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Trails Near Denver

Rocky Mountain National Park: Sandbeach Lake Loop

Follow this 9.9-mile loop through vibrant wildflower displays and past snow-fed streams to a huge alpine lake with unbeatable campsite views of Mount Meeker.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Beaver Mountain Trail

Thanks to only a little elevation gain, this 7-mile loop offers flatlanders great rewards (big views, wildlife, solitude) without much suffering. Pack plenty of water and sunscreen.

Boulder, CO: Heil Valley Ranch

Hike or ride smooth singletrack on this 7.2-mile lasso-loop, which climbs gently through rich scrubland and ponderosa forest to a killer mountainside overlook.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Fern Lake and Spruce Lake via Fern Lake Trail

Get high fast on this 9.1-mile, out-and-back to Fern and Spruce lakes, which sit in gorgeous alpine valleys beneath the Little Matterhorn and several other commanding peaks.

Boulder, CO: Meyers Homestead Trail

Cruise 5.2 miles along gentle foothills, Ireland-esque pastures, and past an old sawmill to a vista overlooking Boulder Canyon and the Front Range.

Boulder, CO: Caribou Lake via Arapaho Pass Trail

Discover the blue pearls of famed Indian Peaks Wilderness on this moderate 8.4-mile high alpine hike.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Pear Lake via Finch Lake Trail

This 12.4-mile out-and-back sweeps under a giant evergreen forest to a blossoming burn zone, then ends at an alpine lake perfect for stargazing.

Denver, CO: Bison Peak Trail

Hike lonely trails filled with Yosemite-like granite formations in Lost Creek Wilderness on this 15.4-mile out-and-back up the Retirement Range’s highest peak.

Denver: Bitterbrush to Nelson Loop

This 10-mile loop in Hall Ranch begins with a stiff, sometimes technical, climb then speeds into rolling forestland and endless grassy meadows to an old ranch in the shadow of Longs Peak.

Colorado 14ers: Mount of the Holy Cross via the North Ridge

This 10.3-miler outside Vail is a leg- and lung-buster, but at the end of the day you’ll touch the sky on the summit of one of Colorado’s fabled Fourteeners.

Indian Peaks Wilderness: Camp Dick to Red Deer Lake

Hike into the core of Indian Peaks Wilderness on this 13.6-mile overnight, which leads past waterfalls to a sunbleached valley and a sweet lakeside campsite.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Lawn Lake Trail

A wicked flood raged through this valley 20 years ago, carving wide furrows down the Roaring River from Lawn Lake. This hike is 11.6 miles round trip.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Lily Lake to Estes Cone

This moderately challenging 7.2-mile hike to a photogenic summit proves that sometimes it’s not how high you climb–it’s where you climb.

Denver: Antelope Trail to Nelson Loop

Rolling forestland and endless grassy meadows provide abundant habitat for mule dear, wild turkeys, and other wildlife on this 6.8-miler to an old ranch in the shadow of Longs Peak.

Denver: Devils Thumb Loop

Bag two peaks on this 9-mile, fido-friendly loop around Boulder’s signature Flatirons.

Denver, CO: Apex Loop

Downtown and need a post-meeting fix? This heart-pounding 4.3-mile scramble in Apex Park gives new meaning to that old runner’s high.

Denver, CO: Dakota Ridge via Red Rocks Trail

Hike rolling grassland punctuated by towering redrock formations to a ridge overlooking the Front Range on this 6-mile loop just minutes from the city.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Mirror Lake

Wander through lush forests and high-alpine meadows to a pair of secluded mountain lakes nestled at the foot of the Mummy Range.

Boulder, CO: Boulder Skyline

Bag three peaks and bird’s-eye views of Boulder on this tour of the Flatirons. Bring a few extra energy bars: This out-and-back gains 5,000 feet in 11 miles.

Boulder, CO: Betasso Preserve Loop

This 5.2-mile trail kicks off with a short albeit aggressive climb, then rambles through meadows that explode with wildflowers in the summer. Craggy mountain vistas abound.

Denver: South Boulder Creek to Rogers Pass

A 1,900-foot gain in 2 miles rewards with stellar views of James Peak on this 6.6-mile round-trip hike beneath the Continental Divide.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Mills Lake

The must-see list for this 5.7-mile dayhike to Glacier Gorge is long: raging waterfalls, alpine lakes, and a skyline of humbling mountain views.

