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Lace Up and Explore: Our All-Time Favorite Hiking Trails in and Around Denver

01/15/24  |  Amanda Sheppard

If the siren call of towering peaks, rustling aspen leaves, and crisp mountain air makes your heart skip a beat, you're in for a treat. 


Denver and its surrounding areas are a paradise for hikers and walkers, boasting a plethora of trails that range from easy strolls to heart-pounding scrambles. Grab your hiking boots and your sense of adventure, because we're about to take you on a journey through our top picks for hiking and walking trails in and around the Mile-High City!


1. Rocky Mountain National Park - Emerald Lake Trail:

We’re starting off strong with a trail that's nothing short of magical. The Emerald Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park is like stepping into a fairytale. As you hike through pine-scented forests, the shimmering alpine lakes and jaw-dropping mountain views will leave you breathless. One of the best things about this hike is that it's not too strenuous, making it perfect for hikers of all levels.


2. Mount Falcon Park - Castle Trail:

If you're in the mood for a hike with a side of history, the Castle Trail in Mount Falcon Park has got you covered. With the ruins of John Brisben Walker's castle waiting to be explored, you'll feel like you've stepped back in time. Plus, the panoramic views of the Denver skyline and the Front Range are the cherry on top.


3. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre - Trading Post Trail:

Yep, you read that right. Red Rocks isn't just for concerts – it's also a fantastic spot for hiking! The Trading Post Trail weaves through awe-inspiring red sandstone formations, giving you that Jurassic Park vibe (minus the dinosaurs, of course). It's an easy hike that delivers a huge dose of natural beauty.


4. Cherry Creek Trail - Urban Oasis:

Sometimes you're in the mood for nature, but your schedule is screaming "city life." Enter the Cherry Creek Trail – an urban oasis that winds through Denver's heart. This paved path takes you past parks, art installations, and even a few cafes, making it perfect for a leisurely stroll or a breezy bike ride.


5. Lookout Mountain - Beaver Brook Trail:

Ready to kick things up a notch? The Beaver Brook Trail on Lookout Mountain is like a rollercoaster ride for hikers. You'll tackle steep inclines, navigate rocky terrain, and cross babbling brooks. But fear not, because the exhilarating journey leads to stunning viewpoints that'll make you feel like you're on top of the world.


6. St. Mary's Glacier - High Altitude Adventure:

For those who want a taste of alpine hiking without committing to a full mountain ascent, St. Mary's Glacier is a dream come true. The hike to the glacier might be short, but the scenery is nothing short of breathtaking. And if you're feeling adventurous, you can even strap on your snow gear and slide down the glacier in the warmer months!


7. Roxborough State Park - Carpenter Peak Trail:

Looking for a trail that combines challenging terrain with diverse ecosystems? Look no further than Carpenter Peak Trail in Roxborough State Park. The hike takes you through red rock formations, lush meadows, and shady forests, all while treating you to panoramic vistas that will leave you in awe.


So there you have it, nature lovers! Denver and its surroundings are a playground for hiking enthusiasts of all levels. Whether you're in the mood for a leisurely stroll, a heart-pounding climb, or something in between, these trails have got you covered. So lace up those hiking boots, slather on some sunscreen, and let the adventure begin!