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The 10 Most Beautiful State Parks To Enjoy A Hike Near Denver

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The 10 Most Beautiful State Parks To Enjoy A Hike Near Denver

Perfect for a weekend hike!

If you’re living in Denver, chances are you really enjoy the great outdoors. The Mile High City is known for being a nature-y city, and it’s no wonder. Colorado is home to some of the most beautiful landmarks and state parks. We rounded up 10 of our favorite state parks that have a ton of hiking trails, wildlife, and flowers for you to enjoy while you trek. We hope you’ll find one of your new favorites here.

1. Flatirons

The Flatirons, near Boulder, are beautiful and unique for the way that they’re formed. Flatirons are steep and sloping triangular rock formations created by a particular type of erosion. Across the park, there are five, large Flatirons ranging from north to south and one of the more common hikes is between the first and second Flatirons for some amazing views of Colorado from up above. The trail is approximately 2.6 miles round trip, lasts two hours, and is relatively moderate.

2. Horsetooth Reservoir

Horsetooth Reservoir is the perfect place to spend a day fishing, boating, camping, swimming, rock climbing, and hiking. Surrounded by 1,900 acres of public land, there’s a lot of fun to be had here and it’s open year-round. Horsetooth, located near Fort Collins, can be access through the Shoreline Trail, which is just over 2 miles. There’s also Horsetooth Falls, though this trail is longer and much more heavily trafficked. Don’t forget that the Resevoir itself requires an entrance pass and there are oftentimes parking fees associated with the trails. You can check out more information on the Fort Collins official website.

3. Chimney Gulch

Chimney Gulch Trail is a popular back trail near Golden, Colorado that features beautiful wildflowers along it. A moderate trail that runs 10.5 kilometers long, it serves as the perfect year-round exercise hike. Though fairly steep, this trail is well-worth it for the stunning views at the top. You can get there via 6th Ave. but here’s a map of the driving directions to ensure you get there as easily as possible.

4. Roxborough State Park

Roxborough State Park is a Colorado National Natural Landmark and is only a short drive from Denver near Littleton. This stunning state park features over 3,300-acres of floral and fauna as well as beautiful views of one of Colorado’s most iconic natural formations, the red-rock formatios like Lyons and Dakota Hogback. There are 6 moderate trails in Roxborough State Park, like the Fountain Valley Trail, Willow Creek Trail, South Rim Trail, and Elk Valley, which all have their own unique traits. While you’re hiking, keep your eyes peeled for foxes, golden eagles, and deers. Because of Colorado’s wintery season this year, we recommend keeping track of the official website to make note of which trails may be closed.

5. Nederland

Nederland is the perfect place for the hiker who loves a good lake, and we’re sure you’ve heard of Lost Lake Hike. It’s one of the most popular out of Nederland’s 29 unique hiking trails. Lost Lake, near Hessie Trail, comes to a beautiful lake and mountain viewpoint, the perfect reward for a strenuous hike. Nederland is also a historic mining town with a vibrant music scene and plenty of places to shop for knickknacks.

6. Mt. Falcon

Near Jefferson County is Mount Falcon Park, a beautiful state park perfect for summer mornings. There are 12 moderate trails in Mount Falcon Park ranging from 3.9 to 20.8 km and from 1,836 to 2,392 meters above sea level. One of the most popular is the Upper Loop, an over 6 mile trail that features beautiful wild flowers and stunning mountain views. Or check out the Castle & Tower Hike, where you can hike to some old castle ruins in an easy trail that runs about 2.3 miles and also has panoramic views of Denver.

7. Devil’s Head

Hiking up Devil’s Head Lookout trail is a staple for any Denverite. Just about an hour from the city is a hike that rewards you for your efforts with a 360 degree panorama of mountains as far as the eye can see. The trail is moderate difficult, lasts a little over 2 hours, and is 2.8 miles round trip. Once you hit the look out point, you will climb the last hurdle-many, many flights of stairs, and then you have the whole top of the mountain to yourself. Unfortunately, Devil’s Head Lookout Trail was closed for the majority of 2020 due to safety concerns, and continues to be, but keep track of the website to see when, and if, it reopens.

8. Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Golden Gate State Park has a variety of trails like Beaver Trail, Black Bear Trail, Buffalo Trail, and Coyote Trail. With the exception of Black Bear’s high difficulty, most of these trails are moderately ranked. Be aware that there’s no cellphone service in the state park. Check out the official website here for any further details about the trails or other activities.

9. Elk Falls at Staunton Park

 

Staunton State Park recently finished construction on 1.9 miles of new trails, one of which leads hikers to Elk Falls, and who doesn’t like a hike that leads to a waterfall at the end? Thanks to the newly constructed Chimney Rock and Elk Falls Trails, you can now experience the waterfall in an entirely new way. The trail is roughly 12 miles round trip so start early and pack smartly. We think that the 75 foot tall waterfall at the end will be well worth it.

10. The Bluff’s Loop

courtesy of olarissa via Instagram

Bluff’s Loop Trail is a 4.7 km loop trail located near Steamboat Springs, Colorado that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. It’s close enough to Denver to reach and is also close to Highlands Ranch. Oftentimes, the trail is in the sun so take that into consideration before heading out, and make way for bikers, who have claimed this is the perfect trail for mountain biking.