The 5 Best Denver Neighborhoods for Hiking Enthusiasts

There’s simply no denying it. Colorado is an outdoors 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 five Denver neighborhoods with easy access to hiking trails:

1. South Jefferson County.

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.

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, 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.

3. Genesee.

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 1200 acres of dedicated open space. Covenant protected, Genesee also has amenities including two pools, tennis and pickle ball courts, and its own fire station.

4. Waterton Canyon.

Waterton Canyon sits near Chatfield Reservoir, nearest to the city of Littleton and just 35 minutes from Denver. A variety of hiking trails are available. Trails can take from two to six hours with an approximate gain in elevation of 700’. For example, it’s a 6.2-mile trail to the Strontia Springs Dam or 12.4 miles round trip.

Visitors enjoy hiking, 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 urban scape, woodlands, and meadows.

Denver’s proximity to hiking trails is outstanding – there’s also the Boulder, Castle Rock, 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 Denver!

Originally published May 18, 2017 — Updated May 24, 2018.