red rocks with blue sky background and green trees along trading post trail red rocks park in Denver Colorado

Trading Post Trail at Red Rocks Park

Ready for a hike around Colorado's Red Rocks Park and famous amphitheater? The Trading Post trail at Red Rocks takes you around 10 of the park's giant red rock formations. It's a short, 1.4-mile loop hike just 25 minutes from downtown Denver. Check out our full hiking trail profile below for all the details.

Trail Snapshot: Trading Post Loop Trail

If you are looking for a family adventure that's quick to get to, this hiking trail at Red Rocks is a great option. The Trading Post trail weaves through some of Colorado's most majestic red rock formations, into meadows, and great views of Red Rocks park. Because the trail is narrow and has some steep areas, keep a good eye on the kiddos.

We hiked the Trading Post Trail on a sunny Saturday in February with our children, ages 7 and 4. They loved it, but were definitely tired at the end. However, after we finished the 1.4 mile loop, it was their idea to hike up to the amphitheater, then all the way to the top.

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We started at the trading post, and hiked the loop counter-clockwise. I'd recommend hiking it this way because it gives you the move favorable views, and offers a bit of shade about 3/4 of the way through the hike--right when you need it the most. The sand and grave on the rock surface of the trail can cause your feet to slip, but as long as you are aware and take your time, it makes for a perfect leisurely hike.

You can bring your dog on this hike, however we haven't added this trail to our list of best trails for hiking with your dog near Denver because the trail can be narrow and can be high traffic. So, if you are bringing fido, we recommend going early in the morning, or take the Red Rocks trail, which is more open and has fewer people on it.

I get a lot of emails from people who are only in Denver for a few days, limited when it comes to their transportation, and want to experience the outdoors. This is the hike I send them to. Why?

  • The Trading Post is gorgeous year round.
  • Red Rocks is super close to Denver, and while it's still expensive, you could take a Lyft or Uber there from downtown. Get a group of friends to share the cost and you're golden.
  • Elevation is less of an issue for out-of-towners, and it's a relatively easy hike. It's short, but long still long enough to get a workout.

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Tips & Resources for Hiking the Trading Post Trail at Red Rocks :

  • Sunscreen: There's not much shade on this hike, so bring the sunscreen
  • Rattlesnakes: There are rattlesnakes in Red Rocks, as there are in many parks along the front range. Like us, they love to sunbathe, but on rocks and other warm areas. Don't let their presence deter you from enjoying this hike, but keep an eye out for the varmints.
  • Climbing: Rock Climbing is Prohibited at Red Rocks
  • View of Denver: After your hike around the Trading Post loop, walk up into the Red Rocks Amphitheater. It's worth climbing all the stairs to the top for a great view of Denver.
  • Hours: The hiking trails at Red Rocks open one hour before sunrise and close one hour after sunset
  • After the Hike: Ice Cream @ The Blue Cow
  • Trail Map for Red Rocks Park: Trail Map Link
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions

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25+ Winter Hikes Near Denver

Are you ready for the winter hiking near Denver? Much of Colorado is winter wonderland from November to April, that’s why we are the best skiing destination in the world–well, we think so. I think we are also the best winter hiking destination in the world. We have over 140 hikes on Dayhikes Near Denver, but not all are as easily hiked in the winter season, so we've identified about 20 different great winter hiking trails that are easier to access and great for families looking for winter hikes.

Our Criteria for Choosing The Best Winter Hiking Trails Near Denver

  • These trails are generally easy to get to. Snow and weather can make the drive to the trailhead an adventure in and of itself, so I tried to identify hikes that were more accessible.
  • Most of these hiking trails have areas where you are a bit more protected from the wind. I avoided hikes like the Flatirons Vista near Boulder because, while easy to access, you're exposed to the wind the entire time.
  • Beginners and families should be able to hike these together.

Hike Smart this Winter

An easy hike can turn into a difficult one when weather comes in so be sure to hike smart this winter.

  • Always pack the 10 Essentials. If you need a packing list, then be sure to download our Free Hiking Guide to help you prepare and pack smart for your dayhikes.
  • Before you head out on the trail, review our 10 Winter Hiking Tips to get you prepared for this season.

