The Outdoors,  Travel Guides

Best Hikes Near Denver: Winter Edition

These days, it’s winter and there’s a 100% chance it’s already snowing in Denver. With Midwestern roots, I don’t necessarily love the cold, but I accept and even appreciate a change in season. Honestly, I feel it builds some character. You have to be ready for anything. Anything like…16-year-old-me whipping my 2000 Oldsmobile two-door that my father claimed: “has brand new tires” at 6:30 AM through the ice and negative temperatures to get myself, my sister, and her friend to school on time. That kind of character. I mean, their (my) perfect attendance record was in my hands. 

Anyway, I might get some flack for this…but Denver kinda has it made in the winter. You get pretty snow that melts the next day with that beautiful sun shining 365. Not to mention, milder temperatures. And with that, the hiking season really never ends. Of course, it’s colder and snowier up in the mountains but there are several trails that remain accessible throughout the season. I spent the last 4 weekends exploring to find which trails can be accessed by the average hiker. There is no ice climbing or snowshoeing involved here. Just 5 of the best hikes near Denver to cure cabin fever this season. Of course, if you’re not interested in hiking this winter check out Denver Winter Outdoor Activities…if You Don’t Ski.

Carpenter Peak in Roxborough State Park

Carpenter Peak Day Hike Near Denver
  • Drive time: 45 minutes 
  • Length: 6 miles out-and-back
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Fees: Yes, $10 day-pass

Carpenter Peak is the first of three state park hikes on this list. Winter hiking in state parks feels comfy and cozy to me. They have diligent staff/volunteers & resources that help to keep trails accessible. They also update trail conditions frequently. This reinforces safety and a good time on your trek. There are large parking lots, bathrooms, and a visitors center at the trailhead. If you’re not loving the length of this hike there are several other options in the park that remain accessible throughout the winter. Here is a trail map with various lengths and difficulties throughout the park. Sorry, no dogs are allowed.

Evergreen Mountain Via East/West Trail Loop

Evergreen Mountain: Best Hikes Near Denver
  • Drive Time: 40 minutes 
  • Length: 5.5 Mile Loop 
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Fees: None

I recommend picking up the Evergreen Mountain trail from the east trailhead parking lot of Alderfer/Three Sisters Park. It’s a small parking lot with bathrooms and you can also park along the road. The All Trails directions will take you there. IMPORTANT: When you park, you’ll have to cross the road to get to the trail! There will be a point in the trail where you’ll have the option to continue onto the West trail or go up the Summit trail to the left…take the Summit trail! Then, follow the sign to the “scenic overlook” for the very best and coolest view. When you come down the Summit trail, continue your descent on the West trail to make it a loop. Alderfer/Three sisters park offers many other trails that remain accessible as well. You can view the trail map here and create your own route. Dogs are welcome :)

BONUS: Go to Revival Brewing in Evergreen after your hike to get some delish grub and seasonal brews 🍻 

The Fowler Trail in Eldorado Canyon State Park

  • Drive Time: 45 minutes 
  • Length: 4 miles out-and-back
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Fees?: Yes, $10 day-pass 

It was my first time at Eldorado Canyon and wow it delivers the views. This is the easiest trail on the list and I saw lots of bigger groups, so I think it’s a perfect trail to try around the holidays with family. The parking lot is pretty small, but there are several options, you just might have to walk a bit to the trailhead. Also, there is a point in the hike where you leave the state park, I encourage you to keep going past this point until you get to the “rock tunnel”. After that, you can probably turn around. If you’re looking for more of a challenge or want to spend more time exploring the park there are several more trails you can check out on their site. There are bathrooms at the trailhead and dogs are welcome on a leash! 

Ute and Rangeview Trail in Boulder Mountain Park

  • Drive Time: 45 ish minutes 
  • Length: 1.1-mile loop
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Fees?: $5 parking 

This is one I plan to add to my evergreen list of Day Hikes Near Denver for Out-of-Towners. At 1.1 miles and a moderate climb, it’s just enough of a push to make your guests feel accomplished without taking up the whole day. It’s versatile as a loop hike and offers gorgeous views of Boulder as well as the snowy peaks we love to see. Doggos are welcome on a leash. CAUTION: the drive up to this hike is pretty topsy-turvy so I don’t recommend this one after a heavy snowfall. Of course, Boulder Mountain Park and Chautauqua Park are neighbors in Boulder. Both make a great choice for winter hiking!

Castle, Meadow & Tower Trails in Mt. Falcon Park

  • Drive time: 30 minutes
  • Length: 2.5-mile loop 
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Fees?: None 

A true classic, Mt. Falcon Park offers killer views and is a short drive from the city, making it a picture-perfect option as one of the best hikes near Denver in the winter. On the Castle, Meadow, and Tower trail loop you’ll get two look-out towers, a short but reasonably challenging incline, and some forest hiking. This is another park that offers other winter-accessible hiking options. Take a look at the trail map if you want to forge your own path. There is a large parking lot, the bathrooms are a bit down the trail, and dogs are most definitely allowed! 

BONUS: Go to Mac Nation Cafe afterward. They serve giant Mac and Cheese bowls to honor the flavors of each state. So yes, there are 50 Mac and Cheese options 😯

Save this post for when you start to feel seasonal affective disorder coming on and share it to let your friends know about the 5 best hikes near Denver this winter season. Don’t let the winter weather take your outdoor time away this year. Just go with it and hike this winter!

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