No one would consider me an expert hiker, which is why I love writing about it. If I can hike the parks of the world, so can most travelers, who, like me, are probably not into extreme sports. If you are looking for great parks that offer a little adventure, you’ll find some excellent information below. If you are the type of hiker who crushes 16 miles without thinking, these spots will also be great for you to consider when you’re visiting Colorado.
A short drive from Denver, you’ll find Pikes Peak, pictured above and below. The summit, in the Rocky Mountains, is one of the most well-known in the Unites States. According to experts, the mountain is about 8,000 ft above the Pikes Peak region, a cluster of Colorado towns like Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Cripple Creek, and Cañon City. Each town has its vibe, and all are worth checking out. We loved the restaurants and chocolate shops in Manitou Springs.
The Pikes Peak region offers various hiking opportunities. If you are looking to hike among rock formations, check out the Garden of the Gods. If you are looking for the view above, you will want to take the easier hikes in Pikes Peak Park. Staff will give a map and recommendations when you enter.
If you are feeling like pushing your limits, and catching a snowy view even in the early summer months, you can hike or bike the park’s 14,000 ft peak. When we visited, the snow was coming down fast, so we only made it about 12,000 ft before park rangers told us to head back down the mountain or risk being snowed in. If you want to enjoy the view without hiking, the park offers a scenic-drive option. If you are staying in the area but do not have a car, you can take the Broadmoor’s Pikes Peak Cog Railway. The train option is a 3.5-hour round trip.
Another great spot to visit that is a short drive from Denver is Boulder. It is easy to admire officials in Boulder, who in 1898 started working to preserve land. The result? Over 45,000 acres were preserved and are now protected. The work has given Boulder a way to embrace green space while also providing a natural border between itself and other towns. If you aren’t interested in the Flatirons, don’t worry, Boulder has 145 miles of trails.
It was completely overcast with cool temperatures when we visited the Flatirons in Boulder. Despite the spooky look, we loved hiking the easy trails the park offers. While we didn’t spot too much wildlife, experts said coyotes, songbirds, birds of prey, mule deer, and bobcats live in the area year-round. If you go, we recommend having lunch in town at one of the locally-owned restaurants or swinging by one of the grocery stores and grabbing lunch. We went with the latter option and were able to find various meal options that made with local, organic food.