Explore Our 25+ Winter Hikes Near Denver Colorado

young hiker standing on trail with red rock formations and foothills in background in south valley park hike near littleton colorado

South Valley Park Trails

The trails of South Valley Park are perfect for an after work hike or run in South Denver. The expansive valley near the neighborhood of Ken Caryl is enclosed on its eastern side by the exposed red rock formations of the hogback and the green foothills to the west. Views to the south are incredible, making South Valley Park especially ...
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Map of Best Winter Hikes Near Denver Colorado


Red Rocks Trail at Settlers Park in Boulder

A giant underground sandstone formation runs from Ft. Collins all the way through Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. Here at Red Rocks Trail in Boulder, the rock juts out of the ground to transform the landscape. It makes for an inspiring short hike. Explore the hike snapshot and detailed trail profile below to get a feel for this great hike near Boulder.

Trail Snapshot: Red Rocks Trail at Settlers Park

The trails of Red Rocks at Settlers Park in Boulder interconnect to form more of a labyrinth than a straightforward hike. But there is a way around all that---literally. Pull up the Boulder Open Space & Parks Map and follow the outer perimeter trail to form an approximately 1 mile loop around the sandstone red rock formations that jut out of the ground in the center of the park.
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You can add an additional .8 mile to your hike by taking the Anemone trail to the west, rising another 400ft where it tops out on a hill to give you views of the City of Boulder, the Red Rocks Park, and the Colorado Front Range. Even with the Anemone trail spur, it's a short hike, so you might want to add one of the Mt. Sanitas hiking trail options to your adventure. The Mt. Sanitas trail is just North of the Centennial Trailhead.

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Tips & Resources for Hiking the Red Rocks Trail at Settlers Park :

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view of wide dirt trail at mount sanitas in boulder looking south to green mountain in boulder colorado ponderosa pine in foreground

Mt. Sanitas Hike Near Boulder

If you are visiting Boulder, this is a great Colorado hike. Mt. Sanitas gives you several trail options ranging from an easy stroll along a meandering brook to a demanding trail up the mountainside. Explore the trail profile below for all the info you need on this hike near Boulder.

Trail Snapshot: Mt. Sanitas Hike in Boulder

Mt. Sanitas offers three different hike options, ranging from the more difficult climb up the mountain, to an easy walk through a peaceful valley. Sanitas is Latin for "health", and this hike may either get you in better shape (the 3.1 mile loop), or restore your sanity (the easier options). If you are visiting Boulder, this is a great Colorado hike.

3 Hike Options at Mt. Sanitas in Boulder, Colorado

1 - The Mt. Sanitas Loop - 3.1 Mile Loop - Medium+

mt sanitas loop labeled
This is the classic hike at Boulder's Mt. Sanitas, and it's the most difficult of the three hike options because it involves a series of log and rock steps that will leave your quads and knees either thanking your for the workout or aching for a couple days afterwards. Because of this, we would give it a Medium+ difficulty rating. The prize of this Front Range Hike are the views at the top. You'll be able to look down into Boulder and get some great views of Colorado's Front Range.

2 - Mt. Sanitas Valley Hike - 2 Mile Out-and-Back - Easy

Mt. Sanitas Valley Hike Near Boulder

Here's the easiest option; 1 mile straight up the valley and back. The two words that best describe the Sanitas Valley trail: idyllic and busy. Dogs run about and jump in the creek that runs along the beginning of the path, runners fly by, and families talk and stroll together. The trail rises gently at first, then goes into more of an incline. We took our stroller; it worked fine, but was tough pushing the kids up the last 1/4 mile uphill. We turned around just after the Dakota Ridge Trail junction, making it a 2 mile out-and-back hike.

3 - Dakota Ridge Trail at Mt. Sanitas - 2 Mile Loop - Easy to Medium

Mt. Sanitas Dakota Ridge Route
You'll find side trails running East/West off of the Sanitas Valley trail which will take you up onto the Dakota ridge, a hogback that boxes in the Sanitas Valley. You can make this an out-and-back hike, or turn it into a loop by hiking back through the valley (see photo above and the Mt. Sanitas Trail Map for the route).

