Ten Top Summer Hikes Along the Front Range | Westword

Ten Great Summer Hikes Along the Front Range

Get up and get outdoors! Whether you're a seasoned pro who has climbed dozens of Fourteeners or someone who just likes to stroll outside, there's a trail along the Front Range calling your name. Here are ten of our favorites. Arthur’s RockLory State Park, Bellvue 970-493-1623 $7 for parking pass...
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Get up and get outdoors! Whether you're a seasoned pro who has climbed dozens of Fourteeners or someone who just likes to stroll outside, there's a trail along the Front Range calling your name. Here are ten of our favorites.
Arthur’s Rock
Lory State Park, Bellvue
$7 for parking pass per vehicle
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
Arthur's Rock is a 3.6 mile, out-and-back trail in Lory State Park near Fort Collins with grew views of the Foothills. While it is good for beginning hikers, there is a fairly challenging climb to the rock — but the view from "Arthur" is worth it. Dogs are allowed on a leash.
Horsetooth Falls
Horsetooth Mountain Park, Fort Collins
Trailhead is on Shoreline Drive, past the South Bay entrance
$6 parking pass per vehicle
co.larimer.co.us/parks/htmp.cfm Difficulty: Easy
Horsetooth Falls trail is the lesser known sibling of the Horsetooth Rock trail; it's not as challenging but just as enjoyable...and perfect for beginniners. The 2.35-mile hike includes moderate climbs and dips along the Horsetooth Mountain Park trails, and ends at a small waterfall.  Dogs are allowed on leash.

South Valley Park
South Valley Road, Golden
Free parking
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
South Valley Park is a sweet hike for those wanting to unplug for a few hours, but not travel too far.The area has been described as a dream for amateur geologists, as the rocks give a very stark look at how rivers and streams eroded the ancestral Rockies down and deposited sediment along the Front Range.

Green Mountain
Gregory Canyon Trailhead, Boulder
210 Flagstaff Mountain Road
Free parking along road (parking lot damaged from flood)
bouldercolorado.gov/osmp/gregory-canyon-trailhead Difficulty: Moderate/Hard
While most Boulderites will tell you to head to the Flatirons if you just want a day hike, Green Mountain is a less-crowded alternative. The round trip is 5.4 miles, and while the hike has many steep-steep, stair-stepping sections, it evens out later for an enjoyable cruise up to a giant rock with inspiring views of Rocky Mountain National Park and the Indian Peaks.
Red Rocks Amphitheater
18300 West Alameda Parkway, Morrison
Free parking
Difficulty: Easy
If you don't think of Red Rocks as a place to hike (unless you're heading up to a concert from a lower parking lot), think again. During the day, this is a hiker's paradise. The 1.4-mile Trading Post Trail is a good start; from the trading post, it loops through the park's unique mountains-meet-meadows landscape and its signature rock formations. Don't forget to stop at the amphitheater to enjoy the view.
Flatirons Vista Trail
0.3 mile south of Highway 128 on Highway 93
Free parking
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
Flatirons Vista Trail is a 3.3-mile loop trail leading out from the trailhead west through open stands of ponderosa pine and connecting to many different trails. While this hike doesn’t lead up to the actual Flatiron boulders, it's an easy-going hike with very scenic views.

Chatauqua Park, Boulder
Free parking
Difficulty: Moderate
If you've been to Boulder, you have seen the Flatirons. But have you ever climbed them? A trail starting at Chautauqua Park takes you all the way up to the two Flat Iron boulders. While you need ropes to actually climb the rocks, just being at their base is pretty awe-inspiring.

The “A” trail
Pineridge natural area, Fort Collins
County Rd 42C approximately ¼ mile south of Hughes Stadium
Free parking
Difficulty: Easy
The iconic, spray-painted “A” decorating the Foothills by Fort Collins represents a tradition started back when the Colorado State University Rams were the Aggies; today it could stand for A Good Hike.This trail leads past the letter and beyond, giving the hiker views of both the mountains to the west and the city to the south. 
CSU Environmental Learning Center
3745 East Prospect Road #205, Fort Collins
Free parking
Difficulty: Easy
Many Colorado State University students in the Warner College for Natural Resources work as staff at this CSU-owned natural area to gain real-world outdoor education practice. The center offers miles of walking, most of it flat, all deep in nature.There are endangered large birds on site, part of a non-profit raptor program.

Matthews / Winters Park

1103 Co Rd 93, Golden
Free parking (gets very crowded on weekends)
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
This area is just fifteen minutes outside of Denver, but it quickly takes the visitor out of hectic daily life. The park is a hub for outdoor recreation, including mountain biking, horseback riding, trail running and hiking. The park offers many different trails — encompassing 9.2 miles overall — including some that are hiking or biking only.
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