10 Easy Beginner Hikes Near Denver - Day Hikes Near Denver

August 17, 2017 Comments (0) Uncategorized

10 Easy Beginner Hikes Near Denver

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Are you looking for hikes close to Denver that are easy for beginners? There are so many options to choose from for those just getting started hiking. We’ve narrowed down the top 10 easy hikes for those of you who may be either new to hiking or who are hoping to experience some beautiful scenery without a lot of hard work. These are ordered in general order of difficulty so that new hikers can build up their strength as they finish each one on the list. Be sure to download our Free Hiking Guide to help you prepare and pack smart for your dayhikes.

    Meadow & Forest Loop Trails at Lookout Mountain Nature Center

  • Meadow & Forest Loop Trails at Lookout Mountain Nature Center

  • Distance: 0.6 & 0.8 Mile Loops

    Difficulty: Easy

    Drive Time from Denver: 30 Minutes
    Lookout Mountain Park has two loop easy trails that wind through the ponderosa pines in the foothills above Golden, Colorado. Combine the loops for a longer hike. You’ll find this to be a great place to take young children who may be new to hiking. The Nature Center at Lookout Mountain Park is a great place to learn about the environment and wildlife near Denver. If you want to make a day of it, bring a picnic lunch, then take a self-guided tour of the nearby historic Boettcher Mansion. We placed this one as first on the list because it’s easiest for families with kids. For adults, you may want to jump straight to number two, the Trading Post Trail at Red Rocks Park.

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    Trading Post Trail at Red Rocks Park

  • Trading Post Trail at Red Rocks Park

  • Distance: 1.4 Mile Loop

    Difficulty: Easy

    Drive Time from Denver: 30 Minutes
    The Trading Post trail is my #1 recommended hike for those who are getting started with hiking in Denver. It’s also my top hike for those who are visiting Denver from out of town. Why? It’s just 25 minutes from the city center, is relatively a flat hike, you have red rock formations surrounding you the entire time, and you have more options after the hike. So, if you find that after hiking the loop once, you would like more of a challenge you can: hike it again, hike up into the amphitheater, or try out the nearby Red Rocks Trail.

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    Waterton Canyon Hike

  • Waterton Canyon Hike

  • Distance: 6.2-Mile trail to the Strontia Springs Dam, or 12.4 Round Trip

    Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

    Drive Time from Denver: 35 Minutes
    Waterton Canyon is a perfect next step in difficulty. The trail is actually a dirt access road that weaves its way through the canyon up to Strontia Springs Reservoir. The reason I put this third on the list is that it gets increasingly steep as you go further into the canyon, but it never gets demanding. You can go as far as you feel like your legs can take you, then turn around when you’ve seen enough. It’s an inviting path that always beckons you to got a bit further to discover what’s beyond the next bend. The South Platte River flows on the southern side of the trail and wildlife can be spotted on the mountainsides and skies above. Be sure to pack the sunscreen and bring a hat as Waterton Canyon leaves you exposed to a lot of sun.

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    South Valley Park Trails

  • South Valley Park Trails

  • Distance: 0.5 Mile to 3 Miles

    Difficulty: Easy

    Drive Time from Denver: 30 Minutes
    Our fourth recommendation is one of my personal favorites. South Valley Park is hidden behind the hogbacks in Littleton, Colorado. There are 6 trails that make their way through the Red Rock formations in South Valley, giving you a lot of options. All trails are easy to moderate, making South Valley a perfect place for beginner hikers. Don’t miss the Coyote Song trail.

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    Fountain Valley Trail at Roxborough State Park

  • Fountain Valley Trail at Roxborough State Park

  • Distance: 2.3-Mile Loop

    Difficulty: Easy

    Drive Time from Denver: 45 Minutes
    The Fountain Valley Trail is so stunning that you might just forget any aches and pains you’ve earned from your initial hikes. While both Red Rocks Park and South Valley have some great formations, the most spectacular are found here in Roxborough State Park. Roxborough does require either a parks pass or day pass for access, and no dogs are allowed in the park. If you still have some energy in you after hiking through Fountain Valley, you can explore some of the other areas on the south end of the park.