Tips & Resources for Hiking Mt. Sanitas in Boulder:

  • Parking: This is kind of a no-brainer, but get to the trailhead early. I think we arrived around 8am on a Saturday and grabbed the last parking spot. However, we noticed that many people were walking to the trailhead from town, so there are other parking options.
  • No Shade: Bring your sunscreen; the trail is mostly exposed.
  • Lots of People: If you are looking for solitude, I'd recommend trying another hike. The Mt. Sanitas trail is essentially in Boulder, and its great location means that it's quite busy.
  • Trail Map for Mt. Sanitas Trail: Trail Map Link
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: Ozo Coffee

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spruce mountain hikes near larkspur header

Spruce Mountain Hikes Near Larkspur

These hikes along Spruce Mountain near Larkspur, Colorado offer both expansive vista of Colorado's rolling green hills and a unique view of Pikes Peak. Spruce Mountain is a tall butte just 45 minutes south of Denver. This hiking trail follows the outer edge of the mountain giving you a great 360 degree view of the area. Check out the entire hike profile below to get acquainted with Spruce Mountain before you hike it. You'll find links to trail maps, driving directions, and all the details you'll need to strike out on this Colorado trail.

Trail Snapshot: Spruce Mountain Hikes Near Larkspur

Spruce Mountain offers breathtaking views of Pikes Peak, Eagle Mountain, and the rolling hills of Greenland and Larkspur. Most trails close to Denver are pretty exposed to the sun, so we were pleasantly surprised with how much shade the trees provided along the trails. Still, bring sunscreen because the South side of Spruce Mountain is a bit more exposed.

We rated this as medium in difficulty because of the first segment, which climbs about 400' in the space of about a quarter mile. After that that trail is relatively level. So, we'd put this on the easy side of medium. Because of that, this makes a great family hike close to Denver. But we'd highly recommend getting on the trail by 9am on the weekends (see the tips below).

Two Options for the Spruce Mountain Hike:

1 - 1.5+ Mile Hike to the Greenland Overlook - (out and back) Take a left where the trail forks and head up to the overlook (about 3/4 mile). This is a great first option if you have children with you. The views of Pikes Peak may be the best in Douglas County, and you can see how the family is doing and decide whether or not you want to continue on the loop hike.

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2 - 4+ Mile Spruce Mountain Loop Trail - Continue west on the trail making a loop around the top of Spruce Mountain. You'll encounter fantastic views of Eagle Mountain, and the Windy Point overlook. Just a quick note that the service road may look like a shortcut back to the trailhead, but it's not. It is an option though if you would like to hike the open meadows between Eagle and Spruce mountains.

girl on trail with black dog in colorado mountains spruce tree in foreground and snow and evergreen trees in background

Tips & Resources for Hiking Spruce Mountain Hikes Near Larkspur :

  • Speed Trap? We haven't seen the lurking cop car, but their are all the makings of a good old speed trap in Larkspur. So, take it easy. Our guess is that when the Renaissance festival is in full swing that traffic will really back up. The first reason to go early, and to probably allow more than 45 minutes for the drive.
  • The Spruce Mountain Trailhead Parking Fills Fast: There is a lot of parking, but the lot was full by 11am on a Saturday. Second reason to go early.
  • Great For Fido: There were more dogs on this trail than we've seen on any other, probably because most of the hike is pretty level and shaded. However, it makes for a bit of a traffic jam at times. Third reason to go early.
  • Great Hike For Visiting Friends and Family: This hike has a lot of bang for the buck, and once you are up the first mile it's smooth sailing. It would be a great place to take out of towners who may be looking for a less demanding hike.
  • Trail Map for Spruce Mountain Open Space: Trail Map Link
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: Charito’s House

spruce mountain open space trailhead

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Meyer Ranch Open Space Hikes

Meyer Ranch is just 30 minutes outside of Denver, Colorado and offers three different hiking trail options, ranging from 2.4 to 4.8 mile, easy to moderate hikes. Check out the three different hiking trail options for this hike near Conifer, Colorado.

Trail Snapshot: Meyer Ranch Open Space Hikes

Meyer Ranch Open Space offers 3 great hiking options only 30 minutes from Denver. They range from easy to moderate in difficulty and 2.4 to 4.8 miles in length. Meyer Ranch has expansive meadows and patches of wildflowers, grazing deer & elk, and trails that take you to overlooks.

