Looking to get out to the Great Outdoors, but don’t want to venture too far from home? Check out these 9 great hiking spots, all within a 45 minute drive from Parker!
1. Castlewood Canyon State Park, Franktown – 24 mins from Parker
Located to the south of Parker, with the Cherry Creek smack in the middle, is the Castlewood Canyon. This is a great stop for both outdoor enthusiasts and families on a weekend adventure. There’s plenty of rocks to climb and tables to throw a picnic.
The park is a great spot to take photos. Our favorite route to take is the Inner Canyon Loop Trail. Along this 5.8 mile path, you’ll pass a rocky waterfall and the ruins of the old Castlewood Dam. Dogs are allowed along for the fun, but should be kept on a leash.
2. South Valley Park, Littleton – 31 mins from Parker
The trails of the South Valley are great for a late afternoon hike or run. Minutes west of Ken Caryl, this 900-acre park is kid-friendly and great for fans of bird watching.
Check out the 3-mile Coyote Song Trail Loop to get great views of the lake and red rock formations. Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash. Get the best views in the early morning or just before sunset.
3. Mount Falcon Park, Morrison – 36 mins from Parker
A short drive from the city, Mount Falcon is a popular destination for Denver locals, hikers, bikers, dog walkers, and horse riders. From its grassy meadows to its rocky hills, the park has 11 trails of moderate difficulty.
Take the 6.7 mile Mount Falcon Castle Trail Loop to spot the neat lookout tower and castle ruins. This spot has fantastic views all year round, so don’t forget to bring your camera.
4. Roxborough State Park, Littleton – 37 mins from Parker
The 3,000 acre Roxborough State Park is iconic for its red-rock formations. With five trails of easy to moderate difficulty, this park is great for a hike with the kids. Our favorite route is the 6.4 mile Carpenter’s Peak Trail up to the foothill summit.
From the overlook you will be able to easily spot the rock formations of the Fountain Valley, the city of Denver to the Northeast and the mountains of Pike National Forest to the West. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed along for this one.
5. Matthews Winters Park, Golden – 39 mins from Parker
Scramble up the steep climb of the trail up Mount Morrison. This park offers a great selection of nine trails ranging from easy to difficult. Across the street is Dino Ridge, where you can see real dinosaur fossils. In the hot months, cool off in the river near the trailhead.
If you’re up for a challenge, we recommend taking the trek up the 3.2 mile Mount Morrison South Ridge Trail. Reach the mountain’s summit and bask in the glory. The views from the top are worth the effort, we promise.
6. Lair o’ the Bear Park, Idledale – 43 mins from Parker
Lair o’ the Bear Park is a family favorite with lots of picnic tables and great spots for fishing. The path is mostly shaded and rather flat the whole way, and also easily accessible – as it is in the foothills.
We recommend taking the easy 2-mile Bear Creek Trail to the Castle to see the cool ruins. Dogs allowed but should be on a leash.
7. Genesee Park, Golden – 44 mins from Parker
Genesee is Native American for “shining valley”. At over 2,000 acres, Genesee Park is the largest Denver mountain park. It’s also home to the city’s historic bison herd. Genesee divides into two parts that each offer up their own experience.
The 5.1 mile Chavez and Beaver Brook Trail Loop is our favorite with a nice mix of elevation changes along the creek. You are more than welcome to bring your furry friends here but should leash them.
8. Mount Galbraith Park, Golden – 45 mins from Parker
Mount Galbraith Park is five miles of rough, rocky trail that rewards with its great views. There are few trees along the route which allows for a great view in all directions. Yet, the lack of trees also means there is very little protection from the sun. Bring your sunscreen and extra water on this one.
The 4-mile Mount Galbraith Loop via Cedar Gulch Trail is our recommendation. The route circles around the top of the 7,000-foot peak. Dogs allowed at this park, but keep on a leash.
9. North Table Mountain Park, Golden – 45 mins from Parker
The North Table Mountain formed from ancient lava flows around 60 million years ago. This park includes 12 moderate to difficult trails ranging over 15 miles. The best time to hike this area is in the Spring and early Summer when the wildflowers begin to bloom.
Our favorite is the North Table Mountain and Rim Rock Loop which has great views of Denver and Golden. It can get steep at times with no shade to shelter you from the sun, so prepare during those hot months.
Have you hiked one of these trails? Have another favorite? We want to hear about it! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We may feature your experience in a future blog post!