7 Of The Best Day Hikes Near Denver

The Flat Irons | Boulder- This hike is the gem of Boulder! It’s about thirty minutes outside Denver in one of the prettiest towns in CO. Hike the Flatirons in Chautauqua Park, then jump on over to Pearl Street for hot food, cold beer, and good vibes. It makes for an all around awesome day!


Grey Rock | Ft. Collins- This is an incredible hike about an hour and a half north of Denver, in the Poudre Canyon. It lies just west of Ft. Collins in the Roosevelt National Forest and it is worth every step! The final number is close to 7.5 miles round trip, but there are two different trails that you can take up or down, so it just depends on what route you decide on. We took a short, steep hike up and a leisurely (but extremely long) route for the way down. The hike is tough but the summit is the best lunch view you will ever have!


 

Dream Lake, Emerald lake, Nymph Lake, Lake Haiyaha | RMNP, Estes Park. – Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, and Emerald Lake is a string of beautiful sights that starts at the Bear Lake Trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park, accessed easiest by the Estes Park Entrance. It ends up close to 4 miles round trip, depending on how many little side trails you explore, but it isn’t very strenuous. This is just one of many beautiful sites that lie close to Estes Park, a beautiful little town an hour and a half northwest of Denver! The perfect place to explore for the day with easy access to the trails in that area of RMNP.

 


Loch vale | RMNP – This hike can easily be paired up with the string of lakes listed above. Beginning at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead, the trail to Loch Vale is close to 3 miles with incredible views the whole way. The trail passes by Alberta Falls, a stunning waterfall that cant be missed! When you reach the Loch, you’ll find it’s a popular lunch spot before heading back. (It’s another 1.3 miles to Timberline Falls, 1.5 miles to the Lake of Glass, and 1.9 to Sky Pond. During the winter months, you cannot continue any farther past the loch unless you have the proper snow trekking equipment. We made the hike in May and we could not continue.)

 


Garden of the gods| Colorado Springs – Although it’s a little touristy, it’s a must do! This landscape of awesome rock formations is a National Natural Landmark and boasts some of the coolest red rocks you’ve ever seen. Because it is touristy and can become crowded during all hours of the day, I recommend going to explore when the parks opens (times can vary based on season). When we were visiting, we got to the park at 5am and had the entire place to ourselves. It was something else to see the giant rock formations peering out from behind blankets of fog with no one else around… It really was like we traveled back in time. You can absolutely spend the whole day exploring this park and its trails.

 


Manitou Incline | Manitou Springs – Hardest Hike Ever. Ok, that might be a little dramatic, but it’s also a little true. How long is it you ask? Oh, it’s just a mile. Short, right? Yes. Except, its one mile STRAIGHT UP. Literally, a direct incline… In Colorado altitude. Seriously though, its an amazing experience and must do! (People run this thing up and down for military training and serious exercise, so don’t be discouraged if people are running past you). Good luck!


 

Paint Mines | Calhan – Such an incredible hidden gem! Located about an hour and a half south of Denver, the Paint Mines Interpretive Park in Calhan is a 750 acre park that features a section of multicolored rock and clay that looks like something out of a movie. When we visited in May, we had a beautifully overcast chilly day to take in the trails, fields, colors, and formations. This place is in the middle of nowhere but it’s truly magical.