Photo courtesy Pexels/Teresa Johnson

Cool, crisp air and bright blue skies make for perfect hiking weather. The crunch of dry foliage and the lofty views of gold, red and orange foliage of the aspens is why fall is one of the best times to explore new hiking trails. There is nothing like an autumn hike up in the Rockies.

Fall is our favorite hiking season—it celebrates the last of summer’s heat and the beginning of crisp, cool days. Check out these day hikes to take near Denver, all less than a two-hour drive from AMLI’s Denver apartments. Don’t forget to bring a lot of water, multiple layers and your camera for these beautiful day hikes to take near Denver this fall.

 

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Lair o’ the Bear Park

30-minute drive from Denver

This park is perfect for spending the day in nature on a fall day. Getting here is easy from Denver and since it is low in the foothills, the temperatures remain mild. There are a variety of trails to explore, from easy routes that take you along Bear Creek to steeper incline hikes that lead you to overlooks of the valley below.

Devil’s Head Lookout Trail

1.5-hour drive from Denver

This 3-mile round trip hike is somewhat strenuous with a steady climb and more than 140 stairs to the top. You’ll see a breath-taking 360-degree view of the Pike National Forest that is worth the work to get to the top. Devil’s Head Lookout is well above the trees at 9,748 feet, and has stunning panoramic views of the changing fall leaves.

Sprague Lake Loop Trail

two-hour drive from Denver

The Sprague Lake loop is an easy hike in Rocky Mountain National Park that’s less than a mile long. The route is mostly flat and surfaced with gravel, making this hike a great option for families and children who tire easily. On this trail, you will see the mountains and aspens reflecting off the 12-acre lake along with views of the Continental Divide, Half Mountain, Taylor Peak, Otis Peak, Notchtop Mountain and much more.

Elk Falls Overlook

45-minute drive from Denver

If you’re up for a full day of hiking, Elk Falls trail at Staunton State Park is for you. This 11-mile round trip hike is challenging but amazing during the fall. You’ll walk through the heart of Staunton State Park, through ponderosa pine, creeks and ponds. At the highest point of the hike, you’ll get a great view of multi-tiered Elk Falls and its cliff face.

Butler Gulch

1-hour drive from Denver

This 5-mile round-trip hike will get you completely surrounded by mountains. There is a good level of incline—you’ll gain 1,200 feet—but the views from the top showcase the high-country, Continental Divide and changing fall colors. Be prepared for stream crossings and some steep climbing!

Lost Lake Trail

1-hour drive from Denver

This gentle 5-mile hike is perfect for moderate level hikers. It offers multiple waterfalls, wildlife and the changing leaves of the Aspens. Hike around Lost Lake for waterfront views of the Indian Peaks. This is a popular destination, so it’s best to go early in the day to avoid the crowds.

Mt. Bierstadt

1.5-hour drive from Denver

You’ll see plenty of turning aspens on this hike during the fall months! There are multiple hikes in this area that range from one-mile up to seven-miles with every difficulty level. You can summit Mount Bierstadt or go for an easy stroll through the Rockies.

Ouzel Falls

1.5-hour drive from Denver

This 5.5-mile moderate hike ends with a beautiful 40-foot waterfall. The trail to Ouzel Falls is surrounded by mountain streams, aspen trees and boulders. It’s a perfect day hike to take in Colorado’s fall colors and a fantastic cliff-side waterfall.

 

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Herman Gulch

1-hour drive from Denver

This 5-mile moderate hike leads you into the Front Range. You’ll walk through the canyon with a view of Clear Creek, mountain peaks and the Loveland ski area. You can hike even farther as this trail is connected to paths that trace through the Arapaho National Forest.

 

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Kenosha Pass

1.5-hour drive from Denver

The hike at Kenosha Pass is easy to moderate. You can take a short stroll or go up to 8 miles through trails of golden aspens. There are east and west trail options—both with stunning views. The first overlook comes after 1.5 miles where you’ll see the high country and out into the Rocky Mountains.

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Day Hikes to Take Near Denver this Fall

About Lauren Fischer


Lauren is a freelance web designer and writer out of Asheville, NC. Lauren has worked with a variety of businesses from manufacturing, healthcare, non-profits, and eCommerce shops to enhance their online presence. When she's not working, she's hiking with her dogs, cooking something tasty, or planning her next adventure.