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Two dogs enjoying the alpine lake that awaits conquerers of Herman Gulch's 6.3-mile-long trail.

10 Dog-Friendly Hikes Near Denver

Here are some of our favorite Fido-friendly Front Range trails—all less than (or about) an hour's drive from Denver.

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Do you ever get sick of exploring the rolling hills, flatirons, and forested foothills of the Front Range? We sure don’t—and we bet our dogs don’t either. For those warm summer days when you’d rather see the city skyline from afar—or Denver’s 270-plus urban green spaces just aren’t cutting it—here are 10 treks (all less than an hour from city center!) to explore with your four-legged friend. You can check out our map of all 10 destinations here or by scrolling to the bottom of this page.

Plymouth Creek-Plymouth Mountain Loop

Distance from Denver (Cap Hill): About 32 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Length of trail: 5.6 miles roundtrip
About halfway into this loop through Jeffco’s 1,722-acre Deer Creek Canyon Park, you’ll encounter “The Wall,” a steep, rocky portion of the trail that will help you work up a sweat. Pro tip: if you’d like something a little less challenging, you can descend rather than ascend the Wall by completing the loop in a counter-clockwise direction. Read more here.

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First Creek Trail Near DIA

Distance from Denver: About 17 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Length of trail: 1.4 miles one-way
Get a taste of the Eastern Plains at DEN Open Space, about 200 acres of flatland near Denver International Airport that the city unveiled in 2016. The fact that the space serves as a great way for DIA travelers to stretch their legs during delays and layovers is just a bonus. Read more here.

Matthews-Winter Park in Jefferson County

Luna Tuna explores Matthews-Winters Park near Morrison. Photo by Jerilyn Forsythe

Distance from Denver: About 14 miles
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Length of trail: Multiple trails; distances vary

With a few different trail options—all reasonably conquered in two hours or less—this foothill hike near Red Rocks is a great way to give visitors access to Colorado’s most coveted music venue, as well as expansive eastward views of Denver. Read more here.

O’Fallon Park’s West Ridge Loop

Distance from Denver: About 25 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Length of trail: 3.1 miles roundtrip
This mellow lollipop loop in Morrison offers views of Mt. Evans, potential wildlife sightings, and idyllic stops for an impromptu picnic. Read more here.

Herman Gulch Trail

Distance from Denver: About 55 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Length of trail: 6.3 miles roundtrip
Arguably one of the Front Range’s most scenic hikes, this trek—which is part of the Continental Divide trail—rewards visitors with an alpine lake at the top. Pack a sandwich and some treats for Fido as you’ll most certainly want to stay awhile. Read more here.

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Royal Arch Trail

Distance from Denver: About 30 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Length of trail: 3.2 miles roundtrip
This short(ish) trail starts at Chautauqua Park, and offers a challenging climb through Boulder’s Flatirons. You can enjoy some of the area’s best views at the top; dogs must be leashed unless they have a Voice and Sight tag. Read more here.

Nymeria Wolf looks out over North Table Mountain in Golden. Photo by Erin Skarda

North Table Mountain

Distance from Denver: About 17 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Length of trail: Varies
With a dozen of access points to choose from, North Table Mountain Park in Jefferson County offers over 15 miles of trails to get your heart pumping and legs moving while enjoying views of Denver’s skyline. Read more here.

South Valley Park’s Grazing Elk Trail

Distance from Denver: About 21 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Length of trail: 4.6 miles roundtrip
Best enjoyed in the morning—before it gets too hot—this relatively flat hike outside of Littleton sits at the base of the Front Range and overlooks the same 300 million-year-old rock formation that forms Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Read more here.

Shadow Canyon Trail

Distance from Denver: About 25 miles
Difficulty: Intense
Length of trail: 7.5 miles roundtrip
If you feel like working up a sweat—and your pup needs to stretch its legs—consider heading to the foothills of Boulder for this strenuous, yet satisfying hike. Read more here.

Summit of Chief Mountain. Photo by Victoria Carodine

Chief Mountain

Distance from Denver: About 43 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Length of trail: 4 miles roundtrip
While summiting a fourteener may seem like a difficult feat for your canine companion, this trail, located just outside of Evergreen, offers an easier alternative with breathtaking panoramic views of Colorado’s rockies. Read more here.

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Elk Falls at Staunton State Park

Distance from Denver: about 38 miles
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Length of trail: 12 miles roundtrip
This lengthy, yet stunning hike features groves of Aspen trees, red rock boulders, and Elk Falls—a relaxing place to rest. Read more here.


Looking for more hikes to do with your four-legged bestie? Check out our full list here. Are we missing one? Email us at digital@5280.com. 

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