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Distance: 9.5 miles round-trip
You won’t be far down the hiker-only Wild Loop when the area’s namesake comes into view: the stegosauruslike ridge, or hogback, known as Devil’s Backbone. The formation defines the horizon in the early part of this trek along a series of trails—take the clockwise route along the Wild, Hunter, and Laughing Horse loops to make it easy to remember which way to go once you turn around—that lead to your ultimate goal, Blue Sky Trail. A popular path for mountain bikers, Blue Sky connects the Devil’s Backbone and Horsetooth Mountain open spaces and runs about 6.3 miles on its own, so feel free to turn around when you start to lose steam (that’s what we did at the Jeep road intersection about 4.5 miles in). The best views—all the way to Longs Peak—unfurl from the highest point on the Hunter Loop, while the most entertaining section is ascending the pancaked rocks on Laughing Horse.
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Who Will Love This Trail: The geology-obsessed; those who like trail variety in their hikes
Don’t Miss This Along The Way: Pit stop at the Keyhole, a massive circle of erosion in the Dakota sandstone, about 1.5 miles from the Devil’s Backbone trailhead parking lot (signs point the way).