Hiking Trails In Northern Colorado – Where to vacation in Colorado? There are hundreds of routes and destinations to choose from and it’s hard to know where to start. That’s why we put together this list of the 10 best hikes in Colorado. These range from an easy 1-mile hike at the Maroon Bells to a challenging 8-mile loop tour to an erupting waterfall in Rocky Mountain National Park. You will find real variety on these hiking trails, perfect for planning your colorful holiday. Be sure to download our free hiking guide to help you plan your day trips and pack wisely.
1. Maroon Bells Hikes Distance: Five roads: 1 to 13 miles round trip – Depends on route Drive time from Denver: 4 hours Difficulty level: Easy to moderate
Hiking Trails In Northern Colorado
Maroon Bells offers some hiking trails and some of the best scenery in Colorado. This Rocky Mountain landscape features waterfalls, lakes and yellow poplars, all set against the iconic backdrop of the Maroon Bells peaks. Explore our Ultimate Guide to the Maroon Bells, which includes multiple hiking, camping trails, and shuttle details.
Horsetooth Mountain Open Space
2. Hanging Lake Drive reopens June 25, 2022 (reservations required) Distance: 2.4 miles Round trip time from Denver: 2 hours 45 minutes Difficulty: Moderate
A short but strenuous hike to two waterfalls, Hanging Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Colorado. It’s definitely worth the nearly three-hour drive to the trailhead just south of Glenwood Springs, Colorado—a great family-friendly Colorado resort. This is probably the most popular hike in Colorado, so arrive early for parking. Our Ho Treo travel guide offers you the most comprehensive tips and insights to make this day trip a great memory for the whole family.
3. Alberta Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park Hiking Distance: 2.6 miles Round trip from Denver: 2 hours Difficulty: Moderate
If there is only one waterfall to visit in Rocky Mountain National Park, Alberta Falls is a solid choice. It’s a favorite among the short hikes in the park. From Lake Alberta, hikers have the opportunity to further explore areas such as the Loch, Timberline Falls and the Glacier Canyon area – all hikes are available at Dayhikes Near Denver.
Red Rocks Denver Sunrise & Hiking
4. Getting to Fern Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park Distance: 5.4 miles Round trip from Denver: 1 hour 40 minutes Difficulty: Moderate
Fern Falls is east of Rocky Mountain National Park. The waterfall tumbles over rocks and fallen trees, moss and ferns as it cascades down the forest, spraying a fine mist across the path. The more adventurous can hike via Fern Falls to Lake Fern, another great destination in this jewel of our national park system.
Looking for more waterfalls near Denver? Explore over 50 colorful waterfalls, our favorite falls in Rocky Mountain National Park or 7 waterfalls in an hour in Denver.
5. Fountain Valley Trail in Roxborough State Park Distance: 2.3 miles Driving time from Denver: 45 minutes Difficulty: Easy
Best Hikes In Rocky Mountain National Park
Maybe you’re looking for a trip near Denver. The Fountain Valley Trail in Roxborough State Park, Colorado is God’s garden in Denver. The large pink and orange rocks stand out against the blue sky, and even on a rainy or foggy day, the Fountain Valley Trail feels like a journey into enchantment. As with Rocky Mountain National Park, pets are not allowed in the park and all participants must have a state park pass or daily fee.
6. Flatirons 1st & 2nd Boulder Trail Distance: 2.6 miles Round trip time from Denver: 45 minutes Difficulty: Moderate
Are you looking for something more challenging? Hiking the Flatirons Trail near Boulder, Colorado takes hikers across a green meadow and then through a ditch between the First and Second Flatirons. There is a shaded recess on the back of the iron where you can see the front of the snow capped Colorado Rockies.
7. Devil’s Head Flame Observatory Walk: 2.8 miles round trip Travel time from Denver: 1 hour 15 minutes Difficulty: Moderate
Best Waterfall Hikes In Colorado
The Devil’s Head Trail is the classic hiking trail of the Colorado Front Range and is only about an hour from downtown Denver. The 143 steps to the fire observatory can be daunting, but the 360-degree panoramic view of the stacked mountains is worth it.
