Winter is coming, but not just yet. Take advantage of the Indian Summer and experience these three beautiful day hikes right in Boulder’s back yard.
- Chautauqua (of course) – Boulder, CO
You’d be hard-pressed to find a day in Boulder where the numerous trails of Chautauqua aren’t flooded with Boulderites and transplants alike – but that’s only because it is so worth it. Located in the literal backyard of some lucky natives, Chautauqua offers some of the most breathtaking views around for a relatively small amount of exertion. The most popular hike on the list is the trek to the Royal Arch. After a short, but steep two miles of trail, perch yourself on top of one of nature’s true wonders and channel your inner Simba and Mufasa while taking in a sprawling view of Boulder beneath you. Pro Tip: it’s a great place to pop the question if you have an outdoor-loving partner!
- Deer Creek Canyon – Littleton, CO
This hidden gem of trailheads requires a bit more drive-time from Boulder, but there is a trail to fit everyone’s need! You can go bold and finish the whole 9.8 mile loop, or you can pave your own way through a series of shorter trails and hikes, all while enjoying the chirping of the birds through the trees, on this secluded, woodsy route. While the trail is less crowded than most, it does not offer the same breathtaking overlooks that Chautauqua does. But if you’re looking for a quiet stroll to enjoy nature, this is your spot.
- Staunton State Park – Conifer, CO
Staunton is new to the list of state parks in Colorado, and it offers hundreds of trails, with varying degrees of difficulty, scenery and length. As a state park, Staunton has a leg up on both Deer Creek Canyon and Chautauqua, because its lands are literally made to be enjoyed by nature-lovers. There are very few houses, not a ton of people, and the infinite quiet that you can usually only find in the mountains. My personal favorite is Elk Falls, a 12-mile loop that treats your efforts with a gorgeous cross-canyon view of one of the largest waterfalls in Colorado. This hike also had some of the best variety of scenery, as my dog and I traveled through lush, green meadows, full of wildflowers and birdsong, wound up through the dirt and pines of the mountainous trail, and even did a little bit of Bouldering to get to the top of the hike. It’s a long one, but the beauty and serenity you can only find buried deep within the woods is entirely worth it.