Guidebook

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.

Description

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.

Chimney Gulch to Lookout Mountain Summit
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Chimney Gulch to Lookout Mountain Summit

2 - 3 hrs
11.4 km
487 m
487 m
Challenging ascent of Lookout Mountain from its base in the town of Golden.
Difficult
Private
Mount Morrison Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mount Morrison Trail

Denver
2 - 3 hrs
5.2 km
596 m
567 m
A tough ascent to the highpoint over Red Rocks Amphitheater.
Severe
Private
Green Mountain via Gregory Canyon
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Green Mountain via Gregory Canyon

2 - 3 hrs
7.7 km
707 m
707 m
A loop to the top of Boulder's most iconic mountain.
Severe
Private
Jasper and Devils Thumb Lakes
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Jasper and Devils Thumb Lakes

4 - 5 hrs
18.4 km
712 m
712 m
Long day hike or overnight trip into a wilderness area, with pristine alpine lakes near the Continental Divide.
Difficult
Private
Mount Bierstadt
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mount Bierstadt

11.7 km
823 m
Despite being known as one of Colorado's easier 14ers, the climb up Bierstadt is still varied and rewarding.
Easy
Private
Longs Peak - Keyhole Route
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Longs Peak - Keyhole Route

21.5 km
1,540 m
Standard route to the top of Longs Peak, the only 14er in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Moderate
Private