background img

Denver’s Best Hikes for Kids!

posted by:

Updated March 2021.

Hiking with your little ones is a great way to spend the day close to home while enjoying the special outdoor spaces unique to the Front Range. Here are the favorite hikes of the Colorado Mountain Mamas, a hiking club for moms with babies newborn to 5 years. Do you want to trail 

Best for Moms with new babies:

South Valley Park, Coyote Song Trail

Although it’s close to the metro area, this area is quiet and wildlife abounds. This hike is about 2 miles and is mostly flat – great for first-time hikers and anyone interested in a gentle hike.

Mount Falcon, Castle Trail to Meadow Trail

This is a high-elevation, 2-mile hike and the views are spectacular! The terrain is pretty flat and should not be too strenuous.

Red Rocks Amphitheatre Loop

This terrific hike is perfect for moms getting acquainted with the techniques of hiking with baby or anyone interested in checking out the rock formations around Red Rocks. It’s about 1.2 miles with fairly gradual inclines – steeper at the end with a stair climb back to the parking area.

Best for Moms who are in shape and carrying the baby:

Apex Park, Pick n’ Sledge Trail

If you’re ready for a tough hike, this is the one for you! This 4.5-mile loop will take you through Apex Park where you will get some spectacular city views as well as enjoy the cool forest breezes. This hike starts off as a gradual incline, then the incline gets more serious! Once you’re at the top, it’s all down on the return.

Deer Creek Canyon

This hike is 2.7 miles and has a pretty steady climb followed by a descent back to the start. The scenery is spectacular in this area south of town, and the second half of the hike is restricted to hikers only.

Maxwell Falls

This 4.5-mile hike begins with a moderate ascent through the forest – great Aspen tree viewing! The rest of the hike to the falls is pretty flat and downhill until the trail heads back up one last good leg burner. From there it’s all down hill and mostly shady back to the parking lot.

Best for little walkers:

Lair O’ the Bear, Creekside and Castor Cutoff Trails

It’s all about the water… and bridges… and finding muddy treasures on this hike! This half-mile hike is along a creek making for endless fun tossing branches, poking at the mud, and looking for water insects. Plan to get a bit muddy and have a blast along the creek! A great hike for new or experienced toddler hikers.

Lookout Mountain Nature Center, Forest Loop Trail

This is a .6 mile hike that meanders through the woods allowing for kids to search for birds, bugs and butterflies! The trail has some incline and obstacles making it great for more sure-footed toddler hikers. Following the hike, the nature center is open for some fun exploring of animal habitats and food sources.

Alderfer Three Sisters

This gorgeous area is shaded, full of wildlife, and a great place for experienced hikers to explore. Depending on how experienced your toddler is, pick a route between a half-mile and a mile-and-a-half. There are many trail options and interesting rock formations.

Genesee Park, Braille Trail

This gorgeous tree-covered hike winds gently down into the forest where a bevel of squirrels and jays will keep you company! The one-mile loop continues through moist forest land and back up to where we started. Originally a trail for the blind, this easy hike is flanked by a guideline.

What are your favorite hikes in the Denver/Boulder area? Please share!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. While clicking these links won’t cost you extra money, they help us keep this site up and running. See our disclosure policy. 

=========================================

10 Tips for Hiking with Babies

1. Check the age and weight recommendation of your pack or front carrier before taking your baby on a hike. Our pack had a 6-month, 15-pound minimum, and, although we put our daughter in earlier, we stuck to trails that were smooth to avoid jarring her head and neck. Before you start hiking, check to make sure the pack is properly adjusted.

2. Bring a blanket or neck pillow so your baby can comfortably rest their head to sleep in the pack. For some reason, I have yet to see a pack that comes with nice head support- especially for younger babies.

3. Remember to bring a clean diaper and some wipes- even on short hikes!

4. Wear hiking shoes with good traction and ankle support. You don’t want to fall with your baby on your back. Even a bit of moisture can make the granite we hike on very slick. Good traction on your shoes will help!

5. Carry kid-safe bug spray like All Terrain Kids Herbal Armuor Deet-free Insect Repellent. This spray even kept the mosquitoes off my daughter in Denali, Alaska!

6. Apply and reapply sunscreen! The Colorado altitude can lead to nasty sunburns.

7. Always take a poncho and a jacket for yourself and your baby. Colorado weather can change in an instant.

8. Watch for objects along the trail above your head and to your side that could hit your baby through the pack. Also, make sure that you are not rubbing little legs and arms into bushes with stickers, trees with needles, or poison ivy as you walk along the trail.

9. Watch for signs of heat exhaustion in the summer and hypothermia in the winter. Offer your baby water when you have a drink.

10. ALWAYS hike with another adult. Remember that if something happens to you, your baby won’t be able to go for help!

And most of all, remember to have fun, relax, and enjoy the scenery!

-Joy Opp

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

You may also like
Comments
  • comment avatar Amber Johnson June 18, 2009

    You listed some of my favorites! However, I still need to check out the Braille trail. Great tips, Joy.

  • comment avatar Lori in Denver June 18, 2009

    Can’t wait to check out some of the new-to-me trails for kids. Thanks, Joy!

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson June 18, 2009

    Oh, and did I mention that cute baby in the picture? I may just know her. 🙂

  • comment avatar Suzanne B (Crunchy green Mom) June 18, 2009

    I am soooo excited… I have been wanting this list so I can take my kiddos. 7 kids (stepson added to the list now.. because I didn’t have enough… right? heh) I need some way to get rid of that energy!

    Thanks a ton!

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson June 18, 2009

    I forgot to list my favorite hikes: Chautauqua’s Enchanted-Mesa trail, Enchanted Forest (off Apex) and anything at Three Sisters in Evergreen.

  • comment avatar Kristina Reilly June 18, 2009

    Great list. I just recently purchased a Colorado kid-friendly hiking book, but this list kicks its butt.

  • comment avatar Gwen June 19, 2009

    Thanks for this! I was looking for a good hike for Father’s Day and will definitely try the Lair O’ the Bear! My 2 year old will spend all day throwing rocks in the river:)

  • comment avatar ROBBYN HART April 21, 2010

    I LOVE THIS ARTICLE!!!! great ideas for getting out into the wilderness with the kids. They’ll have a great nap when you get them back home and an adventure to remember for years to come!
    Thanks so much!

  • comment avatar Tracy July 21, 2011

    Which hikes are best for the hot weather? Looking for SHADE!

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson July 21, 2011

    The Braille Trail is shady, as is Lookout Mountain. Lair of the Bear is great because kiddos can get wet in the creek.

  • comment avatar Andrea Kirkpatrick August 4, 2012

    The Braille Trail in Genesee Park is wonderful but finding it was very difficult. I asked several people and none could help much so I ended up finding it on my own. Here are the directions: Take the Chief Hosa exit (not the Genesee Park exit) off of the I-70, turn right (north) at the stop sign, take an immediate right on Stapleton and follow the dirt road until it ends at the trail head. There