Hiking in Denver
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Barr Lake State Park. The 9-mile, multi-use Lake Perimeter Trail at Barr Lake State Park (about 24 mi northeast of Denver) circles the lake and passes by several wildlife viewing stations and the park's wildlife refuge. More than 350 species of birds have been spotted in the park, including bald eagles. 13401 Picadilly Rd., Brighton, CO, 80603. Take U.S. 36 east about 20 mi., then take I-76 east for about 17 mi to the Bromley Ln. exit. Go east about 1 mi, then turn left onto Picadilly Rd. Go north on Picadilly Rd. 2.1 mi. The park entrance will be on your left. parks.state.co.us/Parks/barrlake. $7 for a day pass.
Mount Falcon Park. This park looks down on Denver and across at Red Rocks. It's amazingly tranquil, laced with meadows and streams, and shaded by conifers. The trails are well marked. Off Rte. 8, Morrison exit, or U.S. 285, Parmalee exit, Aurora, CO, 80465.
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. Fifteen miles southwest of Denver, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is a breathtaking, 70-million-year-old wonderland of vaulting oxblood-and-cinnamon-color sandstone spires. The outdoor music stage is in a natural 9,000-seat amphitheater (with perfect acoustics, as only nature could have designed). Just want a look? The 5-mile scenic drive offers a glorious glimpse of the 868 acres of sandstone, and there are picnic and parking areas along the way for photos and a rest. If you're feeling particularly spunky, follow the locals' lead and run the steps for a real workout. The Trading Post loop hiking trail, at 6,280 feet, is 1.4 mi long and quite narrow with drop-offs and steep grades. The trail closes one-half hour before sunset. The park is open from 5 am to 11 pm daily. 17598 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison, CO, 80465. I-70 west to Exit 259, turn left to park entrance. www.redrocksonline.com.
Roxborough State Park. This park has an easy 2-mi loop trail through rugged rock formations, offering striking vistas and a unique look at metro Denver and the plains. This trail is wheelchair accessible. I-25 south to Santa Fe exit, take Santa Fe Blvd. south to Titan Rd., turn right and follow signs, Littleton, CO, 80125.
Green Mountain. Green Mountain is the first named foothill as you head west from Denver toward the mountains. Part of Jefferson County Open Space and a piece of William Frederick Hayden Park (City of Lakewood), the easy, mostly exposed trail affords panoramic views of downtown Denver, Table Mesa, Pikes Peak, and the Continental Divide from the top (895 feet in elevation gain). You must share with bikers and dogs, as well as other critters. There are multiple trails from several trailheads, including a 6.4-mi loop and a 3.1-mi loop. Open 5 am to 10 pm daily. I-70 west to CO 470 to W. Alameda Pkwy., turn left to trailhead entrance, Lakewood, CO, 80465. www.lakewood.org.
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