Boulder, CO: Eldorado Canyon Trail

No ropes required, but a camera is recommended, on this shady and scenic 5.6-mile out-and-back stroll into the heart of Eldorado Canyon climbing country.

Denver: North Halfmoon Lakes

Trek across vibrant wildflower meadows to two alpine lakes tucked into a rocky chasm below Mt. Massive on this 5.8 miler outside Leadville.

Denver: Apex Park Loop

Just a short bus ride from downtown, this 5.1-mile dayhike climbs loops around the panoramic ridgelines of Indian Mountain.

Boulder, CO: Devils Thumb Lake

Leave your car at home: To explore Continental Divide country, you only need a bus ticket and your bike.

Denver, CO: Mount Falcon Open Space Park, Summer White House

The views on this 5.9-miler are so grand that this parkland was once proposed as the summer grounds for a second presidential White House.

Boulder, CO: Bear Peak via Shadow Canyon

Put your quads and endurance to the test on this 6.6-mile hike that features steep scrambles, boulder-strewn canyons, and dramatic views from Bear Peak.

Denver, CO: Bison Peak

Scramble up a forgotten peak in the Lost Creek Wilderness.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Ouzel Falls

Connect subalpine waterfalls, gurgling creeks, and overlooks above Wild Basin on this 5.3-miler in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Continental Divide Trail: Copper Mountain to Bakerville, CO

Travel across lush forest, grassy meadows, and exposed alpine slopes to the rocky crown of Grays Peak on this 67-mile section of the Continental Divide Trail.

Boulder, CO: Green Mountain via Gregory Canyon

Pine-dotted canyons, a gurgling creek, and summit views of Rocky Mountain National Park highlight this 5.4-mile dayhike near Boulder.

Silverthorne, CO: Ptarmigan Peak

This 11.8-mile dayhike links quiet forests and wildflower-filled meadows to a broad mountaintop overlooking Lake Dillon.

Boulder, CO: Mount Audubon

Compared to its jagged neighbors, this 13,000-foot summit is one of the easier peaks (no technical scrambling required) to tick off in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Boulder, CO: Mount Sanitas Loop

This 3.4-mile loop, featuring countless log steps and narrow rock passages, travels up and over one of Boulder’s challenging summits.

Boulder, CO: Mount Sanitas via Mount Sanitas Trail

Navigate an obstacle course of countless log steps, steep rock slabs, and giant boulders on this 2.8-mile hike to a small summit overlooking Boulder.

Boulder, CO: Mount Sanitas via Dakota Ridge Trail

This 4-miler starts with a gentle climb along rolling ridgeline, then cranks it up a notch with an obstacle course of steep rock steps and tightly-spaced boulders.

Boulder, CO: Lost Lake (Winter Route)

Snowshoe into a small mountain lake on this gentle, 5-mile out-and-back in Indian Peaks Wilderness–a perfect winter getaway from the city.

Boulder, CO: Bear Peak via Fern Canyon

The climb on this 7.6-mile loop to Bear Peak is, well, a bear, gaining 2,800 stair-studded feet. The payoff: Long views into Boulder, Denver, and the Indian Peaks.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Lost Lake

Lost Lake. Stormy Peaks. These places represent their names well on this 19.4-mile out-and-back in the northeast corner of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Lumpy Ridge Loop

Go counterclockwise on this 10.2-mile loop touring the rocky cliffs and odd-shaped boulders of Lumpy Ridge to an alpine lake and several campsites in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Cub Lake Loop

This 5.9-mile loop is great for eager flatlanders who are acclimating to the thin Rocky Mountain air.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Timber Lake and Mount Ida

Summit a lesser-traveled 13,000-foot peak, then catch some summer alpine fishing at Timber Lake on this 13.4-mile out-and-back.

Boulder, CO: Rainbow Lakes

In the shadow of Caribou Peak and Bald Mountain, this easy 1.6-mile out-and-back leads to a pot of gold—a cluster of Rainbow Lakes.

