One of the greatest things about living in the Mile High City is that adventure is never far away. The mountains are an ever-present fixture on the horizon, and they quietly call you to go and explore their vast array of treasures. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a curious beginner, with just a little food, water, sunscreen, and a bit of courage, you can easily tackle these 10 breathtaking places to go hiking in Denver, and the surrounding area.
1. St. Mary's Glacier
The short, easy jaunt to St. Mary's Lake and Glacier (only 1.5 miles roundtrip) offers breathtaking views and snow year-round. Escape the summer heat, have a leisurely picnic among the wildflowers, do a little cliff jumping, or strap on your skis or snowboard and earn your turns. It's the Colorado way, no matter the season!
2. Mt. Falcon
Mt. Falcon is one of the more unique parks near the city and rewards the hiker with vista views of Denver, Red Rocks, and the Front Range. It has the added bonus of the historic Castle and Tower Ruins of John Brisben Walker's home, built in the early 1900s. This is a great escape for nature lovers and history buffs alike!
3. Deer Creek Canyon
Deer Creek Canyon is tucked away amidst the foothills and valleys of the Jefferson County Open Space, and provides a lovely reprieve from the hustle and bustle. There are about 13 miles of trails that meander in and around the canyon through huge pine forests, alongside creeks, and up to scenic overlooks with views of the surrounding red rock formations and Denver in the distance.
4. Chicago Lakes
This strenuous hike in the Mt. Evans Wilderness Area is not for the faint of heart but is well worth the effort! You'll enjoy glassy alpine lakes, mountain peak views, massive cliff walls, and expansive meadows which are home to wildflowers and wildlife. Take a picnic and a fishing pole and stay all day!
5. Chief Mountain
Chief Mountain is the perfect hike for anyone looking for a maximum amount of elevation with a minimal amount of effort. Located about an hour from Denver near Idaho Springs, the hike is 1.4 miles one way, with 951' of elevation gain, ending at the summit at 11,709'. The 360 degree view of the Rockies, the foothills, and the valleys is utterly breathtaking!
6. Mt. Galbraith
If you're looking to get into the foothills for a bit of fresh air, the Mt. Galbraith lollipop loop is a perfect choice. You can feast your eyes on Golden Gate Canyon, Clear Creek Canyon, the city of Golden, and the ever-popular Coors Brewery. Afterward, head down into town and continue to feast on local beer and good eats!
7. Red Rocks Park
There is so much more to Red Rocks Park than a music venue. You can enjoy miles of trails that wander through meadows and in and around the awe-inspiring red monoliths that rule the landscape. It's also a particularly great spot to soak up a sunrise!
8. North Table Mountain
When perched atop this enormous mesa formed by ancient lava flows, you will truly feel like you're above it all. With miles of trails, panoramic views, and an abundance or flora and fauna, North Table Mountain will not disappoint!
9. Timberline Falls
"Water, water everywhere," is the theme of this challenging hike. Nestled deep in the Glacier Gorge/Loch Vale area of Rocky Mountain National Park, the trail ascends past numerous alpine lakes, waterfalls, and streams, as well as canyons and meadows, with the possibility of seeing elk, deer, and marmots along the way.
10. Mt. Bierstadt, 14,060'
Whether you're out for a simple stroll with the family or you're looking to summit your first 14er, Mt. Bierstadt is the answer. The trail starts near the top of Guanella Pass and ultimately leads to the summit of one of the easier, more accessible fourteen thousand foot peaks in CO. Go ahead, pop your 14er cherry!
This is just a handful of the MANY, MANY fabulous hikes near the Denver area. Have you been on any of these and want to share your story? Do you have suggestions for other amazing trails outside the city? Let us know in the comments. And, remember: Just go!