Family-friendly Colorado hiking trails
Are you looking to log some time on the trails with your family during this late summer season? Well, there’s no shortage of nature to discover out here in Colorado.
Here are 5 of the best day hikes for families in Colorado, from Denver to the Western Slope.
Best family-friendly day hikes near Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins
These three towns are full of nearby hiking opportunities that anyone can enjoy. It’d be impossible to list them all, but here are a few favorites.
At 1.7 miles round trip, even the younger kids can enjoy exploring this trail in Morrison’s Lair O’ the Bear Park.
It’s also a great place to go to escape the heat, thanks to the cool waters of Bear Creek and the ample shade. You can even keep going in either direction after the official trail ends if your family wants to explore further.
An easy drive from Boulder, Lost Lake Trail is a heavily used trail in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area (if you can go on a weekday, opt for that.) At 3.6 miles it might be a bit much for some children, but your reward is a stunning alpine lake and some excellent views throughout the entire trail. And, since you’re higher up in elevation, the temperature will be more moderate during the summer.
If you can make it to Boulder but aren’t quite up for the drive to the Hessie Trailhead, have a look at Chautauqua Park’s
trail map. There are tons of trails for the whole family to enjoy, though be prepared for hot temperatures.
There are a few trails to choose from here, so show up and pick the one that sounds best!
Bobcat Ridge is a great place to spend the day wandering through grassy valleys and ponderosa pines while trying to spot elk, wild turkey, and other animals. You can also explore historic homestead sites and participate in educational programs, giving the family a chance to learn about the diverse nature of the area.
Kid-friendly hiking on the Western Slope
Escape the Front Range crowds and head over to Colorado’s Western Slope for some one-of-a-kind trails that you’ll remember for years to come.
Rifle Falls State Park is home to a surprising number of waterfalls, and there’s only 70 feet in elevation change along the trails here. These features make it a great place to get outside if you have young children or children who can’t hike longer distances.
There are three trails to choose from, each ranging from 1.5 miles to 2 miles roundtrip.
If you haven’t visited Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park yet, start planning your trip. This park offers vertigo-inducing views of Colorado’s massively narrow and deep Black Canyon, and the Oak Flat Trail is one excellent way to see those views.
The trail is 2 miles round trip and suitable for many different levels. Consider packing a picnic lunch and having a family meal near one of the overlooks to turn this into a fun day hike. Just be sure to watch little ones along the rocks — there aren’t any guardrails and the sheer drop-offs are steep.