When I moved to Colorado 15 years ago hiking was something The Husband and I did nearly every weekend. We packed the dogs into the car and set out to explore the high-country or hikes near Denver if we were short on time. We had no agenda and rarely did we pick our hike in advance, and sometimes we found ourselves stuck on the side of a mountain. But there was always a cold beer from a local brewery waiting to toast the adventure. Fast-forward 15-years. Two kids, wimpy girls, who’s past time is to complain about being tired and bored. Our hiking days were numbered when they began speaking and they ended when the girls got to heavy to carry in a hiking backpack.
I’m happy to announce that our two-year hiatus from hiking ended this summer. The Husband and I agreed the kids weren’t going to keep us from hiking any longer but we needed to change our expectations and difficulty levels. In other words, a seven-mile hike was out of the question. We had to keep things easy and under about two miles. Oh, and the drive time couldn’t exceed an hour. The latter was more for my patience…
It’s nearly August and we’ve gotten in several easy hikes near Denver with more to come. I’ve put together a short list of kid friendly hikes nears Denver based on the ability of my kids who are now five and seven. Again, they are wimpy girls who are in excellent shape but have limited stamina and complain (a lot) so we needed easy hikes near Denver with rivers, lakes or some historical sites to see along the way. These are also hikes we have done…and conquered. For more ideas on hikes near Denver make sure to check out Day Hikes Near Denver, it’s become one of my go-to’s for finding hikes our family can do together.
Do you have other suggestions for kid friendly hikes near Denver? Let me know in the comments, we’re always looking for more.
Six Kid Friendly Hikes Near Denver
Mount Falcon – Castle & Tower Hike
Want to hike to the ruins of a castle? In Colorado? Just 40 minutes outside of Denver you can hike the three-mile loop – Castle & Tower Hike – at Mount Falcon. It’s a fairly easy hike with some amazing panoramic views of downtown Denver the front range. Not to mention exploring the ruins what was going to be a castle aka the summer White House for U.S. Presidents. John Brisben Walker began constructing it in the early 1900’s but the economy did not allow for him to finish the project.
This is a perfect Colorado family hike with a variety of terrain, however it is one that receives a lot of love so expect company on the trail. There are three hike options for Maxwell Falls, a one mile, three mile loop or four mile trek. We did the three mile loop with our kids and they did great. If you’re not so sure you can make the three miles stick wit the Upper Trail Head. Make sure to take snacks or pack a picnic so you can grab a spot near the falls. (More details and directions for getting to Maxwell Falls.)
Matthew Winters Park
I’ve included Matthew Winters Park because I think it offers great fall and spring hikes near Denver. I would suggest the Village Walk or the Red Rocks Trail. Both can be sandy/rocky in the summer and given its lower elevation it can be hotter hike in the summer months. However, this elevation is perfect in the spring and fall since it will be warmer and less snow. (We’ve also encountered rattlesnakes along the hike during the summer months.) Regardless of the time of year you can expect excellent views of Red Rocks and the hogbacks.
Alder/Three Sisters Park
This is one of our go-to hikes with the kids. Not only is the terrain at Three Sisters Park easy but in the spring and early summer (even into July) you’re going to see vast meadows of wildflowers and a variety of migrating birds. The park is in Evergreen, about 40 minutes from Denver. It makes for an easy escape if you’re looking for cooler temperatures in the summer but don’t want to go all the way up to the high country. There are several trails in the park so make sure to grab a map at the trail head or download one here.
Lair O’ The Bear
The Creekside Loop, Bear Creek Trail, Brittlefern Trail and Bruin Bluff Trail at Lair O’ The Bear park are excellent family hikes near Denver. The park offers several picnic spots along Bear Creek and kids (and adults) can cool off in the creek during the summer months. Want to do any fishing? There are countless spots to stop along the trails. The trails themselves provide a lot of shade and are pretty leveled. There is mountain biking on several of these trails so kids will need to stick close and pick one side of the trail to walk along. If you want to avoid the bikers altogether, head to the hiker only trails – Creekside Loop and Brittlefern Trail.
One of my favorite hikes with the kids at Chautauqua Park is Enchanted Mesa but there are a number to choose from. Enchanted Mesa is an easy two-mile loop that takes you though a pine forest and stunning views of the Flat Irons. Chautauqua Park is right outside of the town of Boulder and if you time your hike in the summer or fall, I highly suggest you try to get in on the Theater Hikes at the park. It’s hiking with live entertainment. (It was also the first hike my kids did not complain about going on since Alice and the White Rabbit lead the way.)
Do you have other suggestions for kid friendly hikes near Denver?
Elaine Schoch (pronounced the German way – Shock) is the editor and founder of Carpe Travel as well as an award-winning travel writer, wine judge, certified by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 and certified American Wine Expert. She is married to The Husband and has two kids, Princess One and Two – who’s interest and knowledge in wine is quite extensive. Not to mention the stamps in their passports.