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(Last Updated On: October 8, 2020)

Living in Denver, we’ve found that there’s never a dull moment if you know where to go. The city is so full of fantastic attractions and things to do for every interest. But you don’t have to spend all your time in Denver itself. The Colorado hub is surrounded by incredible natural landscapes and some of the best hikes near Denver!

Hike among the famous red rocks, or go further in search of snowy peaks and deep ice-blue lakes. There are some phenomenal hiking trails near Denver for everyone. 

Whether you’re looking for something short and sweet, or a challenging day hike. These are the very best hikes near Denver!


WHERE TO FIND THE BEST HIKES NEAR DENVER

SKY POND VIA GLACIER GORGE TRAIL

This challenging and popular hike will take you past waterfalls and lakes, offering up gorgeous views over Colorado. For the first hour or two, you’ll likely share the trail with a number of people. But the crowds thin out once you pass Alberta Falls, and drop off further at the North Longs Peak Trail junction.

Follow the signs – there will be quite a few options as you go along, and the route to Sky Pond is one of the harder ones. You’ll need to do some steep scrambling. But the tranquil lake and spectacular views are well worth the effort. Particularly for those keen on a challenge  

Park: Rocky Mountain National Park
Difficulty: Hard
Distance: 9.5 miles
Length: +- 4.5 hours

DEER MOUNTAIN TRAIL

A more moderate hike in the same park, Deer Mountain Trail is a comfortable challenge. Amble through pine forest, and enjoy views of snow-capped peaks, meadows, and glens.

The hike takes you all the way to the top of the mountain. But it includes plenty of switchbacks, so you’re never pushing straight up. From the top of Deer Mountain, you’ll have panoramic views over the gorgeous park. The trail is best between April and October in the sunny season.

Park: Rocky Mountain National Park
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 6 miles
Length: +- 3 hours

GREEN MOUNTAIN LOOP

The flat irons of Chautauqua Park in Boulder, CO with pine trees, yellow grass and blue (but cloudy) skies

Up for a challenge? This half-day hike will take you up mountains and through flowering valleys and peaceful forests near Boulder, CO. It’s a difficult trail with a decent amount of elevation. So if you’re looking for a proper workout, it’s ideal.

You can take the trail either clockwise or counterclockwise. Clockwise is steeper but there’s more shade available, while the counterclockwise route allows you to bring your dog along. Either way, you’ll have a fantastic time, and arrive back in Denver well deserving of some drinks at one of Denver’s many killer rooftop bars.

Park: Chautauqua Park
Difficulty: Hard
Distance: 10 miles
Length: +- 6 hours

DREAM LAKE TRAIL

This is one of the most popular hikes around Denver, and for good reason. It’s short, easy for anyone to walk, and absolutely stunning. It’s best to go in the early hours of the morning when few people are on the trail. The morning light also makes everything even more dramatic.

The trail starts out paved and becomes a dirt path once you pass your first lake. Be sure to bring your camera. It’s dreamy!

Park: Rocky Mountain National Park
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2 miles
Length: +- 1 hour

RED ROCKS AND MORRISON SLIDE TRAIL LOOP (CLOSEST HIKING NEAR DENVER)

Tight switchbacks and some decent elevation are rewarded with spectacular views over the red-brown landscape of this unique park. It’s accessible year-round, and you can even bring your pup.

If you’re lucky, you might spot some of the local wildlife on this trail, along with views far over eastern Colorado. You’ll start your hike on the heavily trafficked Red Rocks Trail, and branch off onto Morrison Slide. This section gives you a little more elevation for even better views. It certainly offers some of the best hiking near Denver.

Park: Red Rocks Park
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 3 miles
Length: +- 2 hours

GEOLOGIC OVERLOOK TRAIL

If you’re looking for a nice easy opportunity to see the sights without working up a sweat, this is the Denver hiking trail for you. It’s less than a mile long with little elevation and a view of the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre. 

This trail begins at a picnic spot, so you can easily combine it with a lovely little lunch trip. Ideal for families or couples keen on a little romance in nature. 

If you find that you want to keep going, you can. It connects with the popular Trading Post Trail, which will take you deeper into the park’s brilliant landscape.

Park: Red Rocks Park
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1 mile
Length: +- 1 hour

CLEAR CREEK TRAIL

Clear Creek Trail is perfect for those interested in a long but pleasantly easy hike. You’ll start hiking in Denver so you don’t need a car to reach it. And it’s an ideal trail for families with children or dogs. 

You can walk along the picture-perfect creek for hours, reaching the nearby town of Golden. The trail includes bridges across the river, so you can explore both sides easily. You’ll also see people tubing down the river, and fly-fishermen standing along the banks. Head back whenever you’d like, or walk all the way to Golden and spend the night.

It’s a lovely family outing for any season. Although the warm months between March and October are best.

Park: Lions Park
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 20 miles
Length: +- 8 hours

GARDEN OF THE GODS LOOP TRAIL

This National Natural Landmark is as beautiful as its name suggests. The loop trail will take you through flowering fields and past the iconic red rock formations that make this area so striking. 

Garden of the Gods is right next to Colorado Springs, just over an hour’s drive away from Denver. It’s crisscrossed with paths and trails, so you can explore the area as long as you’d like. The loop trail takes only two hours, making it a perfect morning or sunset trip. For something so relaxed, it’s one of the best hikes in Colorado.

Park: Garden of the Gods
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 4 miles
Length: +- 2 hours


LAST THOUGHTS ON HIKING NEAR DENVER

A hiking path splits green meadows with lots of pine trees; mountains in the background
© Adam-Springer via Canva.com

With tall snowy peaks, far-stretching valleys and unique natural wonders, you’ll want to spend all your time exploring these Denver hiking trails. 

If you’re staying in Denver for a few days, be sure to go beyond the city and hike one of these fantastic trails.


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