One of the greatest attributes in Denver is the nearby access to the mountains and the abundance of trails available within a short drive. Exploring trails in the Denver metro area is a great way to keep the family active and to get kids interested in the natural world around them. While Colorado may be known for its longer, steeper high altitude hikes, there are a myriad of shorter hikes near Denver that are an appropriate length and difficulty for families of all ages.
High Line Canal
The High Line Canal is the closest and most accessible Denver area hike. The path starts in Waterton Canyon and zigzags its way across the Denver metro area ending in Aurora. The total distance is just over 48 miles long, but there are multiple points of accessibility, making it possible to do a quick out and back, depending on the needs and abilities of all members. The path itself is a dirt path that is relatively flat and shady, making it possible to use a jogging stroller or mountain bikes as well.
Evergreen Lake is just over half an hour away from Denver up interstate 70. There is a short mile and a half hiking path around the lake, making it easy for families with very young and older children. The hiking path is fairly flat, which makes it possible for strollers and little legs to navigate. The beautiful views will be appreciated by everyone, and the fresh mountain air will invigorate the whole family.
Red Rocks Trading Post Trail
At just around 1.4 miles, the Trading Post Trail is a good challenge for young families. This trail is located inside Red Rocks Park, so hikers need to be aware of concert schedules or go early enough in the day to avoid concert traffic and parking fees. Throughout the trail, hikers will be delighted by geologic formations and beautiful views. Some of the terrain is a bit tougher (though not difficult), so it is best if kids are able to walk themselves or ride with mom or dad in a backpack. There is very little shade along the hike, so hikers should set off early and bring a lot of water.
Mount Falcon Park
For parents looking for great vistas and a bit of history to boot, Mount Falcon Park offers a great option. Hikers can decide between 2 trailheads, one from 285 and the other starting in Morrison. Both access points aren’t far from the Denver Metro area, and there are a number of trails available for families looking for a challenge. The Castle trail offers views of ruins, which kids will be sure to enjoy.
Lair o’ the Bear
For families with little ones who want to walk on their own and play in the nature around them, Lair o’ the Bear offers some great options for hiking and exploration. Located just 4 miles west of Morrison with many picnic tables and grills available for family use. The Bear Creek Trail is especially popular with young families as it is fairly flat and follows Bear Creek.
While Colorado offers plenty of intermediate and advanced trails that will offer a challenge to families with older children, short hikes located within or near Denver make it possible for families with young children to explore nature and get home before naptime.