Best Hiking Trails in Denver

Longs Peak with sign post of trails to guide hikers
Shaman Mountain is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission on certain links, at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

Denver, Colorado is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts with an abundance of natural beauty and breathtaking scenery. From towering mountain peaks to stunning alpine lakes, Denver has something for every hiker. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, the hiking trails in Denver offer a unique opportunity to explore the great outdoors. In this blog post, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 best hiking trails in Denver, complete with trail lengths, difficulty levels, elevation gains, and trailhead locations. So pack your bags, grab your hiking boots, and get ready to embark on an adventure in the Mile High City.



Mount Evans Summit Trail

Trail Length: 1.6 Miles | Difficulty Level: Difficult | Elevation Gain: 1,474 Feet | Trailhead: Summit Lake Park

The Mount Evans Summit Trail in Denver, Colorado is a challenging hike with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. With a length of 1.6 miles and an elevation gain of 1,474 feet, this trail is not for the faint of heart. However, those who brave the climb will be rewarded with stunning panoramic views from the summit, including a view of the Denver skyline on a clear day.

Reasons to Hike Mount Evans Summit Trail:

  • Stunning Views: The Mount Evans Summit Trail is one of the best places to experience the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. The panoramic views from the summit are truly breathtaking and provide a unique perspective of the surrounding area.
  • Challenging Hike: This trail is a difficult hike that requires hikers to be in good physical condition. However, the challenging terrain is part of what makes this hike so rewarding. Hikers can push themselves to the limit and feel a great sense of accomplishment when they reach the summit.
  • Wildlife Sightings: If you’re looking for a chance to see some of Colorado’s iconic wildlife, the Mount Evans Summit Trail is the perfect destination. With sightings of mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and marmots, this trail offers a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the state’s most fascinating animals.
  • Proximity to Denver: Located just a short drive from Denver, making it a great option for a day trip. Hikers can escape the city and enjoy the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains without having to travel too far.
  • Natural Beauty: The Mount Evans Summit Trail offers hikers a chance to experience the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains up close. From alpine landscapes to wildflowers, there are many stunning sights to see along the way. Hikers can take their time and appreciate the beauty of the trail at their own pace.

Recommended Gear:  Backpack, Hiking Boots, Trekking Poles, Sunscreen, Hat, Layers (Clothing), Water Bottle


Grays and Torreys Peak Trail

Trail Length: 8.1 Miles | Difficulty Level: Difficult | Elevation Gain: 3,937 Feet | Trailhead: Stevens Gulch

The Grays and Torreys Peak Trail is a popular hiking destination in Colorado that offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. This challenging trail is located just a short drive from Denver and is a great option for hikers looking for a day trip. With its high elevation and difficult terrain, this trail is best suited for experienced hikers who are in good physical condition.

Reasons to Hike Grays and Torreys Peak Trail:

  • Stunning Scenery: If you’re looking for a trail that offers some of the most breathtaking views in Colorado, the Grays and Torreys Peak Trail is definitely worth considering. From the summit, hikers can enjoy panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains, including nearby peaks like Mount Bierstadt and Mount Evans.
  • Two Peaks in One Hike: One of the unique features of the Grays and Torreys Peak Trail is that it allows hikers to summit two 14ers in a single hike. This makes it a great option for experienced hikers who are looking for a challenge and want to maximize their time in the mountains.
  • Wildlife Encounters: The Grays and Torreys Peak Trail is home to a variety of wildlife, including mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and marmots. Hikers may also spot other animals such as elk, deer, and black bears. Observing these animals in their natural habitat can be an unforgettable experience.
  • Accessible Location: Located just a short drive from Denver, the Grays and Torreys Peak Trail is a convenient destination for hikers who want to escape the city and immerse themselves in nature. With a relatively short drive, you can be on the trail and enjoying the beauty of the mountains.
  • Great Exercise: The Grays and Torreys Peak Trail is a challenging hike that requires hikers to be in good physical condition. But for those who are up for the challenge, this trail offers a chance to push yourself physically and feel a great sense of accomplishment when you reach the summit.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Daypack, Trekking Poles, Water Bottle, Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Hat