8. Hiking Timberline Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park Distance: 8 miles round trip Drive time from Denver: 2 hours Difficulty: Hard
Hiking to Timberline Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park requires effort but has many rewards. The trail passes through Alberta Falls and into the stunning Loch Vale en route. Most hikers extend their hike past Timberline Falls to the alpine lakes beyond. Explore the full trail profile for details on this Rocky Mountain National Park adventure.
9. Four Lakes and Falls Rocky Mountain National Park Backpacker Distance: 10 km Drive Time from Denver: 2 hours Difficulty: Moderate
How To Find A Northern Colorado Campsite Without An Early Reservation
This 6.4-mile hike in RMNP takes you to four beautiful alpine lakes and Alberta Falls, one of the most visited waterfalls in the park. If you are looking for a budget hike and only have one day in Rocky Mountain National Park, this would be a great option and opportunity to explore a variety of terrain and destinations.
10. Monarch Lake Loop Hike Distance: 4 miles Drive time from Denver: 2 hours 50 minutes Difficulty: Easy
If you’re vacationing in Winter Park or the Granby area, a stroll around Lake Monarch is the perfect day hike. The Monarch Lake Loop takes hikers through a shady forest, across a creek and along the lake shore. This is one of the easier but varied hikes in the area. Lake Monarch is a popular destination for activities such as kayaking, canoeing and a backpacking base in the Indian Peak Wilderness region. As this is a very popular tour, consider arriving early or going on a weekday.
Aaron Johnson has been hiking in Colorado for over 20 years. Aaron, owner and editor of Dayhikes Near Denver, writes hike profiles as a local guide who has hiked hundreds of miles along the Front Range and deep into Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. One of my favorite parts of living in Fort Collins – all the beautiful hikes are less than an hour away!
Stunning New Denver Skyscraper To Have A Multi Level Hiking Trail
If you’re visiting Fort Collins, you probably know Fort Collins as the heart of Colorado’s microbrewery scene. And there are so many breweries to enjoy! But before you get to those breweries, there are some fun day trips around Fort Collins.
Here are 14 great hiking trails you can take within an hour of Fort Collins, CO, broken down into the following areas:
There are several hiking trails within the city of Fort Collins in many of our designated natural areas. These detours and trails usually follow gravel roads and are typically 1.5 to 3 miles long. For a longer hike, you’ll need to head further west to Horsetooth or Pourdre Canyon.
This nature reserve is located right next to the South Wood in Fort Collins. The life of the birds here is amazing! There are 3 different ponds with lots of walking trails and some wide trails through the wetlands. If you run the longest loop, it’s about 2.2 miles. You can cut this in half by following the path between the two ponds.
Hiking And Biking Trails • United States Air Force Academy
The Pineridge Natural Area has 7 miles of trails that you can hike on. If you park in the Pineridge area you can easily make a 4 mile detour around Dixon Reservoir. This natural area is the southern tip of the Foothills Trail. There are a lot of prairie dogs on this road!
The Reservoir Ridge Natural Area is north of the Pineridge Natural Area in the foothills west of Fort Collins. The foothills have 3 natural areas, all of which connect to form the Foothills Trail (more on this below).
A great 6 mile hike should start at the Overland Trail parking lot, go to the North Ridge detour and end back at the Overland Trail parking lot.
Located east of Horsetooth Reservoir, the Foothills Trail connects Reservoir Ridge, Pineridge and the Maxwell Nature Area. It’s a great hike if you’re looking for a longer scenic hike close to town. It is also a popular route for cyclists. The 6.8 mile distance is one way only. Need a second car in the Pineridge Natural Area or be willing to walk the 13 miles round trip.
Great Day Hikes From Denver
The Fossil Creek Natural Area is east of Fort Collins. This is one of the smaller nature areas with only about 1.5 miles of trails. But it’s a great spot for bird watching or doing a few laps on the detour. One of the roads is closed seasonally to protect bald eagle habitat.
From Fort Collins, head north on Interstate 287 to Colorado Highway 14/Poudre Canyon Road. Turn left onto CO 14 and you will drive through Poudre Canyon.
There are several hikes off the Poudre Canyon Road
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