Best Hikes Near Denver
Are you taking a quick trip to Denver and trying to figure out a way to get to the top of the Rocky Mountains, quick? Here are a few quick trips to take to make every minute count when you’re in the Mile High City.
- St. Mary’s Glacier - Take I-70 West from Denver, past the town and three exits of Idaho Springs. Take the next exit marked "Fall River Road". Just past the bottom of the ramp, take a right (north) on Fall River Road. Follow this road up past the town of Alice to one of two parking areas for the clearly marked trailhead to St. Mary's Glacier. Distance: 1 miles. This trail is access close to private land. Please respect this.
- Berthoud Pass Ski Area. From I-70 west take Exit 232 to Winter Park/Granby. At the top of the divide you will see a right hand turn to a parking area for Berthoud Pass. The ski area is closed but you can pick up the Continental Divide Trail here. The trail heads southwest into the Vasquez Wilderness. The trails continues to Loveland Pass.
- Castlewood Canyon State Park – Located south of Denver, Take I-25 to Castle Rock, exit onto Founders Parkway eastbound. Take Founders Parkway to Hwy 86, go east on Hwy 86 four miles to Franktown. Turn South on Hwy 83 (S. Parker Rd) and go five miles south to the main park entrance. Take Westside Entrance, Turn onto Castlewood Canyon Road (County Rd 51) from Hwy 86 prior to reaching Franktown. There are several activities including biking, hiking, horseback riding, and rock climbing.
- The Peak-to-Peak Scenic and Historic Byway: From Black Hawk to Estes Park. Take I-70 West from Denver. Take the exit for Central City/Black Hawk. Once you enter Black Hawk pick up CO 119 and head north to Nederland. This road continues to Estes Park and during fall foliage is one of the most beautiful and pristine mountain roads.
- Off CO 119 is the turn off for Rollinsville. Follow this road west toward Rollins Pass. You will come to the East Portal of the Moffat Tunnel. The tunnel connects east to west (Winter Park) however the tunnel is closed.
- Rocky Mountain National Park - Trail Ridge Road. 60 miles north of Denver. One of the best hikes on the east side of the park is to Bierstadt Lake. It is a 3 mile hike round trip from the Bierstadt Lake Trailhead.
- Golden Gate State Park is just 17 miles west of Denver/Arvada. All the trails in the park are named after animals. There are over 35 miles of scenery and 12 trails ranging from moderate to difficult. This state park is a great escape from the city if you are limited by time. And, since it is not a popular destinations, your hike or walk will be quiet and relaxing. Visitors can fish and mountain bike. In winter there is cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
- Chief Mountain -- Elevation 11,709ft. Take Exit 252 off I-70 (Evergreen Parkway). Turn left on CO 103. This is a busy weekend hike since it’s so close to Denver, however it’s worth it. There are wonderful views from the summit including Long’s Peak and the Continental Divide. 3 miles round trip.
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