The 10 Best Boulder / Denver Hikes

10 Best Boulder / Denver Hikes | Blog by The REBEL Workout

Summer’s here and that means it’s time to get yo’ booty outside!

We rounded up our 10 favorite hikes in the Boulder / Denver area, and we think you should probably knock ‘em all off your list before the summer is out. Difficulty and elevation vary, so be sure to check out the train maps before embarking on your journey.

 

Mount Sanitas
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous

The best part about Sanitas is that you can access it from downtown Boulder! It’s not a long hike - round trip is just over 3 miles - so you can take it nice and easy to enjoy the views, or you can jog it (in less than an hour!) to get a good lunch break workout in. The trails are well maintained, it’s dog friendly - as long as you follow the rules and regulations, and there are plenty of places to rest along the way.

 

Royal Arch
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous

One of Boulder’s natural beauties, the Royal Arch can be accessed through Chautauqua Park. The hike to Royal Arch is 3.2 miles round trip but gains over 1,400 vertical feet in that short distance. The bulk of this trail is shaded, so you can hike it even on the hottest days and not be under direct sun. This steep hike pays off with the arch coming into view right at the summit, so stick it out and you’ll be rewarded.

 

Green Mountain
Difficulty: Strenuous

It’s not a long hike - just under 5.5 miles round trip - but it’s a STEEP one, gaining over 2,200 feet of elevation on your way up. It’ll get your lungs working in no time! One thing to be cautious of - poison ivy is abundant at the beginning of the trailhead. You have several options on where to start this hike, but the most popular one begins in Chautauqua Park.

 

South Boulder Peak
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous

At 8,549 ft., South Boulder Peak is the highest summit in the Boulder Mountain Parks network. While it’s a non-technical hike, the distance - 8.5 miles round trip - can cause it to be more on the strenuous side. It’ll take you at least half a day, but the payoff is that you get incredible views on the summit!

 

Rattlesnake Gulch Trail
Difficulty: Moderate

Eldorado Canyon State Park has a ton of hiking trail options, but this one is our fav due to it’s history. About a mile and a half in brings you to what remains of the old Crags Hotel - it was built in 1908 and mysteriously burnt down in 1913. There are interpretive signs on the trail giving you the history and details of what the area was like in the 1900s. If you include all of the historic sites and the Rattlesnake Loop Trail, you’re looking at a little under 4 miles for a round trip.

 

Red Rocks
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

An obvious choice if you’re in the Boulder / Denver area, Red Rocks is not one to be missed. You have tons of trail options, but in addition to that, you can run the stairs. The two trails worth mentioning are the Red Rocks Trail and the Trading Post Trail. Both are relatively easy, and family friendly for those with their own little tribe. Watch for rattlesnakes and unpredictable weather!

 

Manitou Incline
Difficulty: Strenuous

While not technically a hiking trail, the Manitou Incline deserves a mention. Round trip is only 2 miles; however, you gain 2,000 feet in elevation in less than a mile. It’ll burn, it’ll hurt, your lungs will hate you, and it’ll totally be worth it when you hit the top. The once railroad track now consists of approximately 2,744 steps made entirely of railroad ties. Burn, baby, burn!

 

Mallory Cave
Difficulty: Moderate

Mallory Cave explores the base of the Flatirons before reaching the wrought gates of the bat cave - home to Townsend’s big eared bat, one of the more exotic-looking flying mammals. While the bat cave is no longer accessible (due to an outbreak of white-nosed syndrome), you do get close enough to view them. It’s a quick, scenic hike at under 3 miles, but worth the trip to Boulder if for nothing else than the views.

 

Calypso Cascades and Ouzel Falls
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

You get two beautiful water features in one hike! While the falls are impressive, the lively riparian corridor through which you'll pass is equally compelling. Those wanting to increase the difficulty of their hike can continue on to Bluebird Lakes - though plan in advance as this will add an additional 7 miles (roundtrip) onto your hike.

 

Bear Peak
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

Living up to it’s name, Bear Peak has a healthy black bear community active on the peak. With at least over 2,400 ft. of elevation gain, Bear Peak is a great workout, and the views once you hit the summit make it worth it. There are two trail options to reach the summit - Fern Canyon is the more direct, steep option that climbs through mellow sections of the flatirons while Bear Peak’s West Ridge trail ventures through meadows and quiet woods before abruptly climbing through a burn zone and topping out via a rocky scramble.


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