By Bryan Goodland
Maybe the days of scaling 14ers are far behind you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all that Colorado has to offer. There are plenty of hikes throughout the Denver metro area and beyond that are breathtakingly beautiful and are manageable for all skill and activity levels.
If it has been awhile and you just need to get your hiking legs back, then Daniels Park is the perfect place to start. Centrally located in Douglas County and near Castle Pines, Daniels Park has some of the most beautiful views in the region. The park is also home to a herd of bison, which is always a surprise to see roaming around (don’t worry they live in an enclosed pasture).
For an easy hike, start out at the shelter house, which coincidentally is right across from the bison, and take the trail there. It is a short route and easy terrain to manage even for inexperienced hikers and kids. If you have the time, stay for the sunset, one of the best shows around.
For information, visit www.douglas.co.us/dcoutdoors/parks/daniels-park/.
Roxborough State Park
If you are looking for amazing scenery and rock formations, Roxborough State Park is an easy choice.
Roxborough is known for its beautiful red rock formations, but is also home to several animal species, including black bears, birds and mule deer. The park offers guided tours with naturalists to take in all the wildlife and geology of the area. They have several programs for families and children as well. The park offers eight different trails across 14 miles and accommodates a variety of skill levels.
A good starter trail is the Fountain Valley Trail situated right at the visitor center. The entire hike takes around an hour depending on how fast you go and the weather conditions. The park is located in Littleton off of Santa Fe.
For more information, visit https://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/Roxborough.
Chatfield State Park
Chatfield State Park is home to a variety of activities; hiking, boating, swimming and just taking in the sights. There are 30 miles of trails in the park with a variety of options, from walking through the cottonwood trees in the area to strolling along the beach of the reservoir. This park is one of the busiest on the list, so if you are not in to crowds, avoid the major holidays and peak season weekends. Still, this is a nice little oasis in the middle of civilization.
The trails are a mix of paved areas and trails that are dirt covered. They are also perfect for easy hiking and are not too long, so they will suit a variety of abilities. The park is located along the South Platte River at Santa Fe and C- 470.
For more information, visit www.douglas.co.us/dcoutdoors/trails/regional-trails/chatfield-state-park-trail-system/.
St. Mary’s Glacier
For this next trek, it is time to get a little bit further out of the county. St. Mary’s Glacier is a beautiful area down in the Idaho Springs region. The glacier has a lake area that many people swim and dive in. Depending on the time of year, the water and the area can be very cold, so come prepared.
The trail up to the glacier is a little more difficult than the other trails, but it is still easy to moderate. The difficulty isn’t necessarily in the elevation of the trail, but it is rocky, so make sure you have good hiking shoes. All together, the round trip hike is just under two miles. Also bear in mind this isn’t a national or regional park, so be sure you know all the rules and regulations before making the trip.
For more information, visit http://stmarysglacier.com/visitors/.
Colorado offers some of the most beautiful scenery and hiking in the country. These are just a few of the hundreds of different types of places you can go hiking.