Denver, CO: Golden Gate Panorama Point

Catch views of the Continental Divide (and mule deer, elk, and black bear) on this 12.3-mile loop in Golden Gate Canyon State Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Lone Pine Lake via East Inlet Trail

Following an ancient glacial retreat, this 13.5-mile out-and-back on the East Inlet Trail traverses moose country toward a couple of lonely alpine lakes.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Boulder Brook to Glacier Gorge

Rushing waterfalls, mountainous views, and a healthy dose of altitude highlight this 6.3-mile loop in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Ouzel Lake

Amble along rushing creeks, waterfalls, and lichen-covered rock outcroppings on the way to a secluded alpine lake in Rocky Mountain National Park’s Wild Basin.

Boulder, CO: Rainbow Lakes to Arapahoe Glacier

Tour Rainbow Lakes’ subalpine waters before climbing through pine forests, past hidden lakes, and over 13ers en route to the Continental Divide.

Boulder, CO: Blue Lake

Sampling the best of the Indian Peaks Wilderness, this 5-milers traverses alpine meadows up to a sparkling lake perched below the Continental Divide.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Chasm Lake

For the ultimate view of Longs Peak’s 1,000-foot Diamond Face, climb to Chasm Lake on this 8.2-mile out-and-back that tops out above treeline.

Rocky Mountain National Park: North Inlet Trail

This 18.8-miler follows the North Inlet through aspen groves, spruce stands, and marshland (feeding grounds of bugling elk) to a campground tucked beneath the Continental Divide.

Boulder, CO: Arapaho Pass

Hike this gentle, 6.1-mile out-and-back in midsummer when an explosion of wildflowers dominates the climb to this grassy pass in the Indian Peaks.

Boulder, CO: Royal Arch

This popular loop through Boulder’s Chautauqua Park tops out at a stunning rock arch framing views of Front Range foothills and the plains.

Boulder, CO: Shanahan Ridge

Perfect for an after-work trail run or leisurely stroll, this 2.7-mile lollipop loop explores wide-open meadows in the shadow of Boulder’s iconic Flatirons.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Twin Sisters

Climb 2,400 feet to twin peaks on Rocky Mountain National Park’s east side. Aspen-shaded trails and unobstructed views of Longs Peak are just two rewards of this 7.2-mile out-and-back.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Flattop Mountain

A must-do for dayhikers, this 8.1-miler traverses windswept alpine tundra with dramatic overlooks and 360-degree views of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Bridal Veil Falls

Trace a mountain stream through knee-high grasslands and shady aspen groves to a 20-foot waterfall on this moderate 6.2-miler in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Balanced Rock via Cow Creek Trail

Trek from a golden, mountain-rimmed valley to a ponderosa and lodgepole forest with towering rock formations on this 8.3-miler in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Glacier Gorge to Black Lake

Waterfalls, alpine lakes, and mind-blowing scenery. It’s all included on this 9.1-mile out-and-back hike in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Boulder, CO: Isabelle Glacier

Trek past cloud-scraping peaks and shimmering lakes en route to breathtaking views of the Isabelle Glacier on this 8.1-miler in the untamed Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Boulder, CO: Long Lake Loop

Enjoy the views and high elevation while looping around Long Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Boulder, CO: Flatirons Loop

Get up-close and personal with Boulder’s signature Flatirons on this popular 2.9-mile loop that leads to a rocky perch high above Chautauqua Park.

Denver, CO: Enchanted Forest

An invigorating climb at the base of Lookout Mountain, this 5.4-mile lollipop loop follows a bustling creek into a forest thick with trees and elk.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Sky Pond

This 8.1-mile hike skirts wind-scoured lakes and scrambles up the edge of a waterfall before arriving at Sky Pond, where crumbling spires stretch 2,000 feet into the air.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Emerald Lake

Tour two mountain lakes en route to Emerald Lake, a picturesque tarn with stunning views of Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain, on this popular hike in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Denver, CO: Beaver Brook

One of the Front Range’s best hikes, this 10.1-mile point-to-point offers solitude, mountain views, and a couple of thigh-burning climbs.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Grand Loop

Follow a long-forgotten 5- to 7-day loop in Rocky Mountain National Park across the Continental Divide, through moose-infested meadows, and up Longs Peak via a rarely climbed route.

Boulder, CO: Anne U. White Trail

The rocky recess of Fourmile Canyon offers up one of Boulder’s less-traveled foothill trails. Canyon shade and a crisscrossing creek keep this 3.1-miler perfect for a summer afternoon.

