Last minute trip to Denver - good day hikes?
May 6, 2014 1:11 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend some good day, well to moderate marked hikes around the Denver area for next weekend? We would prefer some moderate to tough trails and are already planning on the Mt. Evans drive but would really like to get out a bit more.
posted by lpcxa0 to Travel & Transportation around Denver, CO (12 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
By Mt. Evans drive you mean driving to the summit? The road is closed for the season and traditionally opens around Memorial Day weekend.
posted by shornco at 1:21 PM on May 6, 2014

All of my favorites are still under feet of snow. Remember that people will likely be skiing at A-Basin until June, so we still have a fair amount of snow up high. Some foothill hikes, like options in the Flatirons or Eldorado Canyon may fit the bill. This is a pretty solid resource.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:21 PM on May 6, 2014

Some parts of CO had 160% of snowpack this year. If you're up to snowshoeing, you might find the moderate to tough trails you're looking for. I live at ~7500 feet, and it's still pretty snowy in the trees even if the meadows are looking melted (and it's muddy as all hell right now). The only hike that springs to mind that might be doable and not directly in the foothills is the Bergen Peak trail, Elk Meadows Park, in Evergreen.

Check out - the traffic cameras can give you an idea of how high snowfall is. As shornco noted, you'll see that Mt. Evans is closed for the season.

If you stop at the main REI along I-25, the ORIC (Outdoor Recreation Information Center) staff there are for people just like you! Since it's partly driven by the Forest Service, they will have a good idea of what trails are open. They will ask you questions about what exactly you're looking for and direct you where to go. They're very experienced and enthusiastic. They can also provide maps - most of the hiking ones are free - for you. And if you want to snowshoe but don't have your own, then you might be able to rent some from REI....I think.

Just an FYI, if you're going this coming weekend, a storm system will be hitting some parts of Colorado...with some areas getting rain & snow.
posted by barchan at 1:41 PM on May 6, 2014

Golden Gate Canyon State Park outside Golden might be a good option although there will be snow on some trails. I have found the park rangers at the visitor's center to be very good sources of information about trail conditions and difficulty level. I don't think the trails are always well-marked.

Boulder has many hikes to offer and the trails should be largely passable. #boco_trails on twitter will get you some trail condition updates. Spring runoff has started so mud is the biggest issue.

So, as the other people have said, stick to the foothills! Otherwise, rent some snowshoes because the real mountains are still very snowy!
posted by rachums at 1:42 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have a pair of snowshoes I can loan you if you need 'em. If you're snowshoeing, keep an eye on the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. The snowpack is very stable this time of year, but occasionally storms can change that even this late in the season.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:44 PM on May 6, 2014

Best answer: I don't have specific recommendations (other than to check up on trail conditions, as others have said already), but the website Day Hikes Near Denver is quite useful.
posted by a fair but frozen maid at 3:37 PM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

It's not in the mountains, but it's super cool, Castlewood Canyon State Park.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 3:44 PM on May 6, 2014

Best answer: A friend of mine recently climbed the Manitou Springs Incline. She really enjoyed it, plus it's open! It's tough in that it's straight up, but less than a mile. The trail you true down is longer but much less intense.
posted by stormygrey at 5:22 PM on May 6, 2014

I think you could consider Red Rocks Park as a day hike. Most of the info I found with a quick Google on my phone is for the amphitheater, but it's the same place.
posted by youngergirl44 at 5:43 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Boulder Chautauqua-park.
Mt. Falcon.
Devils Tower.
Deer Creek Red Mesa loop.
Enchanted Forest.
Matthews Winters Park.
posted by brent at 6:12 PM on May 6, 2014

Golden Gate Canyon State Park. It's been 35 years, but so close, uncrowded, and breathtaking.
posted by LonnieK at 6:34 PM on May 6, 2014

Thirding the Flatirons, ie Chautaqua park area. Check out the maps online. Anything that goes east will go up the foothills between the Flatirons and will be more challenging. Or, just south of there (in the same trail system) is South Boulder Peak.
posted by fieldtrip at 7:39 PM on May 6, 2014

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