One of the best things about living in the Mile High City is its proximity to the mountains. But just a short drive from Denver, you’ll find an array of well-maintained hiking trails ranging from easy, shady venues in Evergreen forests, to leg-burning climbs that will leave you breathless. Some favorites include:
Alderfer Three Sisters Park. A mere 40 minutes from Denver and just past the town of Evergreen, the trails at Three Sisters will make you feel like you are hours away from the city. A myriad of options exist at the 770-acre park, including more than 15 miles of trails. Lots of big shady trees make this area good for beginners and people looking to beat the heat.
Bear Park. There are multiple ways to reach Boulder’s most iconic mountain top, Bear Peak, including the less-traveled route from Shanahan Ridge. This gorgeous trail is nearly seven miles of grueling hiking that is not for the faint of heart. But the challenge is worth it, and once you have reached the top, the views will make you forget the 2,490 feet of climbing.
Chicago Lakes. It will take you most of the day to tackle this nine-mile climb near Idaho Springs to the trails upper lakes. But the views in the Mount Evans Wilderness Area are top-notch, and the high altitude climb is an amazing work-out. Check out the trail in the spring and early summer when the wildflowers peak. You can also continue hiking to Summit Lake or even to the top of Mount Evans.
Lair o’ the Bear. This is the spot for families looking for an easy hike near Denver. There is good parking, a river, and picnic options that make the 1.7-mile trail a perfect choice. Several trails make it simple to add on some additional mileage. Lair o’ the Bear is also a great mountain biking spot if someone in the family wants to give it a try.
Lake Isabelle. Located just outside of Nederland, the Lake Isabelle Trail is approachable, good for all skill levels, and one of the most beautiful ones in the state. This 4.5-mile loop is especially appealing in the spring, thanks to the wildflowers and a waterfall adjacent to the lake at the top. Arrive early to nab a parking spot at the trail head, and note that dogs are welcome but must be leashed.
Mt. Falcon Park. There are plenty of trails at Mount Falcon in Jefferson County not too far more Morrison, but most prefer the 3.7-mile Castle Trail option that provides city views, a quick leg-burning workout, and even castle ruins. This popular trail can be very busy, but it’s a perfect after-work hike in the spring and summer.
Red Rocks Trail. Located just a short 20-minute drive from Denver, the well-known Red Rocks Amphitheater offers more than just epic concerts. Try one of the many trails at Red Rocks Park, where you’ll see the aforementioned geological formations and wide open vistas.
The 1.4-mile Trading Post trail is a perfect hike if you’re trying to make happy hour back in Denver!