10 Fun Rocky Mountain Summer Hikes Near Denver

Our Denver contributors aimed to hike nearly every weekend this summer. Personally, I’d lace up my waterproof Columbia Sportswear hiking boots and fill my daypack with water and crave the adventure that comes with a new hike in the mountains.

So, after another summer of exploring the Rocky Mountain trails just outside of Denver, Colo., the adventurers at The Adventure Tribune decided to compile a list of our favorite hikes of the summer.

Our list requirements included: first-hand experience from one of our contributors, overall trail enjoyment, and scenery. So, without further hesitation, here are our favorite summer adventure hikes near Denver:

1. Royal Arch; Boulder
This steep climb ends at a natural arch and produces one of the best bird’s eye views of Denver that you can find.

2. Brainard Lake; Ward
After making the drive from Denver, this over-the-river and through-the-woods hike takes you around a crystal clear mountain lake.

3. Apex Trail; Golden
Though this hike doesn’t increase drastically in elevation, it takes hikers through a range of natural scenery.

4. Chautauqua Flatirons; Boulder
Nestled near the University of Colorado’s campus, these distinct rock formations provide increased elevation and fun trails with crazy views.

5. Flagstaff; Boulder
A decent drive from Denver, these rock-heavy trails will provide one of the most expansive views you’ll see.

6. Buffalo Bill’s Gravesite; Golden
An offshoot trail from Lookout Mountain, this trail takes you along a rocky ridge until you reach the final resting place of the famed adventurer, Buffalo Bill.

7. Dowdy Lake; Red Feather Lakes
This peaceful mountain lake instills a sense of tranquility in adventurers who hike around the forested area.

8. Gem Lake Trail; Estes Park
After a solid trek upwards in elevation, this mountain lake pops like an advertisement for nature itself.

9. Mt. Margaret; Red Feather Lakes
This trail takes hikers through mountain marshes and thin forests before reaching the boulder-climbing summit.

10. Lookout Mountain; Golden
Adventure up the aptly-named trail, which takes hikers through grassy meadows and across rivers until reaching the final reward: a panoramic view of the Rocky Mountains.

Again, this list is by no means comprehensive of every hike near Denver. It’s simply a list of our personal favorite hikes of the summer. If you had an adventure on another Colorado trail, let us know! Send your lists to and make your voice heard.


Tom Malone is the Editor-In-Chief of The Adventure Tribune and author of adventure novels, like Across Americana. He is based in Denver, Colorado, where he adventures through the Rocky Mountains while not traveling abroad.
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