One of the best things about living in Colorado is having access to over 42 National Wilderness Areas, as well as the breathtaking views they supply.
However, not everyone has the time, or physical condition, to drive over two hours or more to hike over six miles uphill. Thankfully, there are plenty of shorter hiking trails all over the state for the beginners who are not sure where to start. There's no need to be intimidated. Here are five gorgeous hiking trails under three miles for beginners, tourists, and Instagrammers alike.
Helen Hunt Falls, Colorado Springs
Helen Hunt Falls. Courtesy of David Bitton; Gazette file.
For those who think in terms of baby steps, Helen Hunt Falls is the perfect option. Located in North Cheyenne Cañon Park, the falls are a gorgeous reward after a short hike of less than a mile, 0.8 miles to be exact.
The falls – named after Helen Maria Hunt Jackson, an American writer and activist – are a popular site during the summer. The park is prepared for visitors and locals with ample parking and easy access to the falls.
Devil’s Head Lookout, Sedalia
Courtesy of Maria-Emilia Garcia
This hike is a bit more challenging since it's mostly 2.8 miles uphill to the summit of Devil’s Head and it includes a climb of 143 stairs. However, the view from the fire lookout tower is well worth the climb.
The tower lookout was originally built in 1919 in order to protect any ranger whose duty it was to look out for fires in the wilderness. The lookout was added to the National Register of Historic Places in the early 90s and, on a clear day, visitors can see as far as 100 miles.
Pine Valley Ranch Park, Pine
Courtesy of Day Hikes Near Denver
Families can make a day out of visiting Pine Valley Ranch Park. It has something for everyone – a beautiful lake, several hike trails, a small island with a gazebo, and eagles!
It's the perfect place to pack a picnic and spend the day. The trails range from 1.2 to three miles. Each trail has its own features but the Full Park View Loop will give you a perfect view of the park, Pine Lake, and Platte River. Did we mention you could see eagles? Bring your binoculars!
Dream Lake, Estes Park
'Dream' is, as you can imagine, an accurate name! The 2.2-mile hike is a breezy walk that starts at Bear Lake trailhead and passes Nymph Lake. Dream Lake Hike is a great trail to revisit since it can split off into other longer trails that offer different views and several lakes to explore.
Mount Herman, Monument
Courtesy of TripAdvisor
The Mount Herman Trail is one of the most trafficked trails near the town of Monument. The 2.1-mile out-and-back trail is considered moderate (in effort) since it gains 1,000 feet in about a mile of the hike. But is worth it to reach the top of the peak for the breathtaking view. The trails are open for horseback riding and mountain biking, so there are plenty of options if you are feeling adventurous or athletic.
Are there any other beginner hikes in Colorado that we missed on our list? Sound off in the comments below. Happy trails!