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    Alderfer and Three Sisters Park Hikes

  • Alderfer and Three Sisters Park Hikes

  • Distance: 18 Trails: 0.2 to 10+ Miles

    Difficulty: Easy

    Drive Time from Denver: 40 Minutes
    Alderfer and Three Sisters Park has over 10 miles of trails that provide you with a good opportunity to take your game up a notch. There are no real demanding trails, but you’ll find some rises enough to push you more than the earlier hikes in this set. With so many intersecting trails and so many beautiful views, Alderfer provides an open field of possibilities. This is a perfect park for those who are in a transitional place with their hiking.

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    Mt. Galbraith Loop via the Cedar Gulch Trail

  • Mt. Galbraith Loop via the Cedar Gulch Trail

  • Distance: 4.9-Mile Lollipop

    Difficulty: Moderate

    Drive Time from Denver: 25 Minutes
    Mt. Galbraith is the first hike in this set with some elevation gain. The first couple segments of this lollipop loop hike outside Golden, Colorado will require more effort, but the views are worth it. Mt. Galbraith has become heavily traveled on the weekends, so the parking area fills up fast. If you find that the lot is full, travel a few miles further down the road to White Ranch Park to hike a loop we’ve profiled called the sunset loop.

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    Monarch Lake Loop Hike

  • Monarch Lake Loop Hike

  • Distance: 4 Miles Round Trip

    Difficulty: Easy

    Drive Time from Denver: 2 Hours 50 Minutes
    The first seven hikes in this easy beginner hikes set are within about 45 minutes of Denver, but Monarch Lake is a good three hour drive. We’ve included it in this set for those of you who are looking to make a day of it. The drive out to Monarch Lake take you over Berthoud Pass, through Winter Park, and into the western side of the Front Range. The like is relatively level and offers views of the mountains that will take your breath away. The dirt access road can get a bit wearing, so be prepared for the drive in–2WD works just fine most of the year. This is a great family hike, and a makes for a great day exploring from friends who may be visiting from out-of-town.

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    Raccoon Loop Hike in Golden Gate Canyon State Park

  • Raccoon Loop Hike in Golden Gate Canyon State Park

  • Distance: 2.5-Mile Loop

    Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

    Drive Time from Denver: 1 Hour
    The Raccoon Loop will expose you to the heart of Golden Gate Canyon State Park, located about 1 hour from Denver. There are a myriad of hiking trails in the park, and this is a great place to start. There trail rambles through Aspen laden meadows and along mountain brooks. Hikers will encounter a variety of wildflowers, like pink lady slippers, and spot raptors flying above the green and grey faces of the surrounding foothills.

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    Emerald Lake Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

  • Emerald Lake Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Distance: 3.6 Miles Round Trip

Difficulty: Moderate

Drive Time from Denver: 2 Hours
If you were to take just one hike in Rocky Mountain National park–one that’s not too demanding–then the hike up to Emerald Lake is tops. You’ll pass cascades and three other sub-alpine lakes along the way to Emerald. The hike turns into a perfect snowshoeing opportunity in the winter months. By the time you’ve completed the hikes previous in this list, you’ve likely built both some muscle and stamina. And you may be ready for more. So, be sure to check out our full list of over 50 hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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Explore the Full List of 70 + Easy Hikes Near Denver

Roxborough State Park - Fountain Valley Trail

3 Easy Winter Hikes Near Denver

It's hard to just get out of the house on a Saturday morning. Add a bit of cold weather, scraping the frost off the car, getting the family bundled up, and it's just that much harder to get out and enjoy nature. So, I've looked over a few of our favorite local trails and decided on three Denver hikes that ...
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Adams Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Adams Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Adams Falls is a short .6 mile round-trip hike near Grand Lake, Colorado. The waterfall borders Rocky Mountain National Park and its trail begins at the same trailhead for the East Inlet Trail. Explore the full Adams Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions ...
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Alderfer and Three Sisters Park

