Denver is one of the fastest growing cities in the US making it one of the best places to live for young professionals, and there are a lot of reasons for that. One of them is the close proximity to tons of amazing natural features. In fact, Denver’s outdoor recreation contributes significantly to the Colorado economy. What this means for outdoor enthusiasts is easy access to the beautiful wild of Colorado. So we wanted to give you the best hikes 30 minutes from Denver that you can enjoy any time, solo or with friends.
The city really attracts people who want to hike and camp in the summer, and then have the option to hit the snowy slopes in the winter months. However, many people think that living in Denver requires a major journey just to get to any sort of mountain experiences. Actually, there are a ton of hiking options very close to Denver, and we’ve tried to narrow it down to our five favorite hikes that are less than 30 minutes from the city.
Be sure you have the right gear and always plan ahead before you hike! Here are some useful tips to consider when you opt in to the greater outdoors.
Best Day Hikes from Denver
There are a lot of wonderful day hikes nearby Denver. There are several factors to consider before selecting your destination though, and it’s always important to gather as many details before embarking on these trails. Some things to keep in mind, include:
Skill Level Required
Length of Hike
Costs and Parking Fees (Avoid tickets!)
Incline / Descent for Hike
Luckily, most of the hikes 30 minutes from Denver are fairly easy. They offer stunning landscapes and visible trails. Some are dog-friendly (please always clean-up) and others are can be used for a combination of mountain biking, trail running, and other activities. Be sure you understand the rules and etiquette of the hiking trails, these can prove useful for newcomers. Onward to the best hikes 30 minutes from Denver!
Pro Tip: Use apps like AllTrails or Map My Hike for specific information on trails, recommendations, and scenery.
The state of Colorado is full of incredible beauty, and one of the nicest treasures is right next to Denver itself. This is, of course, Red Rocks Park, and it’s a great place to start off our list. It only takes about 25 minutes to drive there, and there are multiple different hikes you can do when you arrive. One of the best walks is the Red Rocks Trail which is a 6 mile round trip, and it’s a mid-level difficulty. It will give you some nice views of the rocks, and it’s a really great idea to go at sunrise or sunset to experience the amazing colors.
There are a lot of nice areas near Golden, CO, and this five-mile loop up Mount Galbraith is one of the best. It’s more of an intermediate hike, but it’s still easy enough that a lot of beginners will do just fine. Plus, you won’t get bored with the views. Not only does the trail take you by two different canyons, you also get some nice angles of the city of Golden.
This is among the list of easy hikes 30 minutes from Denver. The whole loop is under 3 miles. Also, it’s near I-25 south of Denver, so it isn’t difficult to get to no matter where you’re coming from. But, the simplicity of the hike doesn’t mean it’s boring. Also, its location gives it views of both the mountains and the city.
If you’re feeling up for a little bit more of a challenge, why don’t you bring your jogging shoes and make this one into a trail run? It sure beats the treadmill at the gym!
The Flatirons next to Boulder are some of the most iconic mountains in Colorado, and it’s a crime to not go hiking around them. This trail even has two different loops (about 2 and 3 miles) in case you’re short on time, and they’re quite easy ones. Once you go and fall in love with the view, you’re sure to head back for some of the other trails around.
This was originally built in the 1940s as a facility to make chemical weapons, but times change and it’s now called the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. More than 330 species of animals live in the area, and there are even three lakes to help keep them happy. There’s a two-mile loop through the preserve that’s an easy one, but leave your dog at home because they’re not permitted inside.
Another one of the best day hikes from Denver includes Maxwell Falls. This more popular trail attracts many Denver residence as it features a spectacular waterfall. It’s also tucked away in the Arapahoe National Forest near the town of Evergreen, CO. As a disclaimer, this hike is a little outside the 30 minute radius, but it’s one you won’t want miss. Located just 42 minutes from downtown Denver, this hike offers some steeper climbs in combination with easygoing trails. There are large boulders to scale and the waterfall is just the cherry on the top. This trail allows dogs on leash, camping, horseback riding, and mountain biking— be sure to keep right for passing traffic.
This section isn’t meant to scare you, but just in case you’re new to hiking or Colorado, here are some of the most common safety issues to keep in mind. It’s best to bring some friends with you, but also tell someone where you’re going and when you plan to be back. That’s your insurance that someone will come for you if anything goes wrong.
Check the weather forecast beforehand, but make sure to bring layers preparing for a lot of different temperatures. The mountains are famous for fast and extreme weather transitions, and you don’t want to be caught unprepared. Also, one big thing to be aware of is lighting. Afternoon thunderstorms move quickly, and you don’t want to be exposed if electricity starts shooting through the sky.
Bring (and wear) sunscreen, and drink lots of water. The sun is stronger and dehydration comes faster at high altitudes. That being said, be aware of having less energy and more headaches due to the lack of oxygen.
Watch out for animals, and make sure not to anger the dangerous ones or scare the cute critters!
What Did We Miss?
It’s impossible to take all the hiking choices near Denver and narrow them down to only five. Surely some of you will wonder why we didn’t include your favorites, but remember that it’s nothing personal! Let us know what other great ones should be included on this list!