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  • Writer's pictureJoanna Lee

Family Friendly Hikes Near Denver

Red Rocks & Morrison Slide

Length: 3 miles

Distance from Denver: 25 minutes

Red Rocks is an iconic location in Colorado that I highly recommend visiting. The Red Rocks Amphitheater is a concert venue that is built into the rocks making it a historic landmark. It attracts many well known performers each year because of the acoustics. If you are stopping to see the tourist attractions, which includes the amphitheater and a museum, you should add in a hike as well. Red Rocks & Morrison Slide is a 3 mile loop that has epic views of red rocks, stunning wildflowers in summer and a beautiful dusting of snow on the red rocks in the winter. There is some elevation gain spread out throughout the loop and a short rock scramble that is doable and fun for all members of the family.

Flatirons Vista

Length: 3.5 miles

Distance from Denver: 35 minutes

This hike is my most visited trail in Colorado. It is also one of my favorite locations to take visitors because it is close to Denver and Boulder and is an easy hike with minimal elevation gain. The views of the Flat Irons are vast and beautiful throughout the entire loop. It is accessible and hikable all year round; my favorite time is June when the wildflowers cover the meadows but winter is also beautiful when the Flat irons are covered in snow. The trailhead parking lot costs $5 per day if you don’t have an annual pass, which costs $25, or live in Boulder county. There is also a bathroom at the trailhead. I recommend going early in the morning or evening if you want to get a glimpse of wildlife, including cattle, deer, elk and coyotes.

Chautauqua Trail

Length: 1.2 miles

Distance from Denver: 35 minutes

The Flat Irons in Boulder are a unique sandstone formation that make up the recognizable portion of this Colorado city. The striking appearance makes them a popular place for both hiking and photography sessions. Chautauqua trail starts near downtown Boulder and is an out and back trail with amazing views the entire time. There are also many other trails in the area that are all connected which gives you many options to make your hike longer or more difficult.

Mount Falcon Castle and Tower Trail

Length: 2.4 miles

Distance from Denver: 40 minutes

Mount Falcon Park has a wide variety of trails to choose from, varying in length and difficulty. One of my favorites is Castle, Meadow and Tower Trail. Parking is free and there is a bathroom about 100 yards from the parking lot. It is a 2.4 mile loop that is a well-maintained dirt trail. Along the trail there are old castle ruins, a lookout point on top of Mount Falcon and an old cabin, transformed into a picnic area. You can do any of these points as an out and back, to shorten the distance, but the loop gives a nice variety of scenery.

North Table Mountain

Length: 3.2 miles

Distance from Denver: 30 minutes

North Table Mountain has an expansive network of well-maintained trails to choose from. There is parking on both sides of the mountain but I recommend parking on the west side, near Golden, where there is a free parking lot with bathrooms. My favorite route is Tilting Mesa to Mesa Top Loop, a 3 mile loop with some elevation gain throughout. After heading uphill on a gravel road you will find yourself on top of an unusually flat mountain, how it earned its name. Despite being 30 minutes from Denver, you will feel like you are on top of the world or on another planet. The views from here show the Denver skyline to the east and the mountains to the west.

Coyote Song

Length: 3.0 miles

Distance from Denver: 30 minutes

Coyote Song is a short drive from Denver but feels like you have been transported into another world with its desert-like landscape. There are multiple trailheads which all have free parking and bathrooms. The trail is a flat, dirt path that features stunning red rock formations. It is very unique for the area and feels like you are in Utah not Colorado. There are a few different trails to choose from, all branching off the main trail so you can pick your distance and decide if you want to do a loop or out-and-back.

Echo Lake Trail

Length: 1.5 miles

Distance from Denver: 55 minutes

The drive time to Echo Lake is longer, the views are absolutely worth it. From the parking area you can admire one of Colorado’s tallest mountains, Mount Evans. Mount Evans is 14,265 feet tall and is the most prominent peak in the area making it very majestic. This hike starts at 10,500 feet so while it is flat and well-maintained you should be aware of the effects altitude can have. The trail is split between following the outside of the lake and being in the forest, with plenty of opportunities to encounter wildlife. From this area you can also drive up the scenic road which reaches the summit of Mount Evans. This does require a reservation.

Panorama Point in Golden Gate State Park

Length: 4.7 miles

Distance from Denver: 50 minutes

Panorama Point is the most challenging family-friendly hike on this list because of the distance and incline. It is still accessible for the whole family and offers amazing views! Golden Gate State Park costs $10 per day, or you can purchase an annual State Park pass. The trail is well maintained with a clear path for the entire route. At the top you will see expansive views of the rocky mountains. My favorite time of year to hike here is in the fall because many sections of the trail are lined with beautiful golden aspen trees.

Lookout Mountain

Length: 2.9 miles

Distance from Denver: 35 minutes

Lookout Mountain is a ‘choose your own adventure’ outing. You can choose to hike or you can drive all the way to the top to enjoy the overlook views! If you choose to hike, the parking is very limited and will fill up quickly on the weekends. The trail is narrow and in the trees with a few steep switchbacks to start but leveling off the remainder of the hike. At the top there are bathrooms, a gift shop and a cafe which overlook panoramic views of Denver and the surrounding foothills.

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