It’s no secret that Colorado hosts some pretty amazing views and hiking opportunities. As most of the Colorado population region resides or works in/near the Denver Metro Area, it’s not uncommon to go exploring along the Front Range and to seek the solitude and beauty of the mountains nearby.
Since the mountains’ expanse stretches the entire Western half of the state, finding places to hike and explore may seem a bit daunting at first. However, there are a few wonderful places to hike and explore all within a reasonable driving distance from the city.
1 // Boulder
Boulder hosts plenty of hiking opportunities, however, some may be more crowded than others. There’s Chautauqua Park which is one of the most popular spots to hike in Boulder located right below the iconic Flat Irons. If you’re looking for places to rock climb, follow Boulder Creek up through Boulder Canyon which offers quite a few (hence the name), places to rock climb. Other great spots in Boulder include the wide variety of trails and open parks spread throughout the city. One of my favorite parks is Flatirons Vista Trailhead, which is especially spectacular in the evenings.
2 // Golden/Lookout Mountain
Golden is not only home to Coors Brewing, but also to a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities. Take a drive (or bike ride) up to the top of Lookout Mountain via the Lariat Loop to see the expansive city stretched out before you. (As pictured above) You can also venture out to Table Mountain Park which sits above Golden.
3 // Evergreen
Evergreen is a city which is about twenty minutes West on I-70. During the winter, you can ice skate on Evergreen lake and peruse through the local downtown area. For hiking, head on up to the Three Sister’s Park which offers a solitary view of the surrounding area. Take the Lower Falls Trail to Maxwell Falls which leads you to a beautiful waterfall.
4 // Red Rocks
One of the most revered places to view a concert, Red Rocks also offers wonderful places to hike. Traipse up around behind the amphitheater or even below it, and choose between single track or paved paths. Try your luck at even working out at Red Rocks on the steps! One of my favorite places to work out is on the steps.
5 // St. Mary’s Glacier
Trek a little further into the mountains via I-70 and you’ll end up near Idaho Springs, home to Beau Jo’s Pizza (a marvelous after-hike meal), and St. Mary’s Glacier. The 1.4 mile hike is moderate and leads you to a beautiful mountain glacier lake. This is especially fun to do in the summer when the snow is still on the ground. Snowball fight anyone??
6 // Devil’s Head Fire Tower Lookout
Popular among families, hiking up to the Devil’s Head Fire Lookout offers a unique view at the mountains including a great view of the surrounding Fourteeners. Located near Sedalia, the hike offers a wide trail with the final 143 steps to climb to get to the actual lookout.
7 // Roxborough State Park
Roxborough State Park is located near Chatfield Resevoir and gives a variety of different types of hikes, from easy to more difficult. Climb to the top of Carpenter Peak or peruse through the lower trails of the park. There’s usually plenty of wildlife out and about as well!
Colorado is one pretty amazing state, and I realize these few hikes only skim the surface of the many different opportunities which exist for hiking in the Front Range.
So what about you? What hikes should be added to this list? Anyone planning any of these hikes soon? I’d love to hear!