If you’re looking for a cool and unique hike near Denver, then look no further than Roxborough State Park. I have always enjoyed this park because it is one of those places that is both beautiful year round and also makes you realize just how amazing nature truly is. And the red tilted sandstone formations are just an added bonus too!
Carpenter Peak Trail
One of the first hikes that I can remember doing in this park was the Carpenter Peak trail back in July 2016. Since the park is located at the edge of the foothills, the hike to the summit is relatively moderate with a steady elevation gain. From the parking lot to the summit, the elevation gain is a little over a thousand feet.
And once you get to the summit, the views are quite remarkable. Off to the northeast and the east, you can get a pretty good view of Denver as well as the surrounding plains. Although the summit is only 7,160 feet, it still feels like you are much higher up considering that the skyscrapers in Denver look so tiny and insignificant.
Meanwhile, off to the west you have nothing but an endless view of trees and mountains that is just so comforting to see and it really makes this hike a rewarding one. Something else worth mentioning is that this trail connects to several other trails nearby including the Waterton Canyon trail which is the beginning of the 486 mile Colorado Trail which runs from Denver to Durango.
Although the views are magnificent, there are also several other things to keep in mind. Depending on the time of year, it’s important to keep an eye out for rattlesnakes as I’ve had an encounter with them nearly every time that I’ve been on this trail. Mountain lion sightings are also somewhat common and their is even a sign on the trail to give you a heads up about them as well. The amount of wildlife is definitely plentiful here as I’ve also seen herds of deer and coyotes too. Aside from the wildlife aspect, the park also has several signs posted in various spots to let you know what time the park will be closing for the day so you can plan your hike accordingly.
Fountain Valley Trail
Another unique hike is the Fountain Valley Trail. This trail is a relatively easy loop that is family friendly and is just a little over two miles long. It also has the Fountain Valley overlook and the Lyons overlook which are so breathtaking to the point that the state park allows you to have your wedding ceremony held at either one of them for a fee. Both are amazing but I personally liked the Lyons overlook the best because it just kind of comes up out of nowhere and provides you with a spectacular view of the entire valley.
Things to Remember
As a part of the state park system in Colorado, a day use fee must be paid prior to entering the park which currently sits at $7 but will soon be raised to $8 beginning in 2019. The best times to go are during the week or early in the mornings on weekends because parking definitely goes fast! Lastly, you always want to make sure that you are properly prepared for the weather conditions and any wildlife that you may encounter.