Forgotten Valley Hike at Golden Gate State Park

Can you think of a more mysterious name for a hike? Colorado's Golden Gate State Park has many trails, and the Forgotten Valley is a great place to start discovering this gem that is tucked between Golden and Boulder, Colorado. Get all the details on hiking the Forgotten Valley by scrolling down to the hike snapshot and hiking tips below.

Trail Snapshot: Forgotten Valley Hike at Golden Gate State Park

The Forgotten Valley in Golden Gate Canyon State Park is a step back in time.This day hike near Denver takes you 1.5 miles to an old homestead complete with front porch views of the small lake that sits in the bottom of the valley. From the Bridge Trailhead, take the Burro Trail for approximately 3/4 of a mile to where it intersects with the Mountain Lion Trail. Turn North (Left) on the Mountain Lion Trail, and follow that for about 3/4 of mile to Forgotten Valley and the Tallman Homestead. The pond in the valley is stocked by the division of wildlife. We want to thank Kenny Chaffin for his photo of the Tallman Homestead. You can view more of his Denver area photos here.

forgotten valley homestead hike golden

Tips & Resources for Hiking Forgotten Valley Hike at Golden Gate State Park :

Weather

Map & Driving Directions


Click for Driving Directions

man painting red rocks at trading post trail in red rocks park near denver with red rocks in background hikes 30 minutes from denver


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

Weather

Map & Driving Directions


Click for Driving Directions

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


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.

Weather

Map & Driving Directions


Click for Driving Directions

waterfall in canyon with bridge in foreground fish creek falls waterfall in colorado


man on horse with dog on bluffs regional park trail with front range mountains in background on hike near denver

Bluffs Loop Trail at Bluffs Regional Park

The Bluffs Regional Park features a 2.7 mile loop hike and 2 spurs that lead to panoramic overlooks. The Bluffs loop offers fantastic views of Denver and of the front range. We prefer hitting the trail as the sun is setting. As it gets dark, and the city lights begin to appear, warm winds sometimes will kick up along the Bluffs. Because it's so close to home, we have hiked the Bluffs more than any other trail near Denver. It's the best hike in Lone Tree, it's near Highlands Ranch, and can be made into either a great hike or trail run. We have often taken our jogging stroller, put the kids in, and hiked the loop. This makes for a great after-work workout.

Trail Snapshot: Bluffs Loop Trail at Bluffs Regional Park

Because the Bluffs Regional Park is just a few minutes off of Interstate 25, it's a great place to meet friends who may be driving up from Castle Rock or Monument.

Be aware of horses on the trail and give them the right of way. There is a gentleman who likes to ride his horse in the late afternoon/early evening who can be quite reckless. We've seen him nearly collide with parties of hikers on two occasions. Just be aware of him.

2 Hike Options at the Bluffs Regional Park :

1. The Loop Hike: We prefer to hike the loop counter-clockwise (going right onto the trail from the trailhead) because the steepest part of the trail is downhill at the end. The trail does have a steady incline on the back side that can be challenge if you are pushing a stroller. This loop hike is 2.7 miles + spurs out to two overlooks.

2. Hike Directly to the Overlook: The most direct route to the Tepe Overlook at the Bluffs is by following the trail clockwise (to the left) from the trailhead for half a mile, then to follow the spur trail for .2 mile to the overlook. This makes for a 1.4 mile, out-and-back hike.

Tips & Resources for Hiking Bluffs Loop Trail at Bluffs Regional Park :

  • TIP: The parking lot usually fills up on weekend mornings before 9-9:30AM.
  • TIP: As there is no water available at the trailhead, you would want to bring some with you.
  • Trail Map for Bluffs Loop Trail: Trail Map Link
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: DazBog Coffee

Weather

Map & Driving Directions


Click for Driving Directions

baby mountain goat on mount evans colorado more easy hikes


maxwell falls with waterfall and hikers above and at the base of the waterfall

Maxwell Falls Near Evergreen, Colorado

The Maxwell Falls hike is our most popular hike near Denver. Why? Because it's a perfect Colorado family hike with a variety of terrain, and the it takes you to one of the closest waterfalls to Denver. Below you'll find three different hike options: a one mile hike, a three mile loop, and a four mile trek--all taking you to Maxwell falls.

