FATMAP by Strava
Longs Peak

6 of the Best Challenging Hikes near Denver

If you seek a stiff workout in the mountains, make one of these tough trails your next objective.

Alpine Climbing, Hiking Easy, Moderate, Difficult, Severe

Longs Peak
Longs Peak Photo: Dustin Gaffke


The hills and mountains around Denver offer endless opportunities for a challenge. The city ends where the Rocky Mountains begin, so your workout close to home or your hotel could be a rigorous ascent. If a jog around the block just won’t do it for you, try summitting a nearby mountain instead. Take Chimney Gulch Trail from Golden and finish on top of Lookout Mountain, or scramble up Mount Morrison near Red Rocks Amphitheater. If you find yourself in Boulder, try the trails that climb Green Mountain, home of the famous Flatirons.

To unlock more challenges, venture deeper into the mountains. Try a grueling day hike or overnight backpack into an alpine wilderness, where Jasper and Devils Thumb Lakes lay near the Continental Divide. If your idea of a “Rocky Mountain High” is feeling light-headed at high altitude, try a Colorado 14er like Mount Bierstadt or Longs Peak. The difficult hikes on this list are just a sample of the challenges you can find near Denver. Start with these to test your mettle against the mountains, and to whet your appetite for more.

Routes included

Related guidebooks