1. Lodgepole Loop: 2.4 miles - Easy - Take the Owl's Perch Trail South and continue straight (left) down the trail, at the next junction go right and continue on the Lodgepole loop for 1.2 miles until you arrive back at the Owl's Perch trail and take (left ) that back to the parking lot.

2. Sunny Aspen Trail Loop: 3 Miles - Moderate - Take the Owl's Perch Trail South and continue straight (left) down the trail, at the next junction go right and continue on the Lodgepole loop, go .6 miles and take a right onto the Sunny Aspen Trail, continue on the Sunny Aspen Trail for .8 miles until it joins again with the Lodgepole Loop (go right), follow this back to the Owl's Perch trail and back to the parking lot.

3. Old Ski Run Trail 4.8 Miles - Moderate - Take the Owl's Perch Trail South and continue straight (left) down the trail, at the next junction go left again for .2 mile until you find your next junction, go left onto the Sunny Aspen Trail taking that for .5 mile until you reach the junction with the Old Ski Run Trail. The Ski Run trail is an out & back trail with a loop at the end. The Ski Run section is 2 miles out and back (including loop). Return the way you came via the Sunny Aspen Trail.

girl on trail with black dog in colorado mountains spruce tree in foreground and snow and evergreen trees in background

Tips & Resources for Hiking Meyer Ranch Open Space Hikes :

  • Picnic areas: There are picnic areas close to the trailhead as you go along Owl's Perch Trail.
  • TIP: Initially you will hear noise from the road below. This will fade as you hike further into the park.
  • Trail Map for Meyer Ranch Open Space: Trail Map Link
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: Aspen Perk Cafe

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Mount Falcon View from Castle

Mount Falcon - Castle & Tower Hike

A hike to castle ruins in Colorado? Yep. Throw in a lookout tower, great view of Denver, of Red Rocks, and of the mountains, and you've got some of the highlights of the Mount Falcon Trail. The trailhead is nestled in a community in the foothills just about 40 minutes from Denver. Here we detail a 2.3 mile loop trail that hits all the destinations.

Trail Snapshot: Mount Falcon Castle & Tower Hike

Mt. Falcon Loop Hike

Mount Falcon features several trails. By combining a few, you can create a 2.3 mile loop and take in several historic sites as well as breathtaking views of Denver, Red Rocks, and the Front Range. This is makes it one of the best hikes close to Denver for visiting friends and family. Because it is an easy hike and has a relatively flat and wide trail, you can take the jogging stroller on this one, too. If you are looking for more great trails for your family, be sure to check out our Kid Friendly Trails Near Denver and our recommended Colorado Hikes for Visiting Friends and Family pages. If hiking with kids, be sure to access it via the West Trailhead as described in this post. Map apps and other sites may take you to the very demanding east trailhead, which is very exposed to the sun and has heavy mountain bike traffic.
Denver View From Mount Falcon

The Loop Trail Sequence:Start at the parking lot off of Mt. Falcon Road, and when you come to a fork in the trail, take the Tower Trail to your right. Soon you'll pass the Eagle Eye Shelter which offers great views towards Mount Evans and the surrounding foothills. Stay on the Tower Trail until you get to the Fire Tower which commands a panoramic view of Denver, Red Rocks, and more of the Front Range of Colorado.

Then continue on the Tower Trail until it intersects with the Meadow Trail. Take the Meadow Trail North/Left for about .3 miles. It will end at the Castle Trail - take a left. The Castle Trail will lead you back to the parking lot, but don't head back until you stop at the ruins of the old Walker Home. The views from here are beautiful as well.

hiking near sundown with dog and baby at mount falcon hike near denver

Tips & Resources for Hiking Mt. Falcon:

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Elk Meadow Park - South Loop

Elk Meadow Park is a great place to hike with your family, if you have little ones, or if you just want to talk with a friend as you hike and take in great views of Colorado. It is important to know that the adjacent off-leash dog park has been closed. Get all the info you need to hike Elk Meadow Park in Evergreen by exploring the full trail profile below.