Mount Bierstadt Trail

Trail Length: 7 Miles | Difficulty Level: Moderate | Elevation Gain: 2,850 Feet | Trailhead: Guanella Pass

The Mount Bierstadt Trail is one of Colorado’s most popular and accessible 14er hikes, attracting thousands of hikers every year. Located just an hour’s drive from Denver, this trail offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and is a great option for hikers of all skill levels who want to experience the thrill of summiting a 14er.

Reasons to Hike Mount Bierstadt Trail:

  • Accessible Summit: With an elevation of 14,060 feet, Mount Bierstadt is one of Colorado’s easier 14ers to summit. This makes it a great option for hikers who want to experience the thrill of climbing a 14er without taking on a more challenging route.
  • Stunning Views: The Mount Bierstadt Trail offers some of the most stunning views in Colorado, with panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains, including nearby peaks like Mount Evans and Grays Peak.
  • Variety of Terrain: The Mount Bierstadt Trail features a variety of terrain, including alpine tundra, boulder fields, and a rocky summit. This makes for an exciting and varied hiking experience, with plenty of opportunities to challenge yourself.
  • Wildlife Encounters: The trail is home to a variety of wildlife, including marmots, pika, mountain goats, and bighorn sheep. Hikers may also spot other animals such as elk, deer, and black bears. Observing these animals in their natural habitat can be an unforgettable experience.
  • Convenient Location: Located just an hour’s drive from Denver, the Mount Bierstadt Trail is a convenient destination for hikers who want to escape the city and immerse themselves in nature. With a relatively short drive, you can be on the trail and enjoying the beauty of the mountains.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Daypack, Trekking Poles, Water Bottle, Headlamp, Sunscreen, Sunglasses


Quandary Peak Trail

Trail Length: 6.8 Miles | Difficulty Level: Difficult | Elevation Gain: 3,450 Feet | Trailhead: Quandary Peak Trailhead

The Quandary Peak Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in Colorado, known for its stunning alpine scenery and challenging terrain. With an elevation of 14,265 feet, Quandary Peak is one of Colorado’s famous “14ers,” attracting thousands of hikers every year. The trail offers a unique and challenging hiking experience that is perfect for experienced hikers looking for a challenge.

Reasons to Hike Quandary Peak Trail:

  • Stunning Alpine Scenery: The trail offers breathtaking views of the surrounding alpine landscape, with rugged peaks, deep valleys, and alpine lakes.
  • Challenging Hike: With an elevation gain of over 3,300 feet, this trail is challenging and requires a good level of fitness and stamina.
  • 14,000-Foot Summit: The Quandary Peak Trail leads to the summit of Quandary Peak, one of Colorado’s famous “14ers,” offering hikers an opportunity to summit a challenging peak.
  • Wildlife Viewing: Hikers may encounter various wildlife along the trail, such as mountain goats, marmots, and bighorn sheep.
  • Accessibility: Located only a short drive from Breckenridge, the Quandary Peak Trail is easily accessible and a popular hiking destination for visitors to the area.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Trekking Poles, Daypack, Water Bottle, Headlamp, Sunscreen, Windbreaker


Longs Peak Trail

Trail Length: 12.4 Miles | Difficulty Level: Very Difficult | Elevation Gain: 5,100 Feet | Trailhead: Longs Peak Trailhead

The Longs Peak Trail is one of the most challenging and rewarding hikes in Colorado. At over 14,000 feet, Longs Peak is one of Colorado’s “14ers,” attracting hikers and mountaineers from around the world. The trail offers stunning views of the Rocky Mountains and requires a good level of fitness and experience, making it a true bucket-list adventure.

