Updated: Dec 30, 2021
While Denver is amazing and has plenty of things to do and see, everyone needs an occasional escape from the city. One thing I love about Denver is that there are so many different places to visit that aren't far, but they give you that quiet, breath of fresh air feeling. Here are 5 places to visit near Denver, CO:
Red Rocks is seriously so cool. Not only is there an amphitheatre, which is quite possibly the most awesome concert venue, but there are also five hiking trails around the 738-acre park. The apmhitheatre opened in 1941 and has hosted world-renowned artists like The Beatles, Johnny Cash, John Denver, U2, and Mumford & Sons. The view of downtown Denver from the venue is incredible and it is the perfect place to watch the sunrise or sunset (the park opens an hour before sunrise and closes an hour after sunset). The venue also hosts film and fitness events! As for the hiking trails, they vary by length and difficulty. Whether you go for a concert or you just want to get in your steps, you for sure won't want to miss Red Rocks!
2. Golden, CO
Not too far from Red Rocks is a town called Golden, Colorado. It was founded in 1859 as a gold rush town. In 1870, Colorado School of Mines was established in Golden and in 1873, Coors Brewery was established. Today, you can hit the trails, do some shopping and eating in town, tour Coors Brewery, or take in some amazing views! One of my favorite things to do in Golden is walk on the Clear Creek Trail; it's such a peaceful place for an afternoon or evening stroll.
This 2,636-acre park is about an hour outside of Denver. It has over 14 miles of hiking trails that vary in distance and difficulty and it is home to so many different animals (black bears, bobcats, elk, turkey vultures, etc.). Castlewood Canyon is the perfect place for a morning hike to get your blood pumping. Plus, it offers great views of the mountains!
Roxborough a 4,000-acre state park about 45 minutes from Denver. It has 9 trails, which total 14 miles, for hiking, walking, running, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. At Roxborough you have the opportunity to see some wildlife (watch for snakes, I came across two while hiking) and take in some beautiful views! There are even some historical buildings in the park that you can peak into!
5. Loveland Pass
Loveland Pass, which practically stays open all year, is 11,990 ft able sea level and about an hour outside of Denver. During ski season there are winter activities surrounding the pass, but Loveland Pass is a very dangerous drive (avalanches are not a rare thing here). For the rest of the year, the pass is open and beautiful. This is one of my favorite drives in Colorado; there are outstanding views from the road, scenic spot, and trails! It truly feels like you're on top of the world!