am PDT. Super awesome day to get out for a nice big day hike. Denver 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. As for guest posts, we’d love one! Difficulty: Moderate If you go left, you will be summiting Sniktau, which is another 13er and worth your time. And the rolling terrain continues. 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