Reasons to Hike Longs Peak Trail:

  • Summiting a 14er: Standing at 14,259 feet, Longs Peak is a challenging yet rewarding summit for any experienced hiker or mountaineer.
  • Stunning Views: The trail offers breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains and the surrounding alpine landscape.
  • Wildlife Sightings: Hikers may encounter various wildlife species, including bighorn sheep, elk, marmots, and yellow-bellied marmots.
  • Outdoor Adventure: The Longs Peak Trail is a true outdoor adventure, requiring a good level of fitness and experience, making it a bucket-list adventure.
  • Sense of Accomplishment: The Longs Peak Trail is a challenging hike that rewards hikers with a great sense of accomplishment upon reaching the summit.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Trekking Poles, Backpack, Water Bottle, Sunscreen, Map, Compass, First Aid Kit


Mount Elbert Trail

Trail Length: 9 Miles | Difficulty Level: Difficult | Elevation Gain: 4,700 Feet | Trailhead: Mount Elbert Trailhead

Mount Elbert Trail is a must-visit for avid hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. As the highest peak in Colorado, it offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain ranges and a challenging yet rewarding hiking experience. This popular trail attracts many visitors throughout the year who come to test their skills and endurance in a stunning alpine environment.

Reasons to Hike Mount Elbert Trail:

  • Highest Peak in Colorado: Standing at an elevation of 14,440 feet, Mount Elbert is the highest peak in Colorado and one of the most sought-after peaks to hike in the state.
  • Stunning Views: As you ascend to the summit, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the surrounding mountain ranges and alpine lakes that dot the landscape.
  • Challenging Hike: The Mount Elbert Trail is a challenging hike, with steep inclines, rocky terrain, and high altitude. It’s perfect for experienced hikers looking for a challenge and a chance to push themselves.
  • Wildlife Spotting: Mount Elbert is home to a variety of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and marmots. Hikers may have the opportunity to spot some of these animals along the way.
  • Year-Round Accessibility: Although the trail is covered in snow during the winter months, it’s accessible year-round for those who are prepared for the challenging conditions.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Shoes, Trekking Poles, Hydration Pack, Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Hat, Warm Layers


San Luis Peak Trail

Trail Length: 12 Miles | Difficulty Level: Moderate | Elevation Gain: 3,396 Feet | Trailhead: Stewart Creek Trailhead

The San Luis Peak Trail is a stunning trek that takes you to the highest summit in the La Garita Wilderness. This challenging but rewarding trail takes you through forests, streams, and alpine tundras, with breathtaking panoramic views throughout the hike. A must-do for any serious hiker looking for a memorable adventure in Colorado.

Reasons to Hike San Luis Peak Trail:

  • Majestic Views: Enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and alpine lakes from the summit.
  • Solitude: The trail is less crowded compared to other 14ers in Colorado, providing a peaceful hiking experience.
  • Well-Marked Trail: The trail is well-maintained and easy to follow, making it accessible for hikers of different skill levels.
  • Wildlife Sightings: Keep an eye out for wildlife, such as elk and bighorn sheep, that are known to roam the area.
  • Adventure: Hiking this 14er is a thrilling adventure that offers a sense of accomplishment upon reaching the summit.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Trekking Poles, Backpack, Water Bottles, Snacks, Sunscreen, Sunglasses


Conundrum Hot Springs Trail

Trail Length: 17 Miles | Difficulty Level: Difficult | Elevation Gain: 2,500 Feet | Trailhead: Conundrum Creek Trailhead

Conundrum Hot Springs Trail is a popular hiking trail in Colorado that leads to a picturesque natural hot spring nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. The trail offers breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks and meandering streams. It is a challenging hike that takes you through varied terrain and elevations, making it a favorite among adventure enthusiasts. The trail is open year-round, but it is particularly popular during the summer months when the weather is mild.

