Top 10 Family-Friendly Hikes Near Denver

Here are 10 of the best family-friendly hikes near Denver, Colorado.

Explore
By Joanna Lee
Explore Ambassador

Here are 10 of the best family-friendly hikes near Denver, Colorado.

Red Rocks And Morrison Slide

(Photo: Joanna Lee)

Length: 3 miles

Distance from Denver: 25 minutes

An iconic Colorado location to visit, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a historic concert venue that is built into the rocks. This makes it a favorite for many well-known performers because of the acoustics. If you are making a stop to see the amphitheater and visitor center, you should definitely add in a little hike. This 3-mile loop has beautiful views of red rocks, stunning wildflowers in summer, and a dusting of snow on the red rocks in the winter. It has a little incline and one small rock scramble that is doable and fun for all members of the family. 

Flatirons Vista

(Photo: Joanna Lee)

Length: 3.5 miles

Distance from Denver: 35 minutes

This is one of my most visited trails in all of Colorado and a favorite location to take visitors. It is local to Denver and features a relatively easy loop with minimal incline and absolutely stunning views. The trailhead has a designated parking lot with a bathroom. There is a $5 per day parking fee if you don’t have an annual pass or live in Boulder County. The loop starts on a gravel road with unobstructed views of the Flatirons for about 1 mile. After the first mile, you alternate between a wooded trail and wide-open views. You may get a glimpse of wildlife if you go early in the morning or in the evening, including cattle, deer, elk, and coyotes. In early summer, you will be graced with vast fields of wildflowers leading up to the base of the mountains, a breathtaking view.

Chautauqua Trail 

(Photo: Joanna Lee)

Length: 1.2 miles

Distance from Denver: 35 minutes

The Flatirons are striking sandstone formations that make up the recognizable portion of Boulder’s foothills. Their unique appearance makes them sought after for both hiking and photography sessions. Chautauqua Trail starts at the base of the Flatirons, near downtown Boulder. This trail is an out-and-back that reaches the base of the foothills, with fantastic views of them the whole time. There are many additional trails in the area that branch off the main trail, so you can easily make your hike longer or more strenuous.

Mount Falcon Castle, Meadow And Tower Trail

(Photo: Joanna Lee)

Length: 2.4 miles

Distance from Denver: 40 minutes

Mount Falcon Park has many trails to choose from with varying lengths and views. There are also multiple trailheads to start from, depending on what you are looking for. One of my personal favorites is Castle, Meadow, and Tower Trail. Parking is free, and there is a bathroom on the first 100 yards of the trail. This 2.4-mile loop is a well-maintained dirt trail that features old castle ruins, a lookout point on top of Mount Falcon, and an old cabin that has been restored and turned into a picnic area. You can do any of the attractions as an out-and-back if you want to shorten the walk, but the loop gives a nice variety of scenery. 

North Table Mountain

(Photo: Joanna Lee)

Length: 3.2 miles

Distance from Denver: 30 minutes

There are many trails to explore on North Table Mountain. There is parking on both sides of the mountain. I recommend parking on the west side, near Golden. There is a free parking lot with bathrooms. A favorite trail of mine is Tilting Mesa to Mesa Top Loop. It is a 3-mile loop with some incline but nothing technical; it is on a gravel and dirt path the whole way. After the initial uphill walk on a gravel road, you will find yourself on top of an unusually flat mountain, which is how it earned its name. You will feel like you are on top of the world, or maybe on another planet. With expansive flatness surrounding you, it is surprising to see the Denver skyline to the east and the mountains to the west. There are many additional trails you can connect to if you are looking for a longer outing.

Coyote Song

(Photo: Joanna Lee)

Length: 3 miles

Distance from Denver: 30 minutes

Just a short drive from Denver you’ll find yourself in a desert-like landscape. There are multiple trailheads, all with free parking and bathrooms. This flat trail is a dirt path that features stunning red rock formations. It is unique for the area and looks more like Utah than Colorado. There are a few different trails that branch off the main path, meaning you can do an out-and-back or a loop.

Echo Lake Trail 

(Photo: Joanna Lee)

Length: 1.5 miles

Distance from Denver: 55 minutes

While the drive time from Denver is slightly longer, the views are worth it. From the parking area at Echo Lake, you look onto one of Colorado’s tallest mountains, Mount Evans. Mount Evans sits at 14,265 feet tall and is the most prominent peak in the area, making it even more majestic. The hike around Echo Lake is flat and relaxing, but you do park at 10,500 feet elevation, so it is important to be aware of the effects altitude can have. Half of the hike is around the outside of the lake and half is in the forest, with plenty of opportunities to encounter wildlife.

Panorama Point In Golden Gate State Park

(Photo: Joanna Lee)

Length: 4.7 miles

Distance from Denver: 50 minutes

This hike is the most challenging family-friendly hike on this list because of the length and incline. However, it is still very accessible and offers some amazing views! Golden Gate State Park has a fee per vehicle to park: $10 per day, or an annual pass is available. The trail is very well-maintained, with a clear path the whole route. At the top, you have expansive panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains. It is accessible year-round, but my favorite time to go is in the fall because many sections are lined with beautiful golden aspen trees.

Lookout Mountain

(Photo: Joanna Lee)

Length: 2.9 miles

Distance from Denver: 35 minutes

This is a trail you can choose to hike, or you can follow the road and drive all the way to the top to enjoy the views. If you choose to hike it, the parking area is very small and will fill up quickly on the weekends. While hiking, you will be on a narrow trail in the trees most of the time. There are a few steep but gradual switchbacks at the start with a majority of the elevation gain. When you reach the top, there are bathrooms, a gift shop, and a cafe. The top also features fantastic panoramic views over the city of Denver and the surrounding foothills.

Maxwell Falls Trail

(Photo: Joanna Lee)

Length: 2.3 miles

Distance from Denver: 49 minutes

There is both an upper Maxwell Trail and a lower Maxwell Trail; you can do one or the other or combine them, depending on how long you want to be out. In the winter you will see frozen waterfalls, and in the early summer, you will see beautiful flowing falls. In the late summer and fall they do dry up considerably, but there is still a beautiful creek running alongside parts of the trail. Most of the trail is in the trees, but you will catch some glimpses of mountain views throughout the hike.

Related Articles

Always be ready to go with the Go Out{side} Email Newsletter

Don’t miss out on new Go Out{side} news, tips and tricks.