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7 Must-Do Hikes Within an Hour of Denver

7 Must-Do Hikes Within an Hour of Denver

Posted In Outdoors, Things to Do, Travel at October 25, 2020

Living in Denver has countless perks, but by far, one of the best is the nearby hiking opportunities. With so many unique trails within an hour of the city, they’re perfect for a day trip and you could spend years exploring and never have to repeat a spot. These trails each offer up stunning views of Denver’s majestic mountains, aspen forests, and landscapes that showcase colorful Colorado in all its glory. Whether you’re looking for a short stroll to stretch your legs or a challenging trek above treeline, we have a route for all lengths and abilities. Just remember to breathe.

St Mary’s Glacier Hike

For an easy hike with unbeatable views, head to St Mary’s Glacier. The name’s a bit deceiving as technically there are no glaciers in Colorado, yet it is a semi-permanent snowfield that offers a chilling wintery landscape year-round at a frozen lake. You’ll likely want some type of traction (microspikes or crampons, depending on the season), and during the colder months, there’s the chance to practice your technical snow skills, ski, or sled on the “glacier.” There is a $5 fee to hike this trail and no overnight visitation. Dogs are allowed on leash.

  • Round trip distance: 1.9 miles
  • Elevation gain: 887 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy

Hayden Trail Loop at Green Mountain

During the springtime, the Hayden Trail Loop offers beautiful views of nearby Denver. As one of the best hikes within an hour of Denver, the parking lot does fill up quickly on weekends, so plan accordingly. Perfect for trail runners or early-season hikers, Hayden is easy and lush during the springtime with spectacular views of the Front Range. Dogs are allowed, but rattlesnakes are prevalent, especially during the spring months, so stay vigilant.

  • Round trip distance: 4.6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 898 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy

Chautauqua Trail

Located right in the heart of Boulder, Chautauqua Park is a Colorado classic. A number of trails can be combined to make your hike longer or shorter, but all offer sweeping views of the Flatirons. As one of the best hikes within an hour of Denver, come at sunrise to beat the crowds and enjoy breakfast and stroll along Pearl Street afterward.

  • Round trip distance: 1.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 419 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy

Devil’s Head Fire Lookout Trail

Head to the Devil’s Head Lookout for a bird’s eye view of the Mile High and surrounding mountains. Just 45 minutes south of the city, you’ll find an uphill out-and-back route that leads to a magnificent old fire lookout. Climb the tower for amazing views of the city and see how far you can spot. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Pikes Peak. Only open seasonally, the trail closes once the snow settles in, so be sure to check conditions before you head out to avoid disappointment. Dogs are allowed on leash.

  • Round trip distance: 2.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 885 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Herman Gulch

For some of the best wildflower spotting in the state, look no further than Herman Gulch. It starts steep before leveling off, then gets steep again before reaching Herman Lake. Go in July for a fantastic wildflower display or bundle up for snowy views in winter. It’s also a dog-friendly trail as long as you pick up after your pet and use a leash.

  • Round trip distance: 7 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,781 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Mountain Lion Trail in Golden Gate State Park

For enchanted forests and aspens galore, head to Golden Gate State Park. The Mountain Lion Trail is a stunning loop that’ll take you through the most beautiful parts of the canyon. It’s one of the best places to leaf peep at the end of September when the trees take on their namesake gold. Note: There’s a $10 fee at self-pay stations, or invest in a state park pass if you’re going to be a regular visitor. Dogs are welcome as long as they are on a leash.

  • Round trip distance: 4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,584 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Mount Sniktau

If you’re looking to stand atop a mountain without venturing far down I-70, head to Mount Sniktau. This beginner’s summit features 365-degree views surrounded by 14,000-foot peaks in nearly every direction. It’s short but steep, so come prepared for this butt-buster. Always check conditions before you go, as afternoon thunderstorms and high winds are common. Only attempt this hike after you’ve had significant mountain hiking under your belt and are acclimated to Colorado conditions.

  • Round trip distance: 4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,587 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficult