17 Best Family Hikes Near Denver

Colorado is a place of outdoor adventure. It’s also a great, family-friendly place for outdoor adventure. Check out some of these incredibly fun and scenic family hikes near Denver for your next outing.

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We have spent many weekends and summers discovering trails all around the Denver area. With 4 young kids, we like to find trails that are exciting but easy enough that it remains fun for them.

So I’ve combed through all the great hikes and picked out what I believe to be 17 of the best kid-friendly hikes near Denver.

Whether you are going north of Denver, south, or toward the mountains (what us locals call “west”), you’ll find great, kid friendly hikes near Denver… you don’t have to drive too far!

From urban, paved trails to unique dirt paths, you’ll find the perfect family-friendly trail here. So take a look and start planning your next family hike near Denver.

Rock mountain floor with kids hiking, text overlay of family-friendly hikes near Denver, CO

Best Family Friendly Hikes IN Denver

Hiking IN Denver is filled with paved, family-friendly trails. This makes it perfect for strollers to come along and give you the opportunity to go on a family walk without anything too intense.

Here are the best family friendly trails in Denver.

river flowing through, bridge in background

South Platte River Trail

Distance: Varies

Difficulty: Easy

Fee: Free

If you are on your family vacation in Denver, this is a great, easy one to access.

The South Platte River Trail is perfect for families with really young ones who want to get out in the fresh air. This trail runs through downtown Denver and is paved, making it accessible to strollers. The famous spot to enjoy the trail is near Confluence Park (or, as locals know, near the flagship REI store).

Enjoy sitting on the steps to the river, watching people kayak down the small rapids, or just walking along the trail. It’s a great spot for families and a very kid friendly hike in Denver.

lake with perfect reflection of fall colored trees along the shoreline

Washington Park Loop

Distance: 2.3 miles (but can vary)

Difficulty: Easy

Fee: Free

Known as “Wash Park,” this trip is an easy 2.3 mile loop around two small lakes. This is a very popular park area, one of the gems of Denver.

Not up for 2.3 miles? There are actually many loops within the park. You could walk around one lake, both lakes, or a larger loop around the perimeter. Walkers-choice here!

The Wash Park Loop is easy enough that it is a great way to get outside anytime of year in Denver.

Best Family Hikes Near Denver- Lakewood/Morrison

Rooney Trail Loop

Distance: 3.4 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Fee: Free

Just west of Denver you’ll find William F Hayden Green Mountain Park. The Rooney Trail offers 3.4 miles of easy hiking though the 2,400 acres of open space. You’ll get great views of the mountains.

The trails can be muddy after snowmelt (and sometimes the trail will close because of too much mud.) Summer is the best time to visit, though there is limited shade, so be sure to bring a hat and sunscreen.

Plenty of mountain bikers use this trail as well, so make sure to share the trail!

Dinosaur Ridge Colorado wall of dinosaur tracks

Dinosaur Ridge (Bonus)

Distance: 3.7 miles

Difficulty: easy (paved, but steep incline)

Fee: Free to walk (optional shuttle has a fee)

Technically this is located in Morrison, but it’s just down the road from the Rooney Trail listed above. And also, technically this isn’t so much a hike as it is a walk up a really steep hill.

But it is free to visit and really cool. Check out dinosaur fossils within the mountain side at Dinosaur Ridge. You’ll get signage along the way to have a self-guided walk.

The whole things is just under 4 miles, but you can go all the way or just visit the first couple sites and turn back around.

Red Rocks Trading Post Trail

Trading Post Trail

Distance: 1.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Fee: Free

Trading Post Trail is one of the fun and unique kid friendly hikes near Denver. You can find it at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, a famous outdoor concert venue.

Trading post trail will take you through some cool red rock formations and around a nice, natural area. The trail is pretty easy, though not paved. There is a street crossing here and there, but the street is within the park so nothing major.

Afterward, be sure to check out the popular concert venue (free to peek and hang out if there is no event going on). There will probably be people running the stairs/seating at the theater, so if the kids still have some energy, they can join and run to the top.

Mount Falcon Park things near red rocks

Turkey Trot Trail

Distance: 3 miles

Difficulty: moderate

Fee: Free

Turkey Trot Trail can be found at Mount Falcon Park, which is located in Morrison, CO. There are 12 miles of trails within the park.

Turkey Trot trail is fairly easy with moderate parts. The best part of this trail is that you’ll get great views of Red Rocks and downtown Denver.

While much of Mount Falcon Park is filled with biking and other outdoor enthusiasts, Turkey Trot Trail only allows hikers, so it makes an easier trail to bring kids on.

Bonus: Check out Castle Trail at Mount Falcom Park. The kids will love walking around the old mansion ruins.

Trail fence fall colors lair o the bear

Bear Creek Trail

Distance: 2 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Fee: Free

Bear Creek Trail is an easy, fun trail to take kids of all ages located at Lair O’ the Bear Park. The bonus is that at the end, you’ll have a view of Dunafon Castle!

Visit in the summer when things are lush and green. You’ll follow alongside a creek, making a beautiful place to dip your toes or hands along the way.

In fall, these are some of the best colors in the area.

More details about Lair O’ the Bear (and the castle!)

Family Hikes near Denver- West

Snowshoe Hare Trail at Golden Gate Canyon State Park, two kids walking on a dirt trail with bright yellow colors on the side

Snowshoe Hare Trail at Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Distance: 3 miles

Difficulty: moderate

Fee: $10 per car

I mentioned above that Bear Creek is one of the best places to see fall colors. Golden Gate Canyon State Park is another incredible place as well.

Overall, the trail is not too difficult. But there are some spots where there is a good incline, giving it its “moderate” status. (My 4 kids did totally fine on this trail at ages 5-11).

The best thing about this gorgeous family hike near Denver is the full supply of Aspen trees. Everywhere within the park is filled with them, and Snowshoe Hare has so many thick groves that make for great fall colors.

We also loved walking by Dude’s Fishing hole, a scenic little lake.

Find more details (and pictures!) about hiking in Golden Gate Canyon State Park.

low view of a lake with rocks in front, mountain with a little snow coming down a crevice in back at St. Mary's Glacier Lake

St. Mary’s Glacier

Distance: 2.4 miles

Difficulty: easy to moderate

Fee: $20 parking fee (yes, $20. It was recently increased)

If you head west from Denver, you’ll hit Idaho Springs in less than an hour off I-70.

St. Mary’s Glacier isn’t as easy as walking on a paved trail, but it is still a relatively kid friendly hike near Denver. This trail is not stroller friendly.

At just 2.4 miles round trip, the payoff is huge for such a short hike. After just a half-mile you’ll come upon the lake which makes a great place to rest if you have little ones. Then continue on less than a mile to get to the glacier.

St. Mary’s is incredibly beautiful and the hike to get there is short.

At that point, you can enjoy the view for a while, and then turn and head back.

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Family Hikes Near Denver – North

Eldorado Canyon State PArk colorado

Fowler Trail at Eldorado Canyon State Park

Distance: 2 miles (more if you go beyond the park boundary)

Difficulty: Easy

Fee: $10 per car

Eldorado Canyon State Park is a park unlike any other and contains some of the most beautiful kid friendly hikes near Denver. You’ll be hiking among steep mountain sides, watching climbers scale the walls beside you.

We loved the cool interpretive signs that made it feel like we were on our own guided walk. We also loved the binoculars every once in a while that allowed us to look at the scenery and mountain climbers in the distance.

Note: Timed reservations are now required in the summer months on weekends and holidays. This is actually great because there isn’t a ton of parking inside. You can also ride the shuttle into the park without reservation.

Find more details (and pictures!) about Eldorado Canyon State Park

Cloudy sky, mountain background, lush green grass floor at Chautauqua in Boulder ,a family hike near denver

Chautauqua Trail in Boulder

Distance: 1.2 miles

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Fee:

Chatauqua Trail (and the Flatirons loop which is just a half mile longer along the same route) is a great kid friendly hike near Denver. So much that it can get very crowded.

But, the crowds are worth the incredibly views of the Flatirons (cool rock formations) popular to Boulder and gorgeous nature around. Plus, the trail is nice and wide, making space for everyone.

Turn this hike into a self-guided hike with the interpretive signs along the way.

Family Hikes Near Denver – South

scenic view of river running through a canyon

Be on the lookout for mountain goats and bighorn sheep at Waterton Canyon

Waterton Canyon

Distance: Varies

Difficulty: Easy

Fee: $10 per car

Waterton Canyon is the perfect kid friendly hike near Denver even for families with younger kids. It’s located within Chatfield State Park.

The trail is nice and wide and has an easy terrain, allowing for joggers, bikers, and family-strolls (and there are plenty of all of those on the trail).

While the whole trail is over 12 miles, you can just stroll as long as you’d like and then turn around. It runs along the side of the South Platte River, giving beautiful scenery to an otherwise long dirt road.

walking on gravel trail with red rock formations in distance

Fountain Valley Loop at Roxborough State Park

Distance: 2.6 miles

Difficulty: easy

Fee: $10 per car

Fountain Valley Loop is located at Roxborough State Park. Roxborough is filled with huge and gorgeous red rock sandstone formations, making it a great rival to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.

The park only allows as many cars as there are parking spots, so if you don’t arrive early enough, it’s possible to have to wait a while to get it. It’s worth it.

Fountain Valley Loop is an easy and pretty flat trail in the park. It runs along the red formations and then makes a loop back to the main Visitor Center area.

Learn about more hikes at Roxborough State Park

little girl with blue sweatshirt tied around her waist, climbing / stepping up a rock

Legacy Trail at Gateway Mesa Open Space

Distance: 2 miles

Difficulty: easy

Fee: Free

Gateway Mesa Open Space is located south of Denver in Douglas county. It’s on the East side of Castle Rock.

This trail is a great trail for kids. The top part, or “Chuck’s Loop” is pretty flat and a fun, easy hike around the open space. As you go around Chuck’s Loop, you’ll hit a turn off for Legacy Trail.

This is a newer trail in the open space and takes you down through some cool rock walls (very fun for kids). You’ll then feel like you are on a different hike as you walk through a dirt trail of tall trees.

Eventually you’ll come to a crash site of a car that’s deep in the woods. How did it get there in the middle of the woods? No idea. But it’s pretty cool (and random) to see. The trail eventually inclines back up to where you started.

Castlewood canyon state park colorado

Creek Bottom Trail at Castlewood Canyon State Park

Distance: 2.8 miles

Difficulty: easy

Fee: $10 per car

Castlewood Canyon is such a great area to take kids. It’s diverse with a waterfall, creek, boulders, and even a little history. There are a lot of great kid friendly hikes here, this is just a favorite.

The Creek Bottom Trail takes you down to the bottom of the canyon along the creek (as you may have guessed from the name). It’s so fun for kids to splash around in the water.

My son recently found the joys of looking for crawdads.

Tip: Watch your step. There is quite a bit of poison ivy at Castlewood Canyon. We have been many times and never been affected by it, but we are vigilant about watching for it and informing our kids to watch.

If you’re nervous about your little ones, put them in pants for your hike.

Read more about Great Castlewood Canyon hikes with kids

kids standing at the base of a huge rock formation on a dirt trail

The top of Rock Park Loop, at the base of Castle Rock

Rock Park Loop in Castle Rock

Distance: 1.4 miles

Difficulty: Easy (with some inclines)

Fee: Free

The town of Castle Rock is named after its iconic rock formation that sits and keeps watch like a castle.

What’s great is you can actually hike to the top of “The Rock.” It’s a fun, fairly short trail that gives you awesome views at the top.

The climb up can get steep as it gains elevation in a relatively short time. It’s totally doable for kids though. In fact, there are so many families that hike this trail.

At the top, make sure to walk all the way around to really appreciate being at the base of “Castle Rock” and for 360 views.

flat dirt ground, pine trees, looking off the edge of the mountain in the distance on the Spruce Mountain family hikes near Denver

Spruce Mountain Trail at Spruce Mountain open space

Distance: 5.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate (some climbs but overall easy)

Fee: Free

For more great family hikes near Denver, head to Larkspur, CO. This is one of the more southern destinations, but totally worth the drive.

If your kids are up for a longer hike, this one will not disappoint.

Spruce mountain will take you through the woods, into open spaces, and atop the limestone mountain where you’ll get incredibly scenic views.

Family Hikes Near Denver you’ll Love!

No matter what your hiking style is, you’re sure to find the perfect, kid friendly hike near Denver on this list. Are you looking for paved sidewalks or dirt paths? How about unique rock formations and incredible views? Try one, try a few, or try them all if you have the time! You’ll enjoy all these great family hikes near Denver!

Have more time? Head to Rocky Mountain National Park for jaw-dropping hikes (and plenty of options for kids!)

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Rock mountain floor with kids hiking, text overlay of family-friendly hikes near Denver, CO

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