Hiking Davis Ponds Hike at Staunton State Park

The Davis Ponds loop is a short and easy hike, perfect for young families. Davis Ponds is a great place to take your kids fishing near Denver. Explore the full trail profile below for all the details: hiking trails, trail map, and detailed directions to the trailhead.

Staunton State Park is one of Colorado's newest gems and located just 45 minutes from downtown Denver. It's a great park for outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. Staunton has some longer and more demanding trails, but this hike, the Davis Ponds Loop Trail, is a lighter option with some beautiful views to the mountains and the prominent Lions Head outcropping.

Trail Snapshot: Davis Ponds Loop at Staunton State Park

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The trail begins just to the north of the initial parking lot (pictured above). We hiked the trail clockwise, taking the trail to the left, but it can be hiked in either direction. The Davis Ponds trail is hiker-only, so you will not encounter any mountain bike or horse traffic, making this perfect for young kids. There is scattered shade as the trail winds in and out of meadows and pine forest. Deer make their way grazing near the trail and hummingbirds buzz by, finding nectar in the wildflowers growing out of the rocky soil.

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Before the ponds, there is a cut-through trail that can be used to shorten the hike by approximately 1/2 mile, but it's worth going all the way to Davis Ponds and to gain views to the west. The Davis Ponds were under construction and improvements while we were there, but they have now been finished and stocked with rainbow and cutthroat trout. If you are looking for a weekend destination near Denver to fish with your children, this may be one of the best.
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On the way back, the trail will merge again with the cut-through trail. The trail back to the trailhead bears left and slightly uphill.

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

Tips & Resources for Hiking the Davis Ponds Loop :

  • TIP: Getting into the park can be slow at times, so be prepared to wait at the entrance on busy weekends.
  • Wildlife: You'll find that deer are out grazing in the early morning and closer to twilight.
  • Winter: During the Winter, park hours are 8am - 7pm.
  • Trail Map for Staunton State Park: Trail Map Link
  • Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get list and dayhiking packing checklist.
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: Crow Hill Cafe in Bailey

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Georgetown Railroad Hike & Train Ride

After the hike, I asked our 7 year-old daughter what she thought of it. Her reply said it all, “Dad, it was awesome!” Here favorite parts were the fairy pond, a small, moss-rimmed pool probably created by miners long ago to hold drinking water, and the gleaming minerals in the rocks she picked up along the trail. I enjoyed the history and stories told by our guide, Kelsey, who had a particular love for the town and people of Georgetown and Silver Plume. This not your typical Dayhike Near Denver because it's actually a guided historic tour meets hike, plus a train ride on a vintage train back to the trailhead. Read below for all the details for this reservation-required hiking tour.

Trail Snapshot: Georgetown Railroad Hike & Train Ride

The Georgetown Railroad hike is a one-of-a-kind guided hike through the clear creek valley, a landscape decorated by the rich history of the Colorado Gold Rush of 1859. If you take just a moment to scan the mountainsides along interstate 70, you'll notice the yellow-stained tailings of abandoned gold mines. This hike takes you right through the very heart of that forgotten territory. We got to take a sneak-peek of the trail before it opened, so I brought our 7 year old daughter with me for our date-night, and she loved it.

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The hike begins in Silver Plume, Colorado at the historical railroad station and museum. On the hike you'll have one to two guides who accompany your party. Groups are typically about 10 hikers. The hike begins on a nondescript gravel road, but soon enters an old, overgrown cemetery. From the graveyard, the trail descends into a healthy stand of lodgepole pines. We could see mist in the valley below, and the sound of the train in the distance. Though the sounds of interstate 70 are not far away, it's like stepping back in time. The hummingbirds zooming past us, and the rapids of Clear Creek below us brought the valley alive.

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The best sounds, however, came from the steam train in the valley below. Kids will love this. It's a unique experience to be on a hike, then to watch a train pass in front of you, below you, and even above you on the tracks. And it creates anticipation of the train ride back.

