What can be better than Colorado in the summertime, with its brilliant blue skies and jaw-dropping scenery? It’s the kind of splendor that deserves to be seen up close.
Luckily, there’s no shortage of hikes in the state that allow you to encounter spectacular scenery along with some exhilarating exercise. Here are 4 great hikes within a two-hour drive of Denver, recommended by thrillist:
Booth Falls Trail, 101 miles from Denver: This is a “straight up trail,” so consider yourself warned! The reward of the magnificent 60-foot-high Booth Falls, however, is well worth the sweat. And on the way up, you’ll also encounter splendid views of the Gore Range. Take this trek in the fall, and you’ll have the bonus treat of “shimmering gold aspens” to enhance the trip!
Mayflower Gulch Trail, 78 miles from Denver: This easy hike takes you through “a thick forest, fields of wildflowers and old mining cabins,” says thrillist. And if you’re willing to tackle a not-so-easy extra half-mile beyond these, you’ll see views of expansive meadows backed by glorious “sawtooth” peaks.
Stone Lake, 96 miles from Denver: “For a classic hike to a high-alpine lake, it’s hard to beat the Stone Lake trail,” notes thrillist. You’ll start on the east side of Granby Lake and ascend to “ridiculously photogenic views of the Indian Peaks.” You’ll see the remains of an old cabin, patches of wild raspberries and, finally, the lake itself. thrillist warns that this is a “tough trek.” Be sure to work up to it with easier hikes first.
Storm Pass Trail to Estes Cone, 67 miles from Denver: Your destination is the Cone, “a really big round mound formed by natural erosion,” notes the thrillist. But the journey provides most of the rewards. You’ll see amazing views of Estes Valley, the Mummy Range, the Continental Divide, Longs Peak, Mount Meeker and Twin Sisters along the way. Start on the Storm Pass Trail, then veer onto the Estes Cone Trail. And be sure and start early, as afternoon lightning storms present dangers.