Trail Snapshot: Elk Meadow Park - South Loop

Elk Meadow Park has just over 13 miles of hiking trails near Denver that wind through it's lower meadows, through ponderosa forest, and two more strenuous options that lead to the summit of Bergen Peak. This profiles a 2.6 mile loop that begins at the south parking area. To form the loop, combine the Meadow View Trail, Elk Ridge Trail, and the Sleepy "S" trail. Use the Elk Meadow Park map at this link. We chose this route because we have 2 children under 3 years old, and it was a good choice - just long enough, trails close to Denver, and lots of change of scenery during a short hike.

There had been an off-leash dog area just on the other side of the street from the south parking lot (not visible on this older google map, so you'll have to trust us that it's there). This was a great place to allow dogs to roam and play, but this has been closed due to excessive dog waste and damage to vegetation. Here is a link to the Jefferson County info page on the off-leash area. Dogs are required to be leashed in all other areas of the park.

girl on trail with black dog in colorado mountains spruce tree in foreground and snow and evergreen trees in background

Tips & Resources for Hiking Elk Meadow Park - South Loop :

  • TIP: The Easy way. Take the loop clockwise for the easier route and counter-clockwise if you are looking for a more strenuous (but not much) hike.
  • Parking: Park only in designated areas. There has been a lot of erosion damaged caused by visitors parking alongside the road. If parking is full, please find another park to visit.
  • TIP: Enjoy some time in Evergreen. The town of Evergreen is a great place to retreat to during the summer. It's a few degrees cooler, Bear Creek runs through town, and you'll find some great places to eat.
  • Trail Map for Elk Meadow Park: Trail Map Link
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: Beau Jo’s Pizza

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Canyon Loop Trail - Betasso Preserve, Boulder

This hike at Betasso Preserve near Boulder, Colorado makes for a perfect evening escape to watch the sunset over the town below. You'll cross through meadows dotted with wildflowers then under stands of Ponderosa pine that eventually open up to views to east. Explore the hiking trail profiles and map link below for details.

Trail Snapshot: Canyon Loop Trail at Betasso Preserve

Tips & Resources for Hiking the Canyon Loop at Betasso Preserve :

  • Easier Approach: Make your hike at Betasso Preserve a bit easier by starting from the East Trailhead
  • Mountain Bikers: Each month the direction of travel required for Mountain Bikers is switched. Check the sign at the trailhead. Additionally, biking is not allowed on Wed. & Sat.
  • Hikers: Check the sign at the trailhead as well and try to hike the opposite direction of the bike traffic.
  • Trail Map for Betasso Preserve: Trail Map Link
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: Ozo Coffee in Boulder

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alberta falls waterfall in granite canyon with cascades in foreground in rocky mountain national park

Alberta Falls Hike at Rocky Mountain National Park

Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park is full of waterfalls and this hike takes you to one of the most accessible waterfalls in the park. Alberta Falls is one of the most popular, short destination hikes in the park, and for good reason. If you only have time for one short hike on the East Side of RMNP, this is a great choice. To get to Alberta Falls, park at at the Bear Lake Trailhead (see google directions below), then follow the signs south for Glacier Gorge and Alberta Falls. The waterfall is .8 miles down the trail from the parking area, make this a 1.6 mile out-and-back hike. Start early and hike the full 2.8 miles of trail in to stunning Mills lake inside Glacier Gorge.
Trail Snapshot: Alberta Falls

Tips & Resources for Hiking to Alberta Falls

  • Visitors and Vacationers: Alberta Falls is a great place to take visiting family and friends because it's not too difficult, and you have a lot of options if you want to explore the park
  • Bring a Lunch: Getting this far into the park, even just driving, is quite a trip from the outside world. We suggest packing a lunch so that you can stay longer. And food just tastes better outside anyway.
  • Trail Map for Bear Lake Corridor: Trail Map
  • Rocky Mountain National Park Maps: Maps Link
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: Poppy's Pizza

waterfall in canyon with bridge in foreground fish creek falls waterfall in colorado Looking for more waterfalls near Denver? Explore our more than 50 Colorado Waterfall Hikes, our favorite Waterfall Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, or 7 Waterfalls within One Hour of Denver.

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