Exploring the Great Outdoors: Denver's Hidden Hiking Gems

Jasmin Lankford
| February 19, 2024 | 3 Minute Read

Denver is truly a hiker's paradise, with its proximity to some of the most magnificent landscapes in the Western United States. Most outdoor enthusiasts flock to the iconic Rocky Mountain National Park, but for those seeking equally awe-inspiring terrain with a little less foot traffic, here are three hiking trails you should add to your list.

1. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre

While most people associate Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre with world-renowned music and entertainment, this spot is also a haven for breathtaking geological formations. The park features a network of trails that wind through gorgeous red rocks, providing a scenic view of the Denver skyline.  

Red Rocks is a quick 25-minute drive from the city, making it an ideal spot for those looking to squeeze in a hike without sacrificing much time. As a bonus, your AAA Membership can snag you up to 20% off concert tickets.

2. Chief Mountain Trail

For a hiking experience that delivers panoramic mountain views, Chief Mountain Trail is your answer. The 2.8-mile loop is surrounded by snow-covered trees and wildflower meadows, and the ever-changing scenery ensures there's always something new to appreciate.

Don't get caught off-guard by the chill at the summit. The higher altitude means cooler temperatures, even in the summer months. Remember to layer up and stay hydrated so you can breathe in that fresh mountain air.

3. Saint Mary's Glacier

Venture a little further out from Denver, about an hour's drive, and you'll find Saint Mary's Glacier - a spectacular glacial lake in Idaho Springs. This 1.9-mile trail, located on private land with a $20 fee, meanders through a forest of lodgepole pines and aspens before emerging into the breathtaking sight of a pristine alpine lake and glacier.

The serene lakes, surrounded by evergreen trees and the imposing glacier, are so picturesque they feel plucked from an art gallery. While the adventurous can scale the glacier itself, many find the lake to be a perfect endpoint to soak in the beauty.

Let the Adventure Begin

Whether you’re seeking a quick escape into the wilderness or a lengthy hike to test your endurance, the diversity of Denver's hiking trails is bound to offer something that suits you. Don't forget to map out your journey with the AAA Trip Canvas tool. Pack your hiking boots, grab your water bottle, and let the outdoor adventures begin.

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