10 Best Hikes When Visiting Colorado - Day Hikes Near Denver

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10 Best Hikes When Visiting Colorado


Where to hike when you are on vacation in Colorado? There are hundreds of trails and destinations to choose from and it’s hard to know where to start. That’s why we’ve assembled this Top 10 list of Colorado Hikes. They range from an easy 1 mile stroll at Maroon Bells to a difficult 8-mile round trip hike to a gushing waterfall in Rocky Mountain National Park. You’ll find a real variety in this set of hiking trails, perfect for planning your Colorado Vacation. Be sure to download our Free Hiking Guide to help you prepare and pack smart for your dayhikes.

Maroon Bells Hikes

  • Maroon Bells Hikes
  • Distance: Five Trails: 1 to 13 miles Round Trip – Depending on Trail
    Drive Time from Denver: 4 Hours
    Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
    Maroon Bells offers multiple hiking trails and some some of the most beautiful scenery in Colorado. This Rocky Mountain landscape is full of cascades, lakes, golden aspens–all against the iconic backdrop of the Maroon Bells peaks. Explore our Ultimate Guide to Maroon Bells that details several hiking trails, camping options, and shuttle details.

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    Hanging Lake Hike

  • Hanging Lake Hike
  • Distance: 2.4 miles Round Trip
    Drive Time from Denver: 2 Hours 45 Minutes
    Difficulty: Moderate
    Hanging Lake is a short, but demanding hike to two waterfalls and one of the most beautiful lakes in Colorado. It’s definitely worth the nearly three-hour drive to the trailhead which is located just south of Glenwood Springs, Colorado–a great family vacation destination in Colorado. This is probably the most popular hike in all of Colorado, so be sure to arrive early for parking. Our Hanging Lake Trail Guide will give you the most comprehensive set of tips and details for making this dayhike a great family memory.

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    Alberta Falls Hike at Rocky Mountain National Park

  • Alberta Falls Hike at Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Distance: 1.6 miles Round Trip
    Drive Time from Denver: 2 Hours
    Difficulty: Moderate
    If there’s only one waterfall to visit in Rocky Mountain National park, Alberta Falls is a superb choice. It is a favorite among the short hikes in the park. From Alberta Lake, hikers have options to further explore such areas as the Loch, Timberline Falls, and the Glacier Gorge area–all hikes featured on Dayhikes Near Denver.

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    Fern Falls Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

  • Fern Falls Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Distance: 5.4 miles Round Trip
    Drive Time from Denver: 1 Hour 40 Minutes
    Difficulty: Moderate
    Fern Falls is located on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. The waterfall crashes over rock and fallen trees, moss and ferns, as it makes its way down through the forest and sprays a fine mist across the trail. Adventurers can hike beyond Fern Falls up to Fern Lake, another breathtaking destination in this gem of our National Parks system.

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    Fountain Valley Trail at Roxborough State Park

  • Fountain Valley Trail at Roxborough State Park
  • Distance: 2.3 miles
    Drive Time from Denver: 45 Minutes
    Difficulty: Easy
    Maybe you are looking for a hike closer to Denver. The Fountain Valley Trail in Colorado’s Roxborough State Park is the Garden of the God’s of Denver. Great slabs of pink and orange rock contrast against blue sky, and even on a rainy or foggy day, the Fountain Valley Trail feels like a trip into an enchanted realm. Like Rocky Mountain National Park, no pets are allowed in the park, and a State Parks Pass or day fee is required for all entrants.

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    First and Second Flatirons Hike in Boulder

  • First and Second Flatirons Hike in Boulder
  • Distance: 2.6 miles Round Trip
    Drive Time from Denver: 45 Minutes
    Difficulty: Moderate
    Looking for something a bit more challenging? Hiking the Flatirons Trail near Boulder, Colorado leads hikers across a green meadow, then up through a notch between the First and Second Flatirons. The back side of the flatirons offers a shaded alcove where you can take in views of the snow-capped front range of the Colorado Rockies.

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    Devil's Head Fire Lookout Hike

  • Devil’s Head Fire Lookout Hike
  • Distance: 2.8 miles Round Trip
    Drive Time from Denver: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
    Difficulty: Moderate
    The Devil’s Head Trail is the classic Colorado Front Range hike and it is just about one hour from the center of Denver. The 143-step climb to the fire lookout can be harrowing, but worth the 360-degree panoramic view of mountains layered upon mountains.

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    Timberline Falls Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

  • Timberline Falls Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Distance: 8 miles Round Trip
    Drive Time from Denver: 2 Hours
    Difficulty: Difficult
    Hiking to Timberline Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park is demanding but has plenty of rewards. The trail passes Alberta Falls along the way and into the wonderful Loch Vale. Most hikers extend their hike beyond Timberline Falls to the alpine lakes beyond. Explore the full trail profile for details on this adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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    Four Lakes and Waterfall Loop Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

  • Four Lakes and Waterfall Loop Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Distance: 6.4 miles
    Drive Time from Denver: 2 Hours
    Difficulty: Moderate
    This 6.4-mile loop hike in RMNP takes you to four beautiful subalpine lakes and Alberta Falls, one of the park’s most frequently visited waterfalls. If you are looking for a hike with a lot of bang for the buck, and just have one day in Rocky Mountain National park, this would be a great choice and opportunity to take in a variety of terrain and destinations.

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    Monarch Lake Loop Hike

  • Monarch Lake Loop Hike

Distance: 4 miles
Drive Time from Denver: 2 Hours 50 Minutes
Difficulty: Easy
If you are vacationing in Winter Park or the Granby area, the loop hike around Monarch Lake makes for a perfect dayhike. The Monarch Lake Loop takes hikers through a shaded forest, across creeks, and along the shore of the lake. It’s one of the more easy but diverse hikes in the area. Monarch Lake is a popular destination for activities like kayaking, canoeing, and is an access point for backpacking in Indian Peaks Wilderness area. Because this is a very popular hike, be sure to arrive early or go on a weekday.

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Map of 10 Best Hikes When Visiting Colorado