Updated March 2022
The mile high city may be known for its metropolitan vibe and restaurant scene, but there is so much more to see and do around Denver. From red rocks to lush valleys, hike the trails to see the breathtaking landscapes that Colorado has to offer. Take a day trip to one of these beautiful state parks or nature areas for some incredible mountainous views!
RED ROCKS PARK & AMPHITHEATRE
Red Rocks is not only an iconic amphitheater and one of the best outdoor music venues in the country, but it is also a mountain park with various hiking trails. Only a thirty minute from downtown Denver, make the quick trip to over to Jefferson County!
For beginners, try out the Trade Post and Mt. Vernon Creek Trails or the Funicular Trail for a short but steep hike up to see epic views of Mt. Morrison. For a more adventurous route, the Red Rocks Trail allows for horseback riding and mountain biking. After exploring the trails, try out one of the yoga classes on the rocks, I bet you've never had such an amazing view while doing downward dog!
JEFFERSON COUNTY | DIRECTIONS
A foothill of the Rocky Mountains, Lookout Mountain is a 7377-foot peak in Lookout Mountain Park. Located in Golden, Colorado, it is less than a thirty minute drive from downtown Denver, making this an easily accessible spot for Denverites.
It is one of the most popular hiking trails due to the stellar views of Denver and even the grave of the famous American West figure, Buffalo Bill. Fly above the rockies during spring and summer months on guided paragliding tours from Lookout Mountain!
GOLDEN | DIRECTIONS
Photo courtesy of Visit Golden
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
Located in Estes Park, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park should be at the top of your Colorado bucket list. Although it is an hour and a half drive away from Denver, it is definitely worth the trek. With over 400 miles of mountainous terrain, it is truly a majestic place.
Stroll around stunning Bear Lake or hike up for the panoramic views at Longs Peak where you are sure to take some epic photos. From chipmunks to elk, you can expect to see some wildlife on your memorable journey through the park.
ESTES PARK | DIRECTIONS
Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain National Park
GARDEN OF THE GODS
Just an hour away from Denver in Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods is a nature lover's paradise. With over 300 red rock sandstone formations and the iconic kissing camels peak, the park is a magical sight to see.
With twenty one miles of trails from easy half mile paths to more advanced three mile trails that make you work for the view, there is a hike for everyone. Explore the terrain on your own or opt in for a guided nature walking tour for a deeper look into the park's natural beauty.
COLORADO SPRINGS | DIRECTIONS
ST. MARY'S GLACIER
In the breathtaking Arapaho National Forest just outside of Idaho Springs, Colorado, this 1.5 mile hike is the ideal day trip from Denver. While this spot is not actually a glacier, it is set on a semi permanent snowfield that resembles a glacier and even stays white in the summer!
Although this hike is short it is a challenging one, but the horizon views of snowy peaks and beautiful Saint Mary Lake make it worth your while. If you're strong enough to brave the cold water, take a dip in the lake before your hike back!
IDAHO SPRINGS | DIRECTIONS
Despite the horror filled name, Hells Hole is a lovely experience. Right outside Idaho Springs, this eight mile hike is in the Arapaho National Forest at the foot of the Gray Wolf Mountain. While meandering your way through the astounding Aspen forest, you can expect to cross some flowing creeks and ridges before reaching the top.
IDAHO SPRINGS | DIRECTIONS
STAUNTON STATE PARK
This 3000+ acre park in Conifer, Colorado is less than an hour drive from downtown Denver and one of the most stunning parks in the entire state. This is the perfect place for the outdoorsy bunch who love hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and even horseback riding.
The park offers a dozen different trails to choose from, but there are only two that lead to the iconic Elk Falls, the highest waterfall near Denver. In order to see this stunning waterfall, there is an advanced 10.8 mile hike or a moderate 12 mile option, so pick your poison.
CONIFER | DIRECTIONS
Photo courtesy of Colorado Parks