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Easy: Coyote Song Trail
South Valley Park, Littleton
Length: 3 miles, out and back
Vertical gain: 301 feet
A smooth transition from road to trail running, Coyote Song is a lullaby. Compared with concrete, its soft path is forgiving on your joints, and its rise is as gentle as they come. The trail features dramatic red rock formations to the east and the rolling expanse of the park’s namesake valley to the west. If you go early, the sun will stir you from your stupor by emerging over the cliffs and turning the landscape into a glowing emerald dream. Is trail running always so beautiful? Yes. So easy? Hell no.
Moderate: Green Mountain Trail
William F. Hayden Green Mountain Park, Lakewood
Length: 6.6 miles, round-trip loop
Vertical gain: 800–1,000 feet
Just 20 minutes from downtown, Green Mountain Park’s nest of trails is, you guessed it, crowded. But its varied options, accessible from a number of different trailheads, meet you wherever you are in your running ascent. Want an easier climb than the Green Mountain loop offers from the Rooney Road trailhead? Try 1.6-mile Hayden Trail via the Utah trailhead off West Alameda Parkway. Or, for more secluded singletrack, take 3.8-mile Rooney Valley Trail from Forsberg Park.
Challenging: Castle Trail
Mount Falcon Park, Morrison
Length: 7.2 miles, out and back
Vertical gain: 1,737 feet
Starting from Mount Falcon Park’s eastern trailhead in Morrison, the initial, steep incline to the junctions of Walker’s Dream and Two-Dog trails can make Castle feel like an insurmountable feat. Still, it’s easy to stay positive when you’re in scenery so attractive that it served as the backdrop of a commercial for the North Face. And, of course, a sheer uphill also means an exhilarating downhill.
Note: We verified the mileages and vertical gains with land managers when possible, but these figures can vary based on where you access each trail. Research your specific intended route ahead of time; trailrunproject.com and alltrails.com are good resources.