In the last few years, Maxwell Falls has become one of the most popular destination hikes near Denver, and it's having a negative impact. In other words, Maxwell Falls is being loved to death. Please read through the orange box for some of the basic trail etiquette that will help protect this beautiful place.

Trail Snapshot: Maxwell Falls Hike

When we were moving to Denver, we were looking for a great house and for great hikes, and our favorite hikes end with a waterfall. Waterfalls close to Denver, Colorado don't have a lot of wow-factor, but they make great for great destination hikes. There are 3 ways to hike to Maxwell falls. Our favorite is the Cliff Trail loop because it gives you the falls a reward at the end. The falls are more of a series cascades, but are worth the hike. If you want to explore more waterfalls near Denver, check out our Waterfall Hikes Near Denver page.

Hike Options for Maxwell Falls Trails.

1. The Short Version:

Less than 1 mile round trip - Begin at the Upper Trailhead and follow the signs to the falls. It's just under half a mile, one way.

2. The Cliff Trail Loop:

3 Miles - Start at the upper trailhead lot. The trail will split a couple times and you'll want to bear left, following the signs that point you down the Cliff Trail. You'll climb a bit to a rock promontory that gives you beautiful views of the valley below. You will begin a descent to the creek bed, then the trail will turn and head upstream. Follow it until you hear the falls. After the falls, follow the trail back up to the upper lot.

maxwell-falls-hiking-with-kids

3. Lower Maxwell Falls Hike

- 4 Miles Round Trip - Begin at the lower parking area and hike up the valley and along Maxwell Creek for about 2 miles. About 1.7 miles along the trail, you'll cross to the other side of the creek. Shortly after that, you'll hear the falls. Return the same way you came.

We've had some inquiries about whether or not there is camping at Maxwell Falls. Because this area gets so much traffic, we recommend camping elsewhere. It is permissible to camp on USFS land, but it's important to take into consideration our impact, and the Maxwell Falls area is getting loved to death. I'd recommend checking out Reserve America for other camping ideas.

So, strap on your hiking boots, grab a picnic lunch and your trekking poles, then hit the trail to Maxwell Falls.

Help Care for Maxwell Falls Area

Maxwell Falls and the surrounding trails get an incredible amount of traffic, and in recent years, hikers have really harmed the area. So, during your visit (and as always), follow Leave No Trace principles and the following:

  • Pick up trash on your hike (especially your own). There is no trash service at this trailhead.
  • Pack out dog droppings
  • Keep Dogs on a Leash
  • No fires or digging fire-pits. Fires pose an extreme danger to nearby residents.
  • If parking is full, come back later, or find a different hike. Roadside parking is causing erosion and safety hazards.

Tips & Resources for Hiking Maxwell Falls:

  • TIP: This trail gets a ton of use, so make an effort to pick up a few pieces of trash while you are making your trek to the falls.
  • TIP: Be on alert for the signage. It's easy to miss, and sometimes in disrepair. I'd recommend reading through the comments section below for details.
  • After the Hike: Beaujos Pizza in Evergreen
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions

Weather

Map & Driving Directions


Click for Driving Directions for Upper Lot

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.


sunset light on castle rock rock formation in castle rock colorado near castle rock trail

Castle Rock Trail

Rock Park in Castle Rock, Colorado is the trailhead for a 1.4 mile loop within a loop hike that climbs to the base of the town's famous Castle Rock. Click here for the Castle Rock trail map. Explore Dayhikes Near Denver for more hikes in Colorado with impressive rock formations.