Reasons to Hike Conundrum Hot Springs Trail:

  • Natural Hot Springs: One of the main attractions of the trail, the natural hot springs provide a relaxing and rejuvenating experience after a long hike.
  • Beautiful Scenery: The trail offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains, meadows, and forests, especially in the fall when the foliage turns into vibrant colors.
  • Wildlife Spotting: Keep an eye out for the various wildlife that call the area home, including deer, elk, moose, and black bears.
  • Camping Opportunities: There are several designated campsites along the trail, allowing hikers to extend their trip and fully immerse themselves in the wilderness.
  • Waterfalls: Along the way, hikers will come across several cascading waterfalls, adding to the overall picturesque experience of the trail.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Trekking Poles, Backpack, Water Bottles, Headlamp, Sleeping Bag, Bear Canister


Maroon Bells Trail

Trail Length: 3.6 Miles | Difficulty Level: Easy | Elevation Gain: 500 Feet | Trailhead: Maroon Bells Scenic Area

The Maroon Bells trail is one of the most popular and iconic hikes in Colorado. Situated in the Elk Mountains, the trail takes hikers through stunning alpine scenery, including breathtaking views of the Maroon Bells peaks and the pristine Maroon Lake. With its challenging elevation gain and picturesque beauty, this trail is a must-do for any serious hiker.

Reasons to Hike Maroon Bells Trail:

  • Stunning Views: The Maroon Bells are some of the most photographed peaks in North America and offer breathtaking scenery.
  • Wildlife: Keep your eyes peeled for the abundant wildlife in the area, including elk, deer, and bighorn sheep.
  • Hiking Options: There are multiple trails to choose from, ranging from easy strolls to challenging hikes.
  • Fall Colors: The aspen trees in the area put on a spectacular display of gold and orange in the fall.
  • Accessibility: The trailhead is easily accessible by car and there are shuttle services available from Aspen.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Hiking Poles, Backpack, Water Bottle, Headlamp, Sunscreen, Rain Jacket


Ice Lake Trail

Trail Length: 8.3 Miles | Difficulty Level: Difficult | Elevation Gain: 2,433 Feet | Trailhead: South Mineral Campground

Ice Lake Trail is a picturesque hike located in the San Juan National Forest of southwestern Colorado. The trail features a beautiful alpine lake with crystal-clear turquoise waters surrounded by towering peaks, making it a popular destination for nature lovers, hikers, and photographers alike. The hike is moderately challenging and is about 7.5 miles round-trip, offering stunning views of the San Juan Mountains and wildflowers in the summer.

Reasons to Hike Ice Lake Trail:

  1. Scenic Beauty: The Ice Lake Trail offers stunning views of turquoise alpine lakes, wildflowers, waterfalls, and snow-capped peaks.
  2. Hiking Challenge: The trail is steep and gains significant elevation, making it a challenging hike for experienced hikers seeking a workout.
  3. Wildlife Spotting: Hikers may spot various wildlife, including mountain goats, marmots, and pika, on the trail.
  4. Photography Opportunities: The scenic beauty of the trail provides ample opportunities for landscape and wildlife photography.
  5. Camping Opportunities: The trail offers several campsites, and camping near the lake under the stars is a memorable experience for many hikers.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Daypack, Trekking Poles, Water Bottle, Headlamp, Sunscreen, Layered Clothing


Related Posts:

A Man and Woman Hiking up a Mountain Trail with Loaded Backpacks, Using Trekking Poles to Aid the Climb

Best Trekking Poles

Embark on a journey into the world of trekking poles! Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a novice explorer, trekking poles can enhance your outdoor

Young couple with tent and backpacks camping in Colorado

Best Backpacking in Colorado

Embarking on a thrilling backpacking adventure through the picturesque landscapes of Colorado is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true. With its awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains, lush

An assortment of tactical gear arranged against a natural wood wall. In the center are a pair of tactical boots and a K-bar knife. To the left a Camouflage Bonnie hat, while to the right a camo backpack,, with a pistol and a pair of mirror sunglasses.

Best Camo Backpacks

Camo backpacks are great for hunting, camping, hiking, or just everyday use. They come in a variety of styles and colors, so you can find