Some Hot Denver area Hiking Trails

Denver Hiking Trails


More and more people around Denver are getting caught by the health and wellness bug.  There is a growing advocacy to stay fit and healthy. Also, the allure and beauty of nature is catching the attention of a lot of people nowadays.  One activity that targets both is hiking, where you build stamina and resistance while being treated to an up close view of nature’s splendor.

If you are headed out to Denver, Colorado, or nearby areas, you may want to try the following hikes.

Chautauqua Park in Boulder

Just 40 minutes from the city, Chautauqua Park offers a lot of trail options.  In fact, it has one, if not the best trail system on Colorado’s Front Range. This park became popular because of the Flatiron formations that can be viewed on the trail.  It is also in close proximity to shops and restaurants.

Another option is a hidden alcove behind the Flatirons.  Rehabilitated from the 2013 floods, The Royal Arch Trail outs hikers below a massive naturally-formed granite arch.

The hike through the pine forest of The Enchanted Mesa Loop is also a great hike option in the area.

If you are in for a workout, you may try the more challenging Green Mountain, with the promise of a magnificent view on top.

Ouzel Falls

The Ouzel Falls is becoming a popular hike spot in the Rocky Mountain National Park.  Its main attraction is the rare calypso orchid, also called the fairy slipper orchid, endemic to the falls.  It is often hidden beneath trees but hikers going on a wildflower hike from Calypso Cascades to Ouzel Falls, are sometimes treated to a sighting of it. If you are not lucky enough to get a glimpse of the slipper orchid, you may still feast your eyes on the numerous wildflowers on this round-trip hike.  The difficulty of this hike is moderate, commencing on a flat path with beautiful meadows of wildflowers, then gradually spiraling up a gentle incline. The trail gets steeper with the ascend to Ouzel Falls, but many attest that the sight of the majestic 40-foot waterfalls with an elevation of 9,370 feet is truly worth the climb

Trading Post Trail (Red Rocks Park)

For newbies and neophytes in the hiking scene, it may be best to start with The Trading Post Trail.  This has an easy level of difficulty and can be tried by the whole family. It also houses the Red Rocks Amphitheater and is less than 20 miles away from the town of Morrison, dubbed as the leading concert venue in the country.  The trail is famous for its dramatic rocky out droppings that can be seen at the foothills of the mountain. The Trading Post Trail gives breathtaking views throughout its well-manicured 2.8 mile loop. Since there are a lot of concerts in the summer, it is usually closed at around 2 P.M.

Garden of the Gods (Colorado Springs)

Another gorgeous place for hiking is the Garden of the Gods.  It features a beautiful red rock formation just outside of Colorado Springs.  Short hiking trails sprout from the Visitors’ Center. Some of these trails are paved, while some veer away from the main road away from the crowds.   On clear days, hikers are treated to a view of the Cathedral Valley. The hiking trail has a difficulty of easy to moderate and the loop trail is just around 4 miles.  You also do not need to walk very far from the parking lot to the trail.

Emerald Lake (Rocky Mountain National Park)

If you are looking for a short day hike, The Emerald Lake in the Rocky Mountain National Park is the best place to go.  Traversing the lakes Nymph Lake and Dream Lake, with magnificent views of the Longs Peak in the background, Emerald Lake is at 1.8 miles away from the trail head and 10,000 feet in elevation.  Also part of the trail are five active glaciers, one of which is the Tyndall Glacier that feeds the Emerald Lake. It is best to use the park’s shuttle service because parking space is scarce due to the heavy volume of hikers going there.

Roxborough State Park

The Roxborough State Park has a lot of trails in it.  Declared as a national natural landmark because of its geological wonders, such as fossil remains and hogback rides, the trail is a quick drive from Denver.  It encompasses 4,000 acres, with different hikes for each difficulty level.

The Willow Creek Trail is a loop covering 1.4 miles, leading to an oak forest and willow bush.  Another charming addition is the presence of a creek, where you can dip your feet before commencing with the hike.

The easiest trail is the Fountain Valley Trail, a loop with a length of 2.2 miles.  This trail offers a spectacular red-rock formations.

There’s also Willow Creek Trail, a 1.4 mile loop that leads through oak forest and willow bush, with a creek where you can cool your feet before hiking onward.

You can also check out special hikes led by naturalists who guide you on treks exploring the area’s geology that represents 1.2 billion years of history. Some of these naturalist hikes focus on single topics, like keeping a naturalist journal.



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