I’ve been trying to blog for a month now, and just keep deleting things. A blogging block, of sorts. Actually, getting any work done has been terribly difficult! It’s so beautiful outside, the mountains call to me, my bicycle longingly sits by my window…
I’ve been asked by a lot of classmates and friends about places I hike near Denver. So, here is a list of some of my favorite hikes this summer. Vail friends, I realize these aren’t the “real” mountains, and no, there are no 14er’s included. Most of these are within 20-30 minutes of Denver, with a few other places interspersed in there. It’s like “hiking for dummies” in a way. Everyone needs to escape the everyday some days, and the exercise is good for both body and mind. It’s my weekly therapy; a whole lot cheaper than sitting in the counselor’s office! Most of these are off my Instagram from the summer–hopefully many more are to come!
1. Anything off of Morrison Road. Just drive up past Red Rocks, and stop at any number of trailheads between Morrison and Evergreen. There’s about 15 to choose from, and they are all beautiful.
2. O’Fallon Park, near Evergreen/Conifer. I seem to remember this day being a nice 5 miles, but there was plenty more to be had.
3. Staunton State Park. It’s a new state park, off of Hwy 285, just past Conifer. It’s a few bucks for a day pass, but very well maintained with nice picnic areas. I hiked 11 miles in the afternoon, and there were about 8 trails to choose from.
4. Mt. Evans. Does this even count as a “real” 14er, since you can drive all the way to the top? There is plenty of hiking to be had on the way up, but wait until a bit later in the season because of snow. I went up on my birthday in mid-June, and was really glad that I happened to still have my winter coat in the car, because it was freezing! Oh, and the mountain goats are freaking adorable. I just wanted to squeeze their faces, but I’m not an idiot.
(This was on the drive down Mt. Evans, I stopped at that lake and had lunch)
5. I put this one in especially for Molly. Because there is no hiking going on here. But it is also very inspirational and relaxing to lay on your back in Cheeseman Park and stare at the trees for a few hours. Do it.
6. Guanella Pass, Georgetown, Colorado. Love love love this place. And this bighorn sheep turned to show me his good side when I stopped to photograph him.
This is Silver Dollar Trail, off of Guanella Pass. Beautiful. Be sure to hike it early in the day, because it’s above tree line and you don’t want to run into lightening…like I did…
7. Lair O’ the Bear and Bear Creek Trail. This is easy peasy. Trail running, mountain biking, or just a relaxing walk through the woods. I even come here when I’m mad sometimes, so I can kick a few rocks around and walk it off. Just past Morrison. I’ve done engagement photos here, it’s a great spot, but bring bug spray.
8. Vail. Ahem. Can’t help it… love my Vail. In the summer, you can hike up the mountain and ride the Gondola down for free. Or be lazy and buy a ticket, ride the Gondola up, and hike around the top– Ptarmigan ridge is a favorite of mine. The view of the Gore Range is unbeatable.
9. Buena Vista. This is a drive from Denver, about 100 miles south on Hwy 285. Probably my favorite drive anywhere, though. And there’s a ton of 14er’s right there to choose from for more serious hiking, and a lot of easier ones for those who get out of breath more quickly. BV is my favorite place to escape and recharge, not to mention getting to visit with some of my favorite people.
10. The Colorado Trail, Kenosha Pass. Off of Hwy 285, I recently stopped there on a drive home from Buena Vista. Anywhere with aspens is home to me.
11. Glenwood Canyon. The farthest away from Denver on my list, but what kind of Coloradan would I be if I didn’t put a photo of Hanging Lake up? My only suggestion for this hike/bike ride is to do it as early as possible. The hoards o tourists show up at about 8:15 am, and I’m talking thousands. It was pretty quiet when I got there at 7am though. Try it just once in your life!
And of course, if you refuse to leave the city, but still need a moment to relax, get yourself outside and walk over to Cheeseman park. If you’re nice, I’ll even loan you my football to throw around.