Boulder, CO: Shadow Canyon

This 3.5-mile out-and-back climbs into Shadow Canyon, passing an old homestead and striking views of Boulder’s Flatirons.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Lily Lake to Sprague Lake Loop

Traverse exposed ridgelines and thick pine forests for postcard views of Rocky Mountain National Park on this 20.6-mile lollipop loop.

Denver, CO: Lost Creek Wilderness Loop

Rounded granite knobs and sweeping valleys in the Lost Creek Wilderness set the stage for this spectacular 27.6-mile loop that rewards with rugged panoramas and killer riverside campsites.

Denver, CO: Barr Lake

Bring your binoculars and circle Barr Lake on this easy 9.3-mile loop in prime birding territory. You may spot one of the Front Range’s only pair of nesting bald eagles.

Golden, CO: Raccoon Trail

Not ready to tackle a 14er (yet)? Try this 2.5-mile gem in Golden Gate State Park for a view of the continental divide where you can pick the target of your next alpine adventure.

Denver, CO: Matthews/Winters Park Connector Trail

Red Rocks isn’t just a great place for a concert, this 4.5-mile out-and-back starts among red-tinted outcroppings and heads north to Mathews/Winters Park for a fun and easy-access day hike.

Vail, CO: Snow Pass Loop

The Eagles Nest Wilderness doesn’t attract regular Colorado crowds—unless you count the mountain goats. Explore rugged peaks, and pristine alpine lakes on this 13.3-mile route in an under-appreciated Rocky Mountain getaway.

Denver, CO: South Platte River Greenway

Begin exploring the South Platte River’s Greenway Trail on this 7-mile out and back intro to the paved, 30-mile-plus vein through the heart of the Mile High City.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Green Mountain Trail to Big Meadows

Want an easy hike and a shot at seeing a monster moose? Then earmark this 3.4-mile out-and-back on the westside of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Frisco, CO: Peak 1

Catch breathtaking views of Summit County and the Tenmile Range on this 6.9-mile out-and-back that climbs to the 12,805-foot summit of Peak 1.

Boulder, CO: Skyscraper Reservoir

This 10.5-mile out and back promises wildflower drenched meadows, stunning vistas, and two pristine alpine lakes perfect for a cold dip or sunrise photo op.

Colorado Trail: Wellington Lake Road to Kenosha Pass

Impressive mountain views and thick aspen stands await backpackers on this 30-mile section of the Colorado Trail perfect for a two or three day trip.

The Colorado Trail

Thru-hike America’s highest trail.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Longs Peak via Clark’s Arrow and the Keyhole

Climb this iconic summit on an uncrowded sneak route.

Denver, CO: Golden’s Castle Rock

Hoof it to the top of Golden’s South Table Mountain on this 1.5-mile out-and-back for close-up views of Colorado Landmarks—Golden, the Front Range, the Denver skyline, and even the Coors Brewery.

Golden, CO: North Table Mountain

Climb 600 feet above Golden to one of its guardian mesa-tops. Big views of the Denver skyline and the continental divide reward the 0.9-mile one-way climb.

Denver, CO: Heart Lake

Visit a dreamy, emerald-green lake just below the Continental Divide after climbing 2,099-feet in 4.2 miles. Icing: sweet alpine views and abundant trout along shore.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Mount Ida and Gorge Lakes (Version 1)

Hike cross-country to explore this secluded chain of hanging lakes on this challenging point-to-point in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Continental Divide Loop

Tour glacial valleys and navigate to off-trail lakes and waterfalls on this six-day circuit in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Kenosha Mountains
Colorado Denver

Denver, CO: Bison Peak Trail

Hike lonely trails filled with Yosemite-like granite formations in Lost Creek Wilderness on this 15.4-mile out-and-back up the Retirement Range’s highest peak.

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Bitter Sweet Switchback
Colorado Denver

Denver: Bitterbrush to Nelson Loop

This 10-mile loop in Hall Ranch begins with a stiff, sometimes technical, climb then speeds into rolling forestland and endless grassy meadows to an old ranch in the shadow of Longs Peak.

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Boulder’s Gregory Canyon Trail

Take an abandoned wagon road near Boulder’s Flatirons with Backpacker editors Jon Dorn and Anthony Cerretani in this trail profile.

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