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


bridal veil falls in rocky mountain national park

Bridal Veil Falls Hike at Rocky Mountain National Park

Atwenty foot waterfall hidden away in the northern reaches of Rocky Mountain National Park, Bridal Veil Falls makes for a great destination hike. Keep your eyes out for Elk in the meadows along this hiking trail in Colorado's favorite National Park. Get the hike information you need with our hiking snapshot for Bridal Veil Falls, and get more details by exploring the details and tips below.

Trail Snapshot: Bridal Veil Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Bridal Veil Falls is a gem tucked away in the northern reaches of Rocky Mountain National Park. This hike is about 1hr 45 minutes from the Denver area and features expansive meadows, wildflowers, forest, and a little bit of a rock scramble. Bridal Veil Falls launches from a rock slab at a diagonal, making it a beautiful site. Most visitors to the National Park go to the center of the park, so you may find yourself alone on the trail on a weekday. I wouldn't expect that on the weekend though.

trail to bridal veil falls in rocky mountain national park

Like most areas in the park, the wildlife is abundant. We often joke, calling it the zoo. Elk and deer, as well as eagles and other raptors can be seen along Cow Creek trail. The trail to Bridal Veil Falls begins at the Cow Creek Trailhead. You'll pass through meadows and see the cascades along Cow Creek. Eventually, you'll hike up in the forest, getting a bit of a break from the sun. Before the waterfall, you'll encounter some rocks to hike and scramble over, making this a more moderate hike.

bridal veil falls in rocky mountain national park
Thanks to Catherine Kunst for the photos on this profile. You can read Catherine's trip report at her site here. and to John Kalla for his photo of the falls at the top of this post.

ouzel falls waterfall in rocky mountain national park wild basin hike with text overlay explore more hikes in rocky mountain national park

Tips & Resources for Hiking Bridal Veil Falls:

  • A Great View: Cross the stream then work your way up the area just left of the falls to the stream above. It's beautiful above the falls, just take care not to turn it into a rock climb. Remember that Water + Rock = Slippery.
  • Parking is a Limited: It's just a small area along the road near the ranch. You'll need to parallel park. Also, get their early for a space.
  • Not Much Shade: Bring the sunscreen. You'll be in the sun a lot along Cow Creek Trail.
  • RMNP Park Map: Trail Map Link
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: After the Hike: Poppy's Pizza

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elk bedded down in tall grasses of moraine park in rocky mountain national park hike with text overlay explore more hikes in rocky mountain national park


meyer ranch open space hikes header

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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lakes loop trail rocky mountain arsenal hike with sunrise on tree beside lake with snowcovered grasses

Lakes Loop Trail at Rocky Mountain Arsenal

An arsenal turned into a Wildlife Refuge. What a great idea! The refuge boasts over 15,000 acres and over 300 species of wildlife. It also hosts three lakes and Denver lake hikes. The Lakes Loop Trail at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge is a 1.7 mile loop that winds along the shores of two lakes in the park, Lake Mary and Lake Ladora. Explore the full trail profile for all the details: hiking trails, trail map, and detailed directions to the trailhead.

Trail Snapshot: Lakes Loop Trail at Rocky Mountain Arsenal

How to Hike the Loop: Check in and begin your hike at the visitors center. Follow the Lake Mary Trail along the northwest of the lake until it merges with the the Prairie Trail. Follow the Prairie Trail to the south until it merges with the Ladora Trail which will take you back to the visitors center and along the shore of Lake Ladora.

Tips & Resources for Hiking Lakes Loop Trail at Rocky Mountain Arsenal :

  • TIP: Hiking and site seeing are open 7 days a week. However, the visitors center is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and pets are prohibited (makes sense - it's a wildlife refuge).
  • TIP: Trolley Tours are available on the weekends. Check out this tours link or call 303/289-0250.
  • Trail Map for Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge: Trail Map Link
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: Butcher Block Cafe
  • Photo: We would like to express our gratitude to Ray Fetherman for sharing such a beautiful photograph of this hike.

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red rock formations with pine tree in foreground above fountain valley trail in roxborough state park near denver

Fountain Valley Trail at Roxborough State Park

The Fountain Valley trail in Colorado's Roxborough State Park is the Garden of the God's of Denver. It's more secluded than Red Rocks park, and features several trails that take you beyond the park boundaries and into the foothills. The Fountain Valley Trail is a perfect place to start because it features the best part of the park, it's towering slabs of red rock. Explore the hiking profile below for all the trail details, trail map link, and driving directions to the trailhead for this easy Colorado hike.

Trail Snapshot: Fountain Valley Trail at Roxborough State Park

Roxborough State Park is Denver's twin sister of Garden of the God's in Colorado Springs. The beautiful Lyons and Fountain formations climb from the valley floor and create a wonderful space for a quiet hike, birdwatching, and viewing wildlife.

The trail is a loop. You can start on the valley floor, then work your way up to the high trail that looks down and across the fountain formation (photo above was taken from around the midpoint of the high trail). On our visit we encountered several whitetail deer and a variety of birds flitting about in the scrub oak that grows in the valley. The initial part of the trail are handicap accessible, but the trail soon becomes a more narrow dirt trail.

There are some ruins of an old estate along the trail and interpretive signs telling about the history of the valley. We would recommend this trail for families with small children and especially for folks visiting Denver and looking for something fun to do. The low elevation is great for out of towners who may not have the time or capacity to get up into the mountains. Dogs are not permitted, so be sure to leave fido at home. Because this trail is in Roxborough State Park, a fee or Colorado state parks pass is required. See the Roxborough State Park Fees page for details.

Tips & Resources for Hiking Fountain Valley Trail at Roxborough State Park :

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


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 enchanting during the early morning hours and at twilight.. Explore the full hiking profile below for full trail details, driving directions and more.

Trail Snapshot: South Valley Park Trails

Red Rock towers along the eastern wall of South Valley Park and the foothills begin to the west. Almost 1000 acres of meadow and rock offer a near perfect escape from the sounds of the city. The time lapse below shows a great example of a South Valley Park sunrise.

south valley park trails coyote song trailhead

6 Trails wind through the park. The best place to start is with the South Valley Park Coyote Song Trail. It's a an out an back trail that takes you right through the main meadow. It also connects with the Swallow Trail to form a loop, making your hike about 1.8 miles. The Lyons Back Trail takes you from the Coyote Song Trail and up over the red rock where you can hike trails developed by the Ken-Caryl Ranch foundation.

Tips & Resources for Hiking South Valley Park Trails :

  • Don't miss the Coyote Song Trail: The sunsets are wonderful and the park tends to be quiet in the evenings. The Coyote Song Trail is a great way to begin or wind down the day.
  • TIP: The Parking area on our map link is the larger of the two. However, you can also begin at the south lot off of Deer Creek Canyon Road. Click here for directions. This gives you a closer connection to the Elk Grazing Trail (seasonal) area and Deer Creek Canyon Park.
  • TIP: The red rock calls to be climbed, but climbing is prohibited in this park.
  • South Valley Park Trail Map: Trail Map Link
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: Atlas Coffee in Littleton

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