With the weather slowly starting to cool, an excellent way to get out and enjoy the lower temps, is to hit the trails! There are so many great hikes in Colorado…too many to count! As most hikers know, some trails are a little more difficult than others, and there is nothing worse than getting stuck on a trail that you’re not comfortable with- especially if you are with your family! We’ve made a list of 5 great hikes for the family that are not only short and easy to moderate, but they also boast beautiful landscapes and great views. Plus these hikes are guaranteed to help you make great memories with your loved ones!
Mt. Falcon: Castle & Tower Trail
Length& Trail Type: 2.4 mile Loop
This hike features beautiful wildflowers, and gorgeous views of Denver, Red Rocks and the mountains. The trail is quite wide and flat, and shade is dispersed throughout. Once at the top you can find a fire tower and castle ruins. Dogs are allowed on the trail but they do need to be leashed.
*Tip: Start at the West Trailhead. The West Trailhead start is not as steep as the East, and it is typically not as busy.
After your hike: Hit the town in Morrison and grab lunch at The Cow Eatery. We suggest trying their Mango Goat Cheese Salad, or one of their many Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.
Golden Gate Canyon: Raccoon Trail
Length & Trail Type: 4 miles, Loop
This hike is fairly easy and takes you through meadows with a lot of shade, so exposure isn’t much of a concern. In the spring and summer the wildflowers are abundant and beautiful, if you choose to go in the fall, it is a great hike to view the leaves changing colors. You have two options for beginning your hike, you can either start at the Panorama Point Trailhead or at the Reverend Ridge Campground Trailhead. We recommend starting at the Panorama Point Trailhead.
After your hike: Head over to CO-72 and stop at the Wondervu cafe for a quick bite off the beaten path.
Eldorado Canyon: Fowler Trail
Length & Trail Type: 4 miles, Out and Back
This hike is fairly easy, with a relatively flat trail. The path will take you along a river, and through a canyon. While there is some shade, parts of the hike are exposed to a lot of sun. The perfect time for this hike is early morning or late afternoon, when the air is cooler and the sun isn’t too strong.
After the hike: Hit the Southern Sun for light pub fair to help you regain your energy.
Clear Creek Trail, Golden Colorado
Length & Trail Type: 1.8 miles, Out and Back
This portion of Clear Creek Trail is fairly short. Parts of the path are paved, it then opens up to a wide, flat trail. The hike takes you along the river, and is moderately shaded. Dogs are allowed if they are leashed. If it is particularly hot out, we recommend bringing an inner tube and joining the other tubers and kayakers for a float. If you do plan on getting in the water, make sure the water isn’t too strong and quick, and have your little ones wear life jackets.
After your hike: Head down to Washington Ave. for a walk through historic downtown Golden. There you’ll find a lot of great local shops and restaurants. We recommend stopping by D’deli, for their Aspen Buddha sandwich and if you’re craving a sweet treat afterwards, head a few doors down from D’deli to Golden Sweets for some locally made ice cream!
Beaver Brook-Chavez Trail
Length & Trail Type: 5 miles, Loop
Difficulty: Moderate w/ occasional rough spot
This hike starts on Beaver Brook Trail returns on the Chavez trail. During the hike you’ll cross small streams, and make your way down into a canyon. Close to bottom of the canyon it does get a little steep and rocky so be sure to keep an eye on your little ones. At Beaver Brook you’ll see signage for Chavez trail. Chavez Trail follows Beaver Brook Trail through granite canyons and rock faces then heads back up into the forest.
After your hike: Jump in the car for a quick 10 minute drive to Illegal Burger Evergreen. If you’re looking to keep things healthy, we recommend substituting their beef patty for turkey, or trying out their vegan burger!
Lake Gulch Trail
Length & Trail Type: 1.7 Miles, Loop
Located in Castlewood Canyon State Park near Franktown, the Lake Gulch Trail is an easy hike that is great for all skill levels. It features great views, and has fun changes in terrain and scenery. Your little ones will enjoy scrambling over rocks, and the small stream crossing. If you feel like 1.7 miles is too short, we recommend adding the Creek Bottom out and back trail which brings you to an old dam, and makes the total hike length about 4 miles.
After your hike: Find great tacos and green chili at Adriana’s Mexican Restaurant, just 10 minutes from the Lake Gulch trailhead, off of CO-86.