the reason we moved to colorado is for the outdoors. i am not a super outdoorsy person
because i lived in MN for 25 years and it’s usually too cold to do anything, but i forced myself to become one because there is SO MUCH to see and do in colorado. most people think of red rocks, ski resorts, and the rocky mountains when it comes to outdoor activity – but i want to highlight some of the other great places that aren’t far from our front door step.
we also picked up a little motivation for getting our cabooses outside:
unless you’ve been living under a rock, i am sure you’re aware we adopted a puppy/hiking buddy that we named shandy.
this lucky lady stole our hearts that we adopted her from rezdawgs, a foster-run pet agency in colorado. she is a cattle dog/boxer/tiger mix. check out those stripes! adopt, don’t shop 🙂
lewis and i are on opposite work schedules, but are guaranteed to have sundays off together. therefore, every sunday, lewis and i tackle a new trail or hike! we have been to three so far (not counting the time we went to lookout mountain in golden before we moved here).
1. Bluffs in Lone Tree
elevation gain: 200 feet
this is perfect for walking the dog, a family outing, or just to go out and get some exercise. this is conveniently by our house, literally behind our abode. it is all trail that is mapped out and lead by gravel terrain. the elevation isn’t too extreme, either.
the view of the city, mountains, and different options for trails (around the bluff or all the way to the top) make this a super easy day hike and easily accessible to anyone out here in the suburbs.
also, since it is in the suburbs, there are a lot of developments and houses in view.. AKA “real estate porn” <– this is a direct quote from yelp.
2. Flat Irons, Boulder
elevation: 7,500 feet
what a gem! this is out in boulder, about a 30 minute drive from the denver area. there is so much to see here.. we didn’t even see 1/4 of it. most likely because i was kneeled over gasping for breath most of the time. just kidding, but really. the altitude is killer.. but i am getting used to it!
it took about an hour to get to the top to see the city. the beauty of this trail is that there are so many options and routes you can take. at first, i was intimidated by not being able to find a parking spot and how many people appeared to be there. it looked super busy but once we got past the trail and started to climb, it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.
this spot is very dog friendly – with an option to do off-leash, but you need a permit through the city of boulder. i would also say you need a pretty well-behaved dog that heels, so they don’t run off or tumble down with falling rocks. shandy knocked over a rock and watched it tumble to the bottom of the mountain with her head tilted to the side for a good minute. definitely wouldn’t want that rock to be a human or furry friend. i will admit i got pretty nervous when lewis was standing on the edge when we made it to the top.
we saw people with rock climbing equipment, joggers, families, and those who were just hanging out. this is an awesome spot and i’d highly (ha!) recommend it if you’re ever in the boulder area. don’t let the parking fool you. it may look busy, but you can take your own path and it feels like you’re on your own.
3. Cottonwood Canyon, Castle Rock ($)
Creek Bottom and Lucas Homestead
elevation: 6,200 feet
oofta. it was a muddy when we went, but beautiful nonetheless. with the temps reaching 50s and 60s just about every day, it’s bound to be a little messy.
there was parking at the trail head with an option to go down a gravel road to other sections of the state park. since our car just got re-painted (thanks to a lovely hit-and-run in MN), we are not supposed to travel via dirt road for a few months. with that being said, we stopped at the first parking lot and walked down to the historic lucas homestead.
after passing the lucas homestead (pictured directly below), we took a 25-30 minute hike through creek bottom. if you’re wanting to make your own adventure and get lost, this place is for you. cottonwood canyon has a lot of dead ends and nature that wants to snag on your clothes. barely any of the paths are paved here; difficulty is moderate to actually difficult.
next time i will bring a map, but we enjoyed finding the creek and took some great pictures.
we also had the option to follow the “rimrock” trail toward the top of the canyon.. but since the sun was setting and we didn’t have on appropriate footwear for the mud, we decided following the creek would be a better choice.
*this is a state park, so it’s $7 for a daily pass or you can buy an annual state park permit, which we will probably invest in.
hey! another adventure awaits tomorrow. if you have any suggestions for hikes within an hour of the denver area, please let us know!