The hike itself is quite easy and could be done in about 45 minutes--if it was all about speed. But the destination for the Georgetown Railroad hike is the entire journey. Our tour guide pointed out old claim markers from the 1800's, the remains of mining equipment, barrels, and tin buckets tucked away in the woods. She told stories, and showed us things we would have missed just hiking through. At roughly halfway through the hike, you'll stop for lunch (lunch is provided) in a grove of aspens that has a great story of its own. Keep your eyes peeled for the foxes and deer that frequent this part of the valley floor.
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My daughter was captivated by the gleaming biotite and muscovite in the rocks alongside the trail. Our guide picked some special ones out for her to take home. After lunch, you'll hike by the Hall Tunnel, and the old Lebanon mine. Crossing the tracks, then following inactive segments, you'll make your way down into Georgetown. The trail leads under the the Devil's Gate High Bridge and ends at the Devil's Gate Station--named such because of the way the wind howls through this part of the valley.

Just when you think the fun is over, you get a 30-45 minute train ride back to your car in Silver Plume.

Tips & Resources for the Georgetown Railroad Hike & Train Ride:

  • Call Ahead to book Your Hiking Tour: 1-888-456-6777
  • Great for Kids: I would guess that the youngest age to take on this hike would be 6 years old, but it really depends on the child. Our daughter is pretty rough-and-tumble. The pace is right, and their are a lot of things to keep their attention.
  • Supervise Kids on the Tracks: Kids will want to run fast down the railroad tracks, but the ties prove to be pretty uneven ground. Our 7 year old daughter tripped and got a little scrape on her knee, but was fine. Your guide will give you safety tips, but they will also be very engaged in giving you the tour.
  • Restrooms: There are restrooms about 1/2 way through the hike at the Lebanon mine site.
  • It's a Hike: I'd classify this as an easy hike, but there are some segments where the trail is steep and runs through soft gravel, where it's easy to slip. While it's a guided tour, it's not a bike path--it's still a hike.
  • Footwear: Wear close-toed shoes. Boots are not necessary, but I'd recommend something that laces up.
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: The Alpine Restaurant & Bar in Georgetown

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Pine Valley Ranch Park Hike

Pine Valley Ranch Park has become one of our family's favorite parks near Denver. Pine Valley Ranch Park boasts several hikes, a beautiful lake, a lot of history, a small island with a gazebo, and the best picnic area on the Front Range of Colorado. If that's not enough, the North Fork of the Platte River runs through the park, lined with enormous spruce trees and granite cliffs. Explore the trail profile below for hiking options, trail map, driving directions and more.

Trail Snapshot: Pine Valley Ranch Park Trail

Hiking Options at Pine Valley Ranch Park

#1 - Park View Out-and-Back Hike - Approx. 2 Miles Round Trip

The Park View trail can be located on the other side of Pine Lake (not the far side). Take the narrow gauge trail across the bridge and you'll locate the trailhead just on the other side of a shelter that sits along Pine lake. The trail is moderate to strenuous and will take you up to some great views of the surrounding Pike National forest and the Platte River. You'll get views of the extensive Hayman Burn, the burn scars left from the 2000 fire.

#2 - Full Park View Loop - Approx. 2.5 Miles

If you would like to take a longer loop hike, take the Park view trail (.8 mile) up to the strawberry jack trail (.5), which will connect you to the Buck Gulch trail (.4) which will take you back down to Pine Lake. The Strawberry Jack trail will take you out into Pike National Forest. Be sure to have a map you--which you can pick up at the park--because a wrong turn onto the Buck Gulch Trail can take you far out of the way.

#3 - Pine Lake Loop Hike - Approx. .7 mile

You can take a leisurely hike around Pine Lake at Pine Valley Ranch. Go early (before 7:30AM) to catch site of the birds and wildlife around the lake.

#4 - Narrow Gauge Trail Hike - .5 to 3.8 miles

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This is the hike that our kids most enjoy. We like to hike the southeast segment that takes you along the North Fork of the South Platte River. There are willows to pass through, and probably some good trout fishing along the banks. The Narrow Gauge trail stretches about half a mile in this direction and is surrounded by granite cliffs, pine, and spruce.

If you hike the Narrow Gauge trail to the West, you'll follow the river past Pine lake for about 1.5 miles, then can hike it back.

