Why we love it: Proximity (it is about 30 minutes from central Denver).

When to go: At sunrise or sunset—and bring a camera.


Given Colorado’s plethora of all-things-outdoors, we tend to travel far afield for our weekend hikes. Last weekend, however, we had just a few hours between this engagement and that one, so we settled on a trek that was near-to-home: Douglas County’s Bluffs Regional Park Trail, which promised views of the mountains and the city. The bluebird skies ensured a clear vista, but we set out on the 2.7-mile trail with few expectations. After all, how good could the views be this close to the metro?

We were oh-so wrong. The path meanders up and down through open space in a deceiving manner (the ups and downs are enough to give your calves a workout). The trail is packed with yoga-pants-wearing pairs of women catching up on their weeks and spandex-wearing dads biking with their tots. In fact, there was so much tight-fitting clothing, we wondered if we’d missed a dress-code sign at the trailhead (don’t worry; there isn’t one).

And while we’re not big on overcrowded routes, the folks were so friendly on this one that we couldn’t help smiling back and exchanging extra-hearty “hellos.” Plus, the views were enough to make anyone grin. Stare north and you’ll see downtown’s towers. Stare west and you’ll see “towers” of a different sort. Hike the trail at sunset and you can finally try out the panorama settings on your camera. The result will be guaranteed envy material for your non-Colorado friends on Facebook.


Getting there: Take I-25 south to exit 193 and merge onto Lincoln Avenue (heading west). Travel for just over a mile, and then turn left on South Yosemite Street. After .2 miles, turn right on Crooked Stick Trail. There will be a parking lot on your right after .1 miles.

Lilly Pad Trail

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