If you live in Denver and work in Denver, there’s a pretty big chance that you don’t really leave the city during the week. Sometimes the urge to get out of town can be strong, and outside of ski season, it can be tough to come up with fun day trips from Denver. Our list of suggestions includes travel time—so no matter how many hours you want to spend out of town, you can get a little bit of your wanderlust satisfied.
2 Hours: Golden or Red Rocks
If you want the feel of the mountains but you don’t want to actually head into the mountains, take the 25 minute drive to Golden for a short excursion. Golden is full of quaint shops, short hiking trips and it is the home of the Coors Brewery. Take the 30-minute brewery tour (including free beer at the end!) or just roam around town looking at the shops and restaurants. If you’re into hiking, Mount Galbraith is full of short hikes and Table Mountain has a short, but challenging incline hike with amazing views.
You can also take a quick trip to Red Rocks to check out the views, some short hikes and walk a few of the hundreds of stairs.
4 Hours: Boulder or The Outlets at Castle Rock
If you’ve got a few hours on your hands, Boulder is the perfect day trip from Denver. Clocking in at a 40-minute drive from Denver, Boulder is far enough to feel like a trip but close enough to drive to and from without being exhausted. Quaint but bustling, the city of Boulder has plenty of entertainment for a short day trip. Check out the Celestial Seasonings tea factory tour (make sure you see the peppermint room!), walk down the Pearl Street Mall, or check out the Dushanbe Tea House. Boulder is also home to the Flatirons, with challenging but relatively short hikes.
If you’re more inclined to shopping on your day trip, the Outlets at Castle Rock are a 40-minute drive from Denver and will provide plenty of options for shoppers of all ages and styles.
6 Hours: Garden of the Gods or the Manitou Incline
Colorado Springs can seem worlds away from Denver at times, but it’s only an hour and a half drive from the Mile High. The Springs has plenty of draws, but the most interesting are the Garden of the Gods, a natural rock formation park, and the Manitou Incline, a former railway turned hiking spot that climbs over 2,000 feet. Both of these locations are worth the drive from Denver, and they should be experienced by locals at least once.
8+ Hours: Mount Bierstadt
Mount Bierstadt is widely regarded as an “easy 14er” among locals, and it’s a great hiking location for a day trip. The drive from Denver is about an hour and a half, but the hike can take 4-6 hours if you reach the summit. If you’ve never climbed a 14er before, this is the best day trip you’ll take as a Denverite.