This park in Evergreen, Colorado is a family favorite of some of our good friends. They have two young daughters and love to hike Alderfer and Three Sisters. The park has so many trails that the network can get confusing, so download the Alderfer trail map or pick one up at the trailhead. Scroll down for more information on this ...
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Arch Rocks in Rocky Mountain National Park

Arch Rocks in Rocky Mountain National Park

Along the way to The Pool or Fern Falls, you'll run into this towering waypoint of nature in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Arch Rocks. These are boulders as huge as cottages where the trail passes through. The trail is quite flat and hikers get to enjoy the sound of the running waters of the Big Thompson River. Explore the ...
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Bear Creek Trail at Lair o' the Bear Park

Bear Creek Trail at Lair o’ the Bear Park

Lair o' the Bear is, in our family's opinion, the best family hike near Denver. First, the drive into the canyon on Bear Creek road is beautiful. Once at the park you'll find great hiking trail options, the cool water of bear creek, great parking, and some good picnic spots. There are open areas as well as shade. Our one ...
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Bear Lake Hike at Rocky Mountain National Park

Bear Lake Hike at Rocky Mountain National Park

From Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park (just 2 hours from Denver), you can launch out on dozens of hiking adventures, trails that range from less than a mile to full day treks back into Glacier Gorge or Andrews Creek. If you are visiting Colorado and looking for a high variety of trails or just a good place to ...
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Bierstadt Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Bierstadt Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Bierstadt Lake is a short destination hike in Rocky Mountain National Park to a sub-alpine lake with great panoramic views. At Bierstadt Lake, the trail forms a 1 mile loop along its shores, making it a perfect leisurely hike with friends. Bierstadt lake can be accessed from several different trailheads with differing terrain and demand. Explore the full Bierstadt Lake ...
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Golden Gate Sate Park Blue Grouse Trail Landscape

Blue Grouse Trail at Golden Gate Canyon Park

Blue Grouse Trail in Golden Gate Canyon State Park is a wonderful adventure for kids, non-experienced hikers or out of town guests. The trail is nice and short, with little gain in elevation and the terrain is mellow, so it can be great for those carrying kids in backpacks. The Blue Grouse Trail is a perfect hiking trail for spotting ...
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Boulder Falls Near Boulder

Boulder Falls

Boulder falls is a quick hike with big reward. This 100 yard hiking trail just outside Boulder, Colorado leads you into a cliff lined notch in Boulder Canyon where the creek gushes out to form one of the best waterfalls near Denver. Since it's not much of a hike, add one of the suggested hikes below to complete your hiking ...
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Bridal Veil Falls in Idaho Springs

Bridal Veil Falls in Idaho Springs

Bridal Veil Falls is best viewed from Water Wheel Park, a short and easy walk from the downtown of Idaho Springs, Colorado. The legacy of steam locomotives and gold mining make this a historic hike in an historic Colorado town. Explore the full Bridal Veil Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions ...
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Buffalo Creek Falls at Wellington Lake

Buffalo Creek Falls at Wellington Lake

This waterfall isn't even on the map, and it's become my favorite waterfall hike near Denver. In fact, this is the only post that I'm tempted to keep to myself, because not only is there great hiking, but Wellington Lake may be the best camping spot within 90 minutes of Denver. There is a hitch though: it's a privately held ...
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Calypso Cascades in Rocky Mountain National Park

Calypso Cascades is an easy 3.6 mile hike to one of several waterfall destinations along this section of trail. This waterfall in the Wild Basin of Rocky Mountain National Park is gets its name from the purple Calypso Orchids that bloom along the banks of Cony Creek. Explore the full Calypso Cascades hike profile ...
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Map of 10 Easy Beginner Hikes Near Denver

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