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Pine Lake at Pine Valley Ranch Park

Pine Lake packs out with fisherman on the weekend but can be a great quiet escape on the weekdays, especially in the mornings and evenings. The lake has a fishing pier and a great shelter. In the winter months, there is ice fishing and skating. The shoreside shelter at Pine Lake has several picnic tables and a fireplace.

The Best Picnic Area Near Denver

pine valley ranch picnic area
As our family explores hikes and parks near Denver, we get to see a lot of picnic areas. See our Seven Great Picnic Areas Near Denver post. The picnic area at Pine Valley Ranch Park is hands down our favorite. A few reasons why: 1) It's along a river, 2) it's surrounded and shaded by enormous spruce trees, 3) has great facilities: two large covered shelters, and 4) there are a lot of activity options for families.

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

Tips & Resources for Hiking the Pine Valley Ranch Park:

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  • Gazebo: There are some hidden treasures at Pine Valley Ranch. One you can't miss is the gazebo. Behind the large picnic shelters you'll find a small trail that leads to a bridge. The bridge leads to an small island in the Platte River and a beautiful old gazebo. The island is man-made and was created to contain the domesticated goats that used to roam the ranch.
  • River's edge: The Platte river can swell and be quite dangerous, especially in the Spring and after heavy rains, so keep a close eye on children along the river's edge.
  • Eagles: Keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles and osprey
  • Use sunscreen: Though there are a lot of trees, like most Colorado hikes, most areas are exposed to the sun, so hike early and use sunscreen.
  • Handicap accessibility: This would be a great place for family with physical limitations or who are wheelchair bound. I should point out that the park is not built around handicap accessibility, but we saw several people fishing from wheelchairs along the lake, and there is a lot of beauty to take in without having to go far or negotiate obstacles.
  • Historical significance: Pine Valley Ranch is replete with historical significance. The best place to start is to take a tour of Baehrden Lodge, a 27 room estate perched over the top of Pine Valley Ranch Park that is now in the care of Jefferson County Parks.
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  • Carved initials: Look for initials carved into trees a long the paths of Pine Valley Ranch. These go back many decades to when Pine Valley Ranch was a resort and folks would take the train from Denver to escape into the mountains.
  • Dr. Robert Dudley: We want to express our gratitude to Dr. Robert Dudley, who in the 1970's kept the park from being parceled out to the highest bidder, and to the Jefferson County Parks staff for the care they give to keep Pine Valley Ranch Park available to the public.
  • After the Hike: Aspen Perk Cafe
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • Trail Map for Pine Valley Ranch Park: Trail Map Link

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enchanted mesa hike in boulders chautauqua park

Enchanted Mesa Trail Near Boulder, Colorado

Boulder's Chautauqua park boasts some of the best hiking in Colorado, especially if you are looking for accessibility--many of the trailheads are right in town. The Enchanted Mesa trail lives up to its name. The dense pine forest and the wide curving path looks like something out of a fairy tale. It's a fairly easy hike, with a surprising amount of shade, great views of the Flatirons, and close to Denver. Before you launch out to explore Enchanted Mesa, be sure to check out our detailed description of the hike, the Chautauqua Park trail map, and our hiking tips for this great Boulder Hike.

Trail Snapshot: Enchanted Mesa Trail - Chautauqua Park

Enchanted Mesa Boulder Colorado

Start your hike at parking lot near the Chautauqua Auditorium Trailhead. There is limited parking at the trailhead picnic shelter, but you can find more space around the auditorium and in side streets. Keep in mind that parking in the Chautauqua park area fills up fast.

Enchanted Mesa Boulder Colorado Header Trailhead Parking

There are a few options you can consider before starting the hike.

1# Enchanted Mesa - McClintock Loop - 1.4 mile loop

Your first possibility is to hike the trail clockwise by taking the Enchanted Mesa trail out, then returning on the McClintock trail, making it into a loop. You'll head out on the wide path of the Enchanted Mesa Trail which leads you gradually uphill, across a stone bridge, and onto the Mesa. Once you get on the Mesa, walk into a pine forest. The trees get thicker and taller as you go until you feel like you have walked into an enchanted forest. My kids, who are six and 3, hiked this early one Saturday in April (you'll see our muddy shoes at the end of the post), when snow still covered parts of the trail and the city was still asleep. It did feel like stepping, just for a moment, into another world.