Trail Snapshot: Castle Rock Trail

Tips & Resources for Hiking Castle Rock Trail :

  • TIP: There is a panoramic view of Castle Rock at the top. Pike's Peak can be seen to the southwest, and Long's Peak to the northwest.
  • TIP: A wide, flat path encircles the rock with a picnic area. Tables are available.
  • Trail Map for Castle Rock Trail: Trail Map Link
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: Crowfoot Valley Coffee

Weather

Map & Driving Directions


Click for Driving Directions

man painting red rocks at trading post trail in red rocks park near denver with red rocks in background hikes 30 minutes from denver


cliff climbers trail castlewood canyon header

Cliff & Climber's Trails at Castlewood Canyon

If you want to explore the crags and hidden pockets of Castlewood Canyon State Park, this combination of trails makes for a fun adventure in a part of Colorado that a lot of hikers miss. The park is nestled into the plains Southeast of Denver, and has a lot of hiking options. Check out the trail profile below to get driving directions, link to a map for the hike, tips, and all the details on this trail.

Trail Snapshot: Cliff & Climber’s Trails at Castlewood Canyon

These two trails can be combined to get a full hike along the cliff band that runs along the western edge of Castlewood Canyon State Park. A cave can be found near the middle of the trail. It is a kind of large crack in the rock that leads to a larger chamber. I wish I could describe it better, but my 2 1/2 year old, when I asked if she wanted to go inside, was concerned that the "bears might not be sleeping."

Tips & Resources for Hiking Cliff & Climber’s Trails at Castlewood Canyon :

  • Finding the Trail: The cave trail can be accessed by hiking across the dirt road from the parking lot. The Google Map is very specific and should be helpful in finding the correct parking area.
  • Add the Waterfall: The Waterfall Hike can be added to your trip.
  • Finding the Traihead: The West Side entrance can be hard to find. Usually, Colorado state parks have brown signs indicating the park roads. The west side doesn't. But the name of the road you're looking for is "Castlewood Canyon" - easy to remember.
  • Short but Steep Hike: The hike is easy when you consider the distance, but we rated this one as difficult because the trail can be quite uneven and very steep. Watch your footing.
  • Make it a Loop Hike: You can make an even larger loop out of the hike by exiting on either the north or south end of the trail, then crossing the road east to one of the parking areas. From there, take the West Side Spur or the Creek Bottom Trail back to your car. See the Castlewood Canyon Map below for details.
  • TIP: Hikes in Castlewood Canyon can be quite exposed to the sun, so bring the sunscreen.
  • TIP: Poison Ivy: We've been surprised how poison ivy flourishes in this park, often along the edge of the trail. Know how to identify it, so that you can avoid it. But don't let that deter you from the park. You just need to keep an eye out. See our post on how to identify and treat poison ivy.
  • Trail Map for Castlewood Canyon: Trail Map Link
  • Additional Maps: Castlewood Canyon State Park Trails
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: Crowfoot Valley Coffee

Weather

Map & Driving Directions


Click for Driving Directions

man painting red rocks at trading post trail in red rocks park near denver with red rocks in background hikes 30 minutes from denver


arthurs rock trail lory state park header

Arthur's Rock Trail in Lory State Park

The Arthurs Rock trail in Lory State Park near Fort Collins, Colorado ends with a beautiful panoramic views. You'll pass through meadows, forest, then end your hike with a scramble to the top of Arthur's Rock. Dogs are allowed on a leash, just be sure to bring plenty of water as there are not many places to access drinking water.

Trail Snapshot: Arthur’s Rock Trail in Lory State Park

Arthur's Rock History

The place got its name from Arthur Howard who was the one who, along with his brother, Charlie, sold this piece of land. For more information on the history of Arthur's Rock and Lory State Park, visit this page.

Tips & Resources for Hiking Arthur’s Rock Trail in Lory State Park :

  • TIP: There is a visitor's center near the Lory State Park entrance.
  • TIP: At the summit of Arthur's Rock, there is a beautiful view of Horsetooth Reservoir and the Front Range available.
  • Trail Map for Lory State Park: Trail Map Link
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: The Colorado Room
  • Photo: We would like to express our gratitude to Luci Westphal for sharing a great photo of her hike to Arthur's Rock at Lory State Park. Check out her video from this hike.

Weather

Map & Driving Directions


Click for Driving Directions to Lory State Park

baby mountain goat on mount evans colorado more easy hikes


view to the western rocky mountain from panorama point in corwina park hike near denver

Panorama Point Trail in Corwina Park

If you are fond of panoramic views, then the Panorama Point Trail in Corwina Park is what you may be looking for. At the top of this trail you will find a beautiful view that looks out to the mountains and the plains. This medium-difficulty hike also lets you hike along a babbling brook. Check out our snapshot below for a trail map, driving directions to the trailhead and more details.

Trail Snapshot: Panorama Point Trail in Corwina Park

Corwina Park has two different trailheads, an east parking lot and a west lot (I don't believe they are named this way--it's just the geographic location). Hiking from the west lot (second lot you come to driving from Morrison/Denver), provides the shortest hiking route. The trail here follows a seasonal brook; its sounds and the shade from the trees make this a pleasant approach to Panorama Point.

panorama point trail corwina park flower

Tips & Resources for Hiking Panorama Point Trail in Corwina Park:

wood bridge over creek in castlewood canyon state park hikes near denver

Castlewood Canyon State Park Trails

Because Castlewood Canyon State Park is hidden in the plains--and not the mountains--near Denver, it's often an overlooked State park of Colorado. But, whether you're hiking or rock climbing it's a beautiful and geologically unusual place to explore. It boasts a waterfall, homestead ruins, a stream, caves and clefts, and a lot of fairly easy hikes. Below you'll find more information on how to get to the park, trail map links, and links to several hiking options in Castlewood Canyon.

Trail Snapshot: Castlewood Canyon State Park Trails

Not just a canyon, this Colorado State Park features ruins, a waterfall, and unusual geological formations. The park is riddled with 15 trails, ranging from 1/4 mile to 4 miles, so you have a lot of options. The Canyon View Nature Trail (1.2 miles) is a great example of a handicap accessible trail in Colorado. The East Parking (see map below) offers the most hiking options, while the West Parking area leads to shorter hikes to the Castlewood Canyon climbing areas and the longest (4 mile) East Canyon Trail.

Some Trails In Castlewood Canyon

  1. Waterfall Hike at Castlewood Canyon State Park

  2. - This may be the most accessible waterfall near Denver. A short .17 mile hike from the trailhead. Click on the red link above to go to the waterfall hike trail profile page.

  3. Cliff & Climbers Trail at Castlewood Canyon State Park

  4. - A short but more demanding hike in Castlewood Canyon where you can explore the crags along the cliffs of the park.

  5. Homestead Trail at Castlewood Canyon State Park

  6. - an easy to medium hike at the west park entrance. Check out the hiking profile to see how to turn this .7 mile trail into a 2 or 4 mile loop hike.

  7. Cave Trail at Castlewood Canyon State Park

  8. - only a quarter mile round trip up to a small cave in the west side of Castlewood Canyon State park.

  9. Canyon View Nature Trail at Castlewood Canyon State Park

  10. - 2.4 mile round trip hike with interpretive signs that takes you along the rim of Castlewood Canyon. One of the best handicap accessible trails near Denver.

Tips & Resources for Hiking Castlewood Canyon State Park Trails:

  • TIP: Castlewood Canyon offers some shade, but you are often in the sun. So, bring your sunscreen and apply it liberally.
  • TIP: We would also suggest an early morning or sunset hike as these are the best times to observe wildlife.
  • TIP: Though it's not the largest of Colorado waterfalls, you'll still hear it before you see it. The waterfall is accessed from Creek Bottom Trail on the West Side of the park.
  • TIP: Pets are allowed on a leash but there are some specific trail restrictions, so make sure to read the signs. Enjoy this wonderful hike in the grasslands of Douglas County, Colorado.
  • Trail Map: Castlewood Canyon State Park Trails
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: Crowfoot Valley Coffee
  • Weather

    Map & Driving Directions


    Click for Driving Directions

    baby mountain goat on mount evans colorado more easy hikes