“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”- Henry David Thoreau
While certainly Ken and I spend a lot of time assisting clients in the purchases and sales of their homes, we also find a big part of our job is helping newcomers to Colorado get to know the area and to settle in to their new homes and neighborhoods.
One thing I frequently talk to new Coloradans about is where to get out and enjoy the outdoors. After all, the mountains and active lifestyle rank at the top of the list of reasons people move to our area and newcomers are always curious about the best places to get out for some exercise, fresh air, and to experience the mountains on the front range trails.
Here is a list of unique and beautiful hikes, front range trails, and parks that I recommend again and again for folks new to the area who want to get acquainted with the great outdoors.
Mount Sanitas: The quintessential Boulder hike, Mount Sanitas is a short and challenging loop to its rugged summit, and along its east face. Hikers will enjoy views of the Boulder Flatirons and views over Boulder and out to the eastern plains.
An afternoon view of the Flatirons from Sanitas.
The Sanitas loop is about 3 miles in total and more ambitious folks can add on mileage by connecting with the Lion’s Lair trail that runs west from the summit of Sanitas. I love this trail for its accessibility (it’s a 10 minute drive to the trailhead from central Boulder) and its short and challenging nature. It’s my go-to when I want to hit the dirt and get in a quick workout.
Washington Park: Known as Wash Park to the locals, this is one of the nicest parks in the Denver metro. Wash Park encompasses 155 acres of manicured and beautiful grounds including two lakes and multiple gardens. Walking and biking paths abound, and charming, historic Denver properties line the park on all sides. Check out interesting shopping and dining nearby on Old South Gaylord Street. Wash Park is the perfect place for an easy, urban stroll, a picnic on a lazy afternoon, and Denver people-watching.
Bobolink: Bobolink in southeast Boulder is a beautiful, flat, and easy 6 mile round-trip jaunt. This front range trail is wide, perfect for accommodating strollers, dogs, bikes, and much more. The views of the mountains are stunning and the trail runs by a babbling creek. Dogs are allowed on the first half of the trail but after that Fido has to turn around because much of the land around the Bobolink trail is used by area farmers and cows roam free. Bonus points for visiting this trail in early spring when the baby cows are born.
Sloan’s Lake: Sloan’s Lake is the biggest lake in Denver, and at 177 acres, it’s the city’s second largest park. It’s one of the best parks for catching a sunset, with stunning views of the Rocky Mountains and Denver skyline.
Sunrise at Sloan’s Lake.
Sloan’s Lake park also has two playgrounds for the kids, and a paved walking, running, and biking trail around the lake. There are always people out enjoying this urban oasis, especially after work time and on the weekends, so it’s a great place to get a feel for the city.
Bear Peak: There is an ongoing joke in my women’s running group about our love/hate relationship with front range trail Bear Peak. Bear Peak is a 7 mile, difficult and sometimes grueling hike, up to the second highest Boulder peak. For your efforts, Bear Peak towers over Boulder and provides beautiful views of the mountains, out west to the Continental Divide, and out over the eastern plains. This is a good hike for those up for a challenge and a great workout, but not yet ready for back country hiking or 14ers. Plus, it’s close in to Boulder and highly trafficked so while hikers should always be aware of their surroundings and pay attention to the trail map, it’s unlikely someone would get lost on this trail. Take plenty of water and snacks on this hike and start early to avoid the afternoon heat and thunderstorms.
Mount Galbraith: Just outside of Golden, the Mount Galbraith trail is hiking trail with moderate elevation gain and difficulty. It’s a 4 mile round trip loop. It’s a great jaunt for newcomers wanting to get a taste of the mountains and city views of Denver and Golden are very pretty.
Happy hiking… we hope you enjoy our list of front range trails! Until next time!
Allison and Ken