Enchanted Mesa Boulder Colorado Forest

When you get to where the Enchanted Mesa Trail intersects with the McClintock trail, turn right and take the the McClintock Trail. Because it's so narrow, this part of the trail doesn’t allow dogs. The return trail at least one steep section, but you'll find stairs cut into the hillside to help you on your way. The Mclintock trail was very muddy coming down, so we expect this trail to be muddy in the warmer days of winter, a lot of spring, and after the Summer rains. We've got a great tip below to help you with that.

Enchanted Mesa Boulder Colorado go down not up

About halfway back along the McClintock trail, you’ll encounter an intersection where a rough set of steps lead up to the right, and on your left, you’ll see the path leading back down toward the creek valley. Go left/down (see the photo) to stay on the McClintock trail. On the way down, you will see the flood damage in the ravine caused by the 2013 flood.

2# - McClintock to Enchanted Mesa - Loop - 1.4 mile loop

This is simply hiking the same loop, but counter-clockwise. The benefit to this is that you get better views of the Flatirons hiking West on the McClintock trail. The McClintock Trailhead starts right from the picnic pavilion behind the Chautauqua Amphitheater. It is 0.7 miles long and ascends 335 feet to where it ties in with Enchanted Mesa.

Wood Quarry Hike

#3 - Enchanted Mesa + Quarry Loop - 1.8 miles

Quarry Loop is beautiful little jaunt off of the top of the Enchanted Mesa trail. If you wish to add 0.4 mile to your hike and enjoy the more of the mesa forest, follow either of the directions above, and look for the Quarry loop near the intersection of the two main trails. This turns your hike into a figure-eight. You will head uphill until you see an old stone cabin. When you get to the cabin, turn right and enter the short and steep stair-step climb to the quarry. When you get on the top you can relax in the hand-crafted chairs and take in the scenery of Chautauqua park.

Enchanted Mesa Boulder Colorado Woods Quarry trail

If you add the Kohler Mesa trail to option #3 you can make your hike close to 2 miles long, giving you the chance to explore even more of the mesa.

This is a great hike any time of year, but is especially great in the Spring. We always find the people of Boulder very friendly, so expect good company. People will be out with their dogs, trail running, and talking with friends. Particularly in the early hours of the morning, it's idyllic.

Tips & Hiking the Enchanted Mesa Trail:

  • It Can Be Muddy: Bring an extra pair of shoes or sandals, so that you’re not getting mud all over the floor of your car. There are bags at the trailhead for disposal of dog poop. Our kids shoes were covered with mud, and we used the bags to keep from getting mud all over the back of the car. An even better solution would be to bring plastic shopping bags with you.
  • Dog Restriction: Dogs are not allowed on the Lower & Upper McClintock Trail. So, you'll have to return on the Enchanted Mesa trail with Fido, or check the map for other options.
  • No Bikes: Bicycles are prohibited on the trails in the Chautauqua area.
  • Bring a picnic or a snack: There are some great picnic spots along the Enchanted Mesa hike.
  • Trail Map for Chautauqua Park: Trail Map Link
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: Lollicup Boulder Coffe&Tea

Enchanted Mesa Boulder Colorado muddy shoes

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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:

Railroad Culvert - Lee Gulch Trail

4 Great Stroller Hikes Near Denver


Our children are not big enough to hike long distances yet. So, we usually we put the kiddos in child carrier backpacks. When we can though, we try to break out the Bob Stroller and hit a local trail. Here are 4 trails close to Denver that work great with a stroller.

Criteria for these Denver Area Stroller Hikes

  • Crushed Gravel or Paved Trail
  • Great Views or Natural Features
  • Accessibility

Click on the Maroon Links to get directions, trail maps, and hiking profiles.

#1 The Bluffs Loop South of Denver

Bluffs Regional ParkThis 2.7 mile loop trail is one of our favorites, and probably is the hike we do the most. The Bluffs provide panoramic views of Colorado's Front Rang and of downtown Denver. We try to go around 7pm when the sun is setting. You're likely to see deer and meadowlarks along the trail. Right now, we just hike it, but other will use this as a challenging run with the stroller.

#2 Bear Creek Trail at Lair O' The Bear Park

Lair of the Bear Trail


This 1.7 mile stretch of the Bear Creek Trail is accessed at Lair O' the Bear park. We've observed from our O'Fallon Park Hike that the trail stretches further west.We doubt that all 6.3 miles are stroller accessible, but there is definitely more to explore. The trail follows bear creek and goes in and out of the trees, so you get a bit of shade. Be alert for mountain bikes as it's one of the more popular mountain biking trails near Denver.

#3 Fountain Trail at Roxborough State Park

Roxborough State Park - Fountain Valley Trail This trail is not paved but all 2.7 miles are considered handicap accessible, so it makes for a great hike with your stroller. Of the four hikes, this is the most beautiful. It's also great for birdwatching as well as giving the kids a chance to see deer, as they are used to the human traffic in the park.

#4 Clear Creek Trail in Golden

Clear Creek Trail in Golden Colorado We'll admit that this last one isn't that much of a "real hike." But it makes for a great lazy weekend morning. The trail runs along Clear Creek and there is always something to entertain: swallows playing under the bridge, kayakers and water rescue training, and the summer farmers market. We love to take a picnic, and throw a blanket down in Parfet Park or grab coffee at the Windy Saddle Cafe which has a great little play room for the kids.

Disclaimer: These hikes are for strollers that are designed for jogging and trails. The Clear Creek trail is paved and would be great for almost any stroller.


elk meadow park south loop header

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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view from daniels park bluff toward front range mountains on hike near denver

Daniel's Park Hikes

Best sunsets in Denver! You can see mountains upon mountains of Colorado's Front Range. Take a picnic dinner and pull off at one of the many picnic areas along Daniels Park Road. There are several hiking options detailed below for Daniel's park. To get all the details, scroll down and explore the trail snapshot, profile, and tips below.

Trail Snapshot: Daniel's Park Hike

We are featuring Daniel's Park ,not for it's trails, but because it has one of the best views of the Front Range near Denver. From the park, you can see Pikes Peak in the South, Mt. Evans in the West, and Longs Peak in the North. The trails are not handicap accessible, but the shelter house is (after a bit of a bump trail), and is a perfect place to watch the sun set.

Here is the lowdown on the trails at Daniel's Park: They are undeveloped. The park has been around for nearly 100 years but has somehow escaped being developed. However, it's close to south Denver and has some great features, so we've come up with a few different hiking options below.

The Short Daniel's Park Hike - Park at the Shelter House and begin walking north through the undeveloped trails along the top of the bluff. We like to take a picnic dinner up here and a lot of folks bring firewood and enjoy the sunset by the fire. There are about a quarter mile of trails that weave through the rock and back out towards the road.

3 Mile Daniel's Park Hike - Again, start at the Shelter House and head North following the top of the bluff as it parallels the road. You can extend your hike by hiking North along the road until it intersects with Grigs Road - About 1.5 Miles. Hike back to Daniel's Park Shelter House for a 3 Mile round trip hike.

5.4 Mile Daniel's Park Hike - Continue the 1.5 mile hike by taking a left onto Grigs road. Cross to the Northeast side of the Grigs, then shortly after you cross, you'll come upon a green fence and the Douglas County East/West Trail. Your can take that trail West (left) to the Grigs Road Trailhead, adding an additional 1.2 miles to your hike (5.4 Miles Round Trip). Click Here for a Google Map that traces the route along Daniel's Park and Grigs Road.

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Douglas County plans to build this East/West trail into a 26 mile system linking Chatfield Reservoir to the town of Parker, Colorado. Click here for the map of the East/West Trail and proposed trails in Douglas County. Denver Mountain Parks and Douglas County have developed a master plan to improve both the park and the roads in the area. You can find an overview at the Douglas County Park site.

Tips & Resources for Visiting Daniel's Park:

  • TIP: Keep an eye on the skies - Douglas County has one of the highest lightning strike rates in the country and Daniel's Park is one of the higher points.
  • TIP: Bison Viewing - The Bison can be found in an enclosed pasture on both sides of the road.However, the Bison are usually found grazing in the section of the park that is directly across the street from the shelter house.
  • Trail Map for Daniel's Park: Trail Map Link
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions

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evergreen lake trail header

Evergreen Lake Trail

This Colorado hike (more of a stroll) is a perfect way to spend a Saturday morning. You can rent canoes and sailboats from the nature center and warming house. In the winter, the Evergreen Lake transforms into an ice skating wonderland. Explore this hike profile for all the details.

Trail Snapshot: Evergreen Lake Trail

The Hike: Evergreen Lake Trail:

Evergreen Lake Trail is a 1.3 mile loop in the quaint mountain town of Evergreen, Colorado. If you have a young family like us, and are looking for an easy hike near Denver, this is a great choice.

From the Evergreen Lake house, the trail winds along a boardwalk, through a wetlands area, then towards town. If you are going this way (clockwise) around the lake, be sure to take the high path when you come to where the trail splits. The lower path is more of a fishing trail that soon becomes difficult to navigate. You can take the high path into town or over the dam and to the backside of the lake.

Along the back side of Evergreen Lake stands the old Warming House and Nature Center, operated by the Evergreen Audubon Society. Be sure to check their site for their seasonal hours. At the boathouse, the Evergreen Park & Recreation District operates boat rental and concessions. Their hours are seasonal as well. You can visit Evergreen Parks & Rec. boating page for rental info and hours. In the Winter, the lake transforms into an ice skating wonderland that rivals New York's Rockefeller Square. Skate rental and admission fees can be found on the Hockey and Skating page on the Evergreen Parks District Site.

Tips & Resources for Hiking Evergreen Lake Trail :

  • TIP: Like we mentioned above, take the high path along the road when walking clockwise around the lake.
  • TIP: Make it a day. There are several hikes near Evergreen to enjoy. As well, the lake is very accessible from town, so you can walk in, enjoy lunch or coffee, then hike back out.
  • TIP: Listen for Elk in the Fall: On our most recent trip to Evergreen Lake, a bull elk was bugling. So, if you just don't have time to make it up to Estes Park, this is a great backup.
  • Trail Map for Evergreen Lake Trail: Trail Map Link
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: Beau Jo’s Pizza

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Forest and Meadow Loop at Lookout Mountain Nature Center

Meadow & Forest Loop Trails at Lookout Mountain Nature Center

If you are looking for a family hike near Denver, this is a perfect trail, especially if you are getting started hiking with your kids in Colorado and want to guarantee a good experience. It's short, there's wildlife, and the Lookout Mountain Nature Center. Take a picnic lunch, just watch out for the squirrels; they'll run of with your dessert if you don't watch them closely. Explore the full Meadow & Forest Loop Trails hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more tips and details to help you enjoy this family adventure.

Trail Snapshot: Meadow & Forest Loop Trails at Lookout Mountain Nature Center

Lookout Mountain Nature Center has 2 short loop hikes. If you have young children, this is a perfect trip. The trails at Lookout Mountain are short loops: 1- The Meadow Loop (.8 mile) & 2 - Forest Loop Trail (.6 mile). If you are looking for a longer hike, you can cross the street and take the Lookout Mountain Trail which connects to several other Jefferson County Parks and trails.

The nature center is a great place for your kids to learn about Colorado wildlife. The playroom has texture sames of bark, fur, animal tracks, and the biggest box of stuffed animal puppets you'll ever see. The last time we visited, our daughter didn't want to leave. Take a lunch and have a picnic under the towering Ponderosa Pines. We encountered 2 deer with their fawns along the Forest Loop trail. The immediate area around the nature center is handicap accessible.

Tips & Resources for Hiking Meadow & Forest Loop Trails at Lookout Mountain Nature Center

  • TIP: If you take Lookout Mountain Road from Golden, it's a beautiful drive. However, on the weekends, this road has a ton of cycling traffic. So, plan for a slow drive.
  • TIP: Visit the Boettcher Mansion next door
  • Trail Map for Lookout Mountain Nature Center: Trail Map Link
  • Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get the list and dayhiking packing checklist.
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: Louis’ Cafe

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