Although the Mile High City may feel far from the mountains, there are plenty of amazing easy hikes near Denver. Each of these easy hiking trails near Denver offers up some of the best scenery within a 2-hour drive from downtown.
As an expert hiker, a full-time freelance writer for the outdoors, and a Colorado resident of over 11 years, I’m well-versed in hiking here in the Centennial State. There is an array of amazing hikes near Denver. I’ve assembled this locally-curated list of the best easy hikes near Denver for you to dive into.
About This Guide to Easiest Hikes Near Denver
There’s a lot of incredible beginner hikes near Denver. In order to sort out the best hikes, I’ve spent years wandering the local trails. The result is the ultimate guide to beginner hikes near Denver. In this guide we’ll cover:
- 19 of the top easy hikes near Denver
- Trail facts for each route including elevation gain, difficulty, mileage, estimated time, and any local tips.
- Tips for hiking in Colorado so you’re prepared for your first hike
- Things to pack for your hike
- Additional Colorado hiking resources
19 Easy Hikes Near Denver You’ve Got to Try
From towering red sandstone skyscrapers to sweeping views of the mighty Rocky Mountains, there’s plenty to see. These easy hikes near Denver each offer up something different in terms of landscape and scenery.
All of these hikes are suitable for beginners or make an awesome easy outing for seasoned hikers.
Beginner Golden, Colorado Hiking Trails
Just 30 minutes from Denver, you’ll find countless hiking trails in the foothills. Outside of Golden, Colorado you’ll find plenty of easy hikes near Denver. Most feature beautiful views of the foothills, flatlands, and steep canyons.
1. Colorow Mountain Forest and Meadow Loop
Hidden just west of Lookout Mountain, this is not only one of the easy hikes near Denver, but it’s also one of Denver’s least crowded hikes too. With this short lollipop loop you’ll be treated to beautiful views, bird watching, and plenty of fresh air.
Distance: 1.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 141 feet
2. Huntsman Gulch Trail in Clear Creek Canyon
Catch a bird’s eye view of one of Colorado’s best rock climbing areas with this gentle jaunt through Clear Creek Canyon. It’s short and often overlooked, but still offers up plenty of beauty. After you’re finished hiking, soak your feet in the cool waters of the creek.
Distance: 1.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 659 feet
3. North Table Mountain Via Rim Rock Loop
The moderate incline up to the top of North Table Mountain is realtively easy, although it’s not uncommon to feel a little breathless. If you don’t feel it on the incline, the view of Golden and the foothills will certainly take your breath away.
This is one of my favorite easy hikes near Denver, simply because it gets your heart pumping. Once you reach the top, it’s mostly flat, you can even cut out some of the loop if you’re feeling tired.
Distance: 8.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,125 feet
The Best Easy Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park
Just 2 hours from downtown Denver is one of the most magical landscapes on the planet.
All trails in the park are well maintained and marked, making it a great spot for beginners.
4. Dream Lake, Nymph Lake, Emerald Lake, and Lake Haiyaha
Arguably one of the best winter hikes in Colorado and one of the most scenic alpine lake hikes of all-time this trail wanders to four incredible alpine lakes. The dreamy scenery will keep you plodding uphill to reach Lake Haiyaha, a lofty alpine lake in a rocky cirque.
Local tip: This trail gets busy and the parking lot frequently fills up before 7 am. For the best views and quiet trails, catch this hike at sunrise.
Distance: 3.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 864
Dog Friendly?: No
5. Sprague Lake
What if I told you one of the easiest hikes near Denver is also one of the prettiest? For an ultra-easy outing that’s also accessible, head to Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. This is a great option for those with little kids who aren’t quite ready for a full-blown hike.
Distance: 0.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 32
Difficulty: very easy
Dog Friendly?: No
6. Glacier Gorge
One of the most classic things to do in Rocky Mountain National Park, Glacier Gorge offers up delightful mountain scenery, waterfalls, a steep gorge, and plenty of nearby hiking options. By far one of the best easy scenic hikes near Denver, you’ve got to put this one on your to-do list.
Elevation Gain: 403
Difficulty: easy with options ranging from moderate to difficult.
Dog Friendly?: No
The Top Easy Hikes Near Evergreen
Evergreen, Colorado brings the high alpine right to your hiking boots, without the grueling gain and thin air. Many of the best hikes in Evergreen have stunning views of the nearby Continental Divide. When it comes to easy hikes near Denver, these trails can’t be missed.
7. Elk Meadow Trail
Located right off of the main drag through Evergreen, the Elk Meadow Trail is one of the best easy hikes near Denver. Low time commitment means you can come here and hike in the morning, then check out an amazing nearby cafe for the afternoon. Save this open space park for late spring or early summer, where the hills are alive with beautiful greens and wildflowers.
Distance: 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 593 feet
8. The Brother’s Lookout and Sisters Loop
The Brother’s Lookout and Sister’s Loop is one of those iconic easy hikes near Denver. As you make your way towards the lookout you’ll be surrounded by lush pine forests and clusters of towering rocks. At the lookout, you can spot several of Colorado’s most famous 14ers and catch a glimpse of the Continental Divide.
Distance: 3.1 miles
Elevation Gain: 459 feet
9. Evergreen Mountain Trail
The Evergreen Mountain Trail is a quick butt-buster. Ideal for the newbie hiker looking to break into tougher terrain, this must-hike trail rewards your uphill efforts with beautiful mountain views.
Distance: 4.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 816 feet
10. Red Rocks Trading Post Trail
Okay, so this is technically Morrison, which is sandwiched between Golden and Evergreen, but the Red Rocks Trading Post Trail brings you to the heart of one of Colorado’s most famous landmarks. Nestled near Red Rocks Amphitheater, this trail meanders through a beautiful red rock garden.
Distance: 1.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 357 feet
Great Beginner Hikes Near Boulder
45 minutes outside of Denver you’ll find Boulder, Colorado. Home to world-class rock climbing, tons of ultra-athletes, and outdoor enthusiasts Boulder’s hiking scene has something for everyone.
11. Chautauqua Trail
Boulder’s most famous landmark is the mighty Flatirons. Stunning fins of rock erupting from the flats with majestic mountains in the background. The Chautauqua Trail gets you up close and personal with these mighty rock giants. There’s also plenty of other beginner hikes nearby like the Bluebella Mesa Trail, Ski Jump Train, and Baseline Trail.
Pro Tip: Since this trail is right in the heart of Boulder, it’s typically packed all day, every day. Get here EARLY to avoid the crowds. You’ll also have to pay for parking on weekends.
Distance: 1.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 419 feet
Dog-Friendly: Yes, leashed.
12. Fowler Trail
Eldorado Canyon State Park gives towering rock cliffs a whole new identity. These 600-plus-foot walls are enormous. With a roaring creak running through the park, it’s a beautiful place to enjoy some easy hikes near Denver.
Most of the trails here are pretty mellow, but my favorite is the Fowler Trail. Keep an eye out for rock climbers testing their skills on some of the most famous climbing routes in America.
Distance: 4.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 433 feet
Dog-Friendly: Yes, leashed.
13. Red Rocks Trail
You’ll find plenty of beautiful rock formations along this lesser-known trail outside of Boulder. As an easy day hike near Denver, you can get this one done in less than an hour, making it ideal if you’re short on time.
Distance: 1.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 393 feet
Dog-Friendly: Yes, leashed.
Incredible Beginner Hiking Trails South of Denver
Often times, Southern Denver gets overlooked as a hiking destination. However, there are plenty of awesome hiking trails south of the city. These easy hikes near Denver are some of the most unique trails in the state.
14. Garden of the Gods Loop
Garden of the Gods is one of the top hikes in Colorado, and with good reason. The rock formations are utterly beautiful. Contrasting against the deep greens of the pine trees the whole scene will take your breath away. Take your camera for this one!
Pro Tip: There’s lots to admire here. You can easily add more trails to your loop. Plan to spend a half day here.
Distance: 3.7 miles
Elevation gain: 416 feet
Dog Friendly?: yes, leashed.
15. Fountain Valley Loop Trail
Another beautiful landscape nestled in the southern foothills, Roxborough State Park has plenty of easy hiking options. My favorite is the Fountain Valley Loop Trail. Enjoy the bright red rock fins as you make your way across the valley floor. In late spring and early summer, the lush grasses create quite the picture-perfect scene.
Elevation Gain: 324 feet
16. Painted Mines Trail
Southeastern Colorado holds a huge secret. Amongst the sea of grasses, you’ll bump right into this weird, funky landscape. Iron-clad dirt gives the landscape of hoodoo rock outcroppings an orange and yellow hue. This other-wordly landscape also happens to be home to some easy hiking trails near Denver.
Distance: 3.4 miles
Elevation gain: 334 feet
Dog Friendly?: No.
Easy Hiking Trails Near the Continental Divide
Okay, so these trails are some of the furthest from Denver. However, they will get you right up into the mountains. Be prepared for alpine conditions, changing weather, and afternoon thunderstorms. The best time to hike these easy hiking trails near Denver is from late June until late September.
17. Staunton Ranch and Bugling Elk Loop Trail
Located off of Hwy 285 you’ll find a beautiful rocky landscape with plenty of fun-filled hiking trails. The Staunton Ranch to Bugling Elk Loop Trail has some excellent views. With a bit more elevation gain, it’s leaning towards moderate, especially with the thinner air. If you’d like to hike this one, plan for a half day of walking.
Pro Tip: Like all state parks in Colorado, you’ll need to pay a fee to enter.
Distance: 8.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,574 feet
18. Mayflower Gulch
I take every out-of-towner to this kick-ass hike. Although it’s the furthest from Denver on this list, it’s worth the time to hike. Just over a mile of dirt road hiking brings you to one of the most beautiful high alpine cirques in the state. The dramatic ridgeline between Atlantic Peak (left) and Fletcher Mountain (right) is a real challenge.
Pro Tip: Looking for a challenge? This trailhead is the starting point for some of the best 13ers in Colorado.
Distance: 2.6 miles
Elevation gain: 1,141 feet
19. Mount Sniktau
Alright, technically this is not an easy hike. However, if you’ve made your way through all the hikes on this list, and you’re looking to try your luck at summiting your first mountain, Mount Sniktau is the easiest summit in Colorado.
Distance: 3.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,530 feet
Dog Friendly?: Yes.
Tips for Hiking Near Denver
If you’re new to hiking Colorado, or hiking in general, there are a few handy tips you’ll need to know:
- Mountain weather changes quickly. Always be prepared with an extra layer (year-round) and a rain jacket (summer).
- Do your homework. Look at the trail you’d like to hike. Download an app like AllTrails so you can track your progress as you go.
- Tell someone what your plan is. I’ve been getting outdoors for nearly a decade, and let me tell you, I’ve seen some strange things out there. Make sure someone knows your plans in case something goes wrong.
- Pack it out. Never liter on the trail. Always pack out your trash (this includes dog poop bags, toilet paper, fruit peels, and other trash). Be sure to follow Leave No Trace.
- Time your hike. Most hikers move about one mile in 30 minutes or 1,000 vertical feet in an hour over tough sections. Time your hike appropriately and learn how quickly you move. Remember, this is for safety, it’s never a race.
What to Pack for Your Denver Hike
Be prepared with the essentials for your hike by snagging my hiking checklist. It’ll give you everything you need for your next hike.
Additional Colorado Hiking Resources
Looking for more info on Colorado hiking adventures? Check out these resources:
- How to Find Hikes Near You
- Incredible Fall Hikes in Colorado You’ve Never Heard of
- Easy, Beginner Colorado 14ers to Hike