Our Denver family consists of everyone from the super-fit, to the arthritic, to the asthmatic. Finding easy hiking trails to make us all happy requires a bit of research. Luckily, the Denver area has a virtual endless maze of trails. There aren’t many couch potatoes in the Mile High City. Most of us get up and moving as often as possible. That being said, there are days when we want to take the kids hiking or just take a leisurely walk with a bit of a challenge thrown in. That’s when these easy Denver hiking trails come in.
Castle Trail at Mount Falcon, just west of Denver can be easy or hard. It depends on how far you want to push yourself. You choose your distance by taking different trail branches. This hike is for fair weather, to avoid slippery slopes. Pets are welcome as you can see by the picture of my son and daughter and one of her dogs. Kids will love the short hike to the “castle” ruins. The mountain views are spectacular on the way. If you go a bit further downhill from the “castle,” there’s also a wonderful view of local reservoirs.
Older kids should have no problem with any of the Castle Trail trail branches if you take it slow. Kids five and under might not be up to tackling the trail up Mt. Falcon for a view of Red Rocks Park. I know of three picnic shelters, one at each parking lot and one about a mile along the lower portion of one trail branch. There’s also an easy trail leading to some large rocks that can be quickly climbed for even better views.
Directions (courtesy of the Jefferson County open space website): “To access the park, take the Indian Hills turn-off from U.S. Highway 285, follow Parmalee Gulch Road for 5 miles to Picutis Road, then follow the signs to the west parking area. East access is available from Colorado Highway 8 south of Morrison. Turn west on Forest Avenue and north on Vine Avenue.”
Roxborough Park in Littleton isn’t just a housing development for the ultra rich. It’s also a Colorado State Park. If you have a parks pass, access to the trails there is free. Roxborough features towering red rocks and trails for the beginner or expert hiker. It’s an excellent place to go if your family is varied, like mine.
The serious hikers in the family can take on the challenge of the more difficult, longer trails, while the rest of the family goes on a short easy hike. Either way, the scenery is breathtaking. Most of the trails can be taken on in all weather (within reason). Be aware, the towering rocks can play games with your cell phone reception. No pets or camping are allowed in order to preserve this natural area.
Roxborough Park is relatively easy to find. It sits adjacent to Chatfield Reservoir in Littleton. Get detailed directions on the Colorado State Park website. The park is open all year from 7 a.m. To 8 p.m. daily.
We love Deer Creek Canyon Park and the Meadowlark / Plymouth Loop Trail. Our whole family can handle this easy to moderate hike. Plus, the scenery in Deer Creek Canyon is something every Denver resident should see. Leashed dogs are welcome on this 2.5 mile round-trip trail. The trail begins as an easy, open area walk and graduates to an uphill sloping climb. You cross Deer Creek on a footbridge, that’s where the Plymouth portion of the trail begins. Head left and downhill to end your hike. This portion of the trail can be hazardous in winter or rainy weather due to the steep rocky descent, but it’s relatively easy in warm dry weather.
Directions: Take C-470 south to Wadsworth. Take a right on Wadsworth, then 1/4 mile later, a right on Deer Creek Canyon Road. Turn left on Grizzly Drive, then right into the deer Creek Canyon parking area. You will see the trail-head there.
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