There’s simply no denying it. Colorado is an outdoor person’s paradise.
And, if you’re a hiking enthusiast, you’ll be glad to know there are a ton of hiking trails just 30 minutes away from Denver metro. Those living in suburban areas have even more trails to choose from. Here are ten Denver metro neighborhoods and communities with easy access to the foothills:
1. Ken Caryl Ranch
In 1974, the Ken Caryl Ranch area was approved to build out 5,200 homes and preserve 4,000 of the overall 9,197 acres. Today, it still stands. Ken Caryl Ranch resides in the Ken Caryl community within Jefferson County. Not only does this neighborhood provide fast access to the trails but simply driving down the road offers beautiful, almost completely unobstructed views of the foothills.
These homes in the “Valley” west of C-470 are off winding roads with nature trails and native plant parks weaved throughout. The community owns 4,800 acres of open space land — Colorado State Parks officially designated 1,500 acres as a Colorado Natural Area.
2. Willow Springs and Willowbrook
These neighborhoods are hidden from busy C-470 between the Dakota Hogback formation and the embedded rocks of the foothills to the south of Morrison, Colorado. The Willowbrook is known for its custom homes on spacious lots. The combined 11 neighborhoods (with separate homeowner associations) own 800 undeveloped private acres of community property and 15 miles of private community trails.
Jefferson County Open Space abuts three sides: private Ken-Caryl Ranch Open Space, a Denver Mountain Park, and catch and release fishing in the community’s private Kingfisher Lake. Here, the wildlife outnumbers people and the night skies are spectacular… the ecosystem is unique, fragile, and most definitely challenging. See extraordinary red- and buff-colored rock landmarks named Lyons Hogback, Chief Colorow Cave, Chimney Rock, and so on.
Genesee is a residential community located in the foothills just above Golden, Colorado. Genesee’s 883 homes were constructed on 2,000 acres of spectacular mountain property. From Genessee, you’ll have easy access to metro Denver to the east and world-class ski areas to the west. Most notable are its mountain views, 12 miles of maintained hiking trails, and 1,200 acres of dedicated open space. Covenant protected, Genesee also has amenities including two pools, tennis and pickleball courts, and its own fire station.
Located between two beautiful state parks (Chatfield and Roxborough) in Douglas County this growing region is a stone’s throw from trails that vary in view from meadows to red rocks. The Roxborough area consists of many different neighborhoods including Roxborough Park and Roxborough Village. It is nearest to the city of Littleton, and just 35 minutes from Denver. A variety of hiking trails are available with Deer Creek Canyon and Waterton Canyon close by. You can enjoy the 6.2-mile trail to the Strontia Springs Dam or 12.4 miles round trip. Trails here can take from two to six hours with an approximate gain in elevation of 700 ft.
Visitors enjoy mountain biking, fishing, horseback riding, picnicking, and soaking up nature. You can even spot the occasional Bighorn sheep, bald eagle, and deer.
5. Bear Creek Lake Park
Bear Creek Lake Park, in the city of Lakewood, is a great place to observe wildlife. While you’re there, you can hit numerous hiking trails, biking trails, horse trails, or enjoy waterways. To the east, you’ll find the William F. Hayden Park and Red Rocks not too far away. Bear Creek Trail runs through the park, connecting downtown Denver’s Confluence Park to the foothills of the Rockies via a mixture of urbanscape, woodlands, and meadows.
If you are familiar with Colorado, then the city of Boulder needs no introduction. It’s the home of the Flatirons and they are nothing short of spectacular. However, living in Boulder can be costly. Many neighborhoods have some of the highest home prices in the state, but for good reason! Boulder was named the best place to live in the nation for outdoor enthusiasts by Outside magazine. You’ll find 45,000 acres of designated space to hike, bike ride, mountain climb, kayak, fish, and more. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are popular in winter, as is skiing and snowboarding. Boulder is an amazing place for an outdoor enthusiast to call home!
Our most southern community on the list, Castle Rock is comprised of many great neighborhoods and is one of the fastest-growing communities in the Denver Metro area. However, don’t be fooled, Castle Rock still holds on to its classic western charm. Neighborhoods like The Meadows, offer great neighborhood amenities while newer developments farther south like The Terrain, offer a bit more privacy. No matter which neighborhood you choose you can be certain you are close to the outdoors. Castle Rock is home to 50 parks, 87+ miles of trails, and over 6,000 acres of open space!
Open spaces close by include: Rock Park, Dawson Butte Ranch Open Space Trail, and Castlewood Canyon.
Did you know Golden was the territorial capital of Colorado until 1867? With its rich mining history, Old West charm, and extraordinary views in every direction it’s a beautiful place to live and explore. You can’t beat Golden’s access to mesas, parks, open spaces, and water. Clear Creek runs through downtown Golden and the surrounding mountains, providing the perfect rugged terrain for hikers, runners, and bikers. Golden is also the perfect place to call home if you enjoy taking trips into the Rockies, as you may experience less Denver traffic during the busy, winter ski season!
With a population of under 2,000, Indian Hills is the quieter and much less crowded option than it’s larger neighbor, Evergreen. In fact, you may see more deer than people most days, but if you want to live in a neighborhood with plenty of privacy and access to trails, this is your spot. Close to Mount Falcon Park, Pence Park, O’Fallon Park, and Corwina Park just to name a few, this community gives you many outdoor options to pick from while being only 30 minutes from downtown Denver.
If fly fishing is your preferred outdoor activity, look no further than Sedalia. Those seeking outdoor adventure will enjoy spectacular fly fishing along the South Platte River west of Sedalia. There are also many hiking and biking trails as well as camping facilities throughout the Rampart Range in Pike National Forest. This small community is quaint and charming. Although close to Castle Rock, there is no big city feel here! Instead, enjoy a few shops and restaurants and tons of space to explore.
Denver’s proximity to hiking trails is outstanding and if you are comfortable with venturing a bit farther out there are also the Idaho Springs Colorado Springs, and Ft Collins areas to consider (and so much more)! Choose the neighborhood that best suits you and your family, knowing hiking trails are easily within an hour’s distance! That’s why we love the Denver area!
Originally published May 18, 2017 — Updated August 18, 2020.