Hiking near Denver? Don't skip these four trails!
<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Colorado is a hiker’s dream. From epic 14ers to dazzling day hikes, the state is lush with unforgettable trails. And many are just a short drive from the heart of Denver. Whether you’re planning a vacation to the Rocky Mountains, counting down the seconds until the work day ends, or rounding up the family for some time outdoors, here are four of our favorite day hikes near Denver, Colorado.</span></p>

<h2><img alt="St Mary's Glacier" class="image-embed alignnone" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/blog_images/St-Marys-1-690x397.jpg" title="" /></h2>

<h2><span style="font-weight: 400;">St. Mary’s Glacier</span></h2>

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Difficulty: Moderate</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Length: 1.5 miles round trip (If you don’t go beyond the glacier)</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Location: Arapaho National Forest</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Elevation gain: 420 feet</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Elevation: 10,848 feet</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Pass required: &nbsp;No permit is required for this trail</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Distance from Denver: 43.8 miles (55 minutes depending on traffic)</span> St. Mary’s Glacier draws climbers, hikers, and skiers year-round and the hike exists largely due to the kindness of private landowners who still allow passage to adventurers. &nbsp;Please be mindful of their generosity and make your impact on the area minimal. Weather near the glacier is often cold, even during the summer. A down jacket, convertible pants, and wool socks are highly recommended.</p>

<h2><img alt="hiking Mt. Falcon" class="image-embed alignnone" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/blog_images/Mt-Falcon-690x398.jpg" title="" /></h2>

<h2><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mount Falcon Castle Trail</span></h2>

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Difficulty: Moderate</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Length: 7.9 miles round trip</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Location: Morrison, CO</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Elevation gain: 1,669 feet</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Elevation: 7,851 feet</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Pass required: &nbsp;No permit is required for this trail</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Distance from Denver: 26.8 miles (36 minutes depending on traffic)</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">How often does a hike pay off with views of 100-year-old ruins? The Mount Falcon Castle Trail is relatively tame to Colorado standards but its switchbacks can be testy. Thankfully, iconic views of Denver and rich history lead most hikers onward. Reach the summit and you’ll gain a firsthand look at the ruins of John Brisben Walker’s home. Brisben was the man behind the Red Rock Amphitheater, which isn’t technically a hike but well worth the trek!</span> <b>Fun Fact:</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Sections of the Mount Falcon Castle Trail were once considered as possible sites for a presidential summer home. Interested readers can </span><a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/blog/broadway_17th/2014/07/more-on-the-cover-story-john-walker-monday-7-7.html"><span style="font-weight: 400;">learn more about Walker’s history on Mount Falcon here</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p>

<h2><span style="font-weight: 400;">Belcher Hill Trail</span></h2>

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Difficulty: Moderate</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Length: 9.0 miles round trip</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Location: White Ranch Open Space Park</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Elevation gain: 1,290 feet</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Elevation: 7,860 feet</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Pass required: </span><a href="http://jeffco.us/open-space/permits-and-reservations/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">General use permits</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> required for groups of 15 or more</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Distance from Denver: 20.5 miles (30 minutes depending on traffic)</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The Belcher Hill Trail is great for hikers craving an overnighter. There are campgrounds just a mile from the trailhead that serve as a perfect launch point for an early morning outing. </span><a href="http://jeffco.us/open-space/activities/camping/white-ranch-park/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Interested campers can learn how to acquire a camping permit here</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span> Belcher Hill Trail loops throughout the White Ranch Open Space Park and is often pretty muddy. The 9.0-mile system will test your navigation skills, but will surely leave you excited for more.</p>

<h2><img alt="Rainbow Lakes trail near Denver" class="image-embed alignnone" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/blog_images/Rainbow-03-1-690x398.jpg" title="" /></h2>

<h2><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Rainbow Lakes Trail</span></h2>

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Difficulty: Easy Length: 1.9 miles round trip</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Location: Indian Peaks Wilderness</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Elevation gain: 270 feet</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Elevation: 10,315 feet</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Pass required: &nbsp;No permit is required to hike this trail</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Distance from Denver: 56 miles (1 hour 36 minutes)</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Most hikers in the area come to visit Brainard Lake, but those wanting a more secluded experience should keep driving along the dirt road until they reach the Rainbow Lakes Trail. Getting to the lake is fairly easy, feeling more like a stroll than an actual hike, but mountain reflections on nearby glaciers, lakes, prime fishing, and fresh air make this one stroll you’ll come running back to.</span> Have a hike in mind? Read our Denver hiking checklist to make sure you’re packing the right gear. Final thoughts:</p>

<ul>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Have fun.</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Leave No Trace.</span></li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Take lots of pictures and tag us!</span></li>
</ul>
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