5 Best Day Hikes Near Denver

1.) Hanging Lake

Perched on the edge of Glenwood Canyon’s cliffs is Hanging Lake, one of Colorado’s most popular hiking trails. The trail head is about 10 miles east of Glenwood Springs, along I-70. The trail itself is only about a mile long, but due to the steep incline you should allow yourself around 2 hours to reach your destination. Along the way you will not only experience beautiful views, but also come across a must-see hidden waterfall called Spouting Rock. With the crystal clear turquoise lake and lush over-hanging garden at the top, it’s easy to see why people come from miles around to catch a glimpse of this awe-inspiring beauty. For more information go to www.visitglenwood.com

Haning Lake

2.) Horseshoe Trail at Golden Gate Canyon

Looking for a peaceful place to observe Colorado wildlife or catch vibrant wildflowers in full bloom? If so, Horseshoe trail is the ideal spot to escape the city and connect with nature. It winds you along a bed of babbling streams, guides you through well shaded Aspen groves and out into spacious meadows. This is a wonderful 4 mile hike perfect for experienced and non-experienced hikers alike. Golden Gate Canyon State Park is located about 30 minutes outside of Denver and offers some of the best mountain views close to the city. Horses, dogs, and mountain bikes are all permitted, along with hunting, camping, fishing, and rock climbing. For more information visit www.cpw.state.co.us

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3.) Royal Arch Trail at Chautauqua Park

Chautauqua Park is the most impressive of all the local Boulder hiking systems. During the weekends, locals and tourists alike descend on this park causing it to become overly crowded. So to get the open space feel, it’s best to hike this trail in the early morning or on a weekday. The Royal Arch Trail is a true test of leg and lung. After a quick drop into Blue Bell Canyon, the trail begins the steep climb through conifer forests up to a beautiful sandstone arch. Once at the top, the staggering views of the flatiron rock structures and the city of Boulder below are unmatched. For more information visit www.bouldercolorado.gov

Royal Arch Rock

4.) Calypso Cascades at Rocky Mountain National Park

This moderate hike has several destinations on the way to the top, each more impressive than the last. Beginning at the fairly remote Wild Basin trail head, this trail will take you past the lower and upper Copeland Falls to Calypso Cascades. These roaring falls are most spectacular during spring run-off season, with water pouring down 100 feet over rocks and fallen trees. Thanks to a log bridge, you can stand right in the middle to experience the full force of Cony Creek. If you have time and are feeling adventurous, this trail will also take you up to Ouzel Falls, which drops more than 40 feet through a cut in dark a rock wall. For more information visit www.rockymountainhikingtrails.com

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5.) Trading Post Trail at Red Rocks Park

The best part of this trail is that it is gorgeous year round! Hiking this easy, 1.5 mile loop will take you around 10 of the park’s majestic red rock formations giving you stunning views of Denver and beyond. Bring your family or friends from out of town who want to experience the beauty of Colorado’s most iconic landmarks first hand. While you’re at it, bring your dog along too! Just remember: while it might be tempting, you are not allowed to play on the rocks. For more information visit www.dayhikesneardenver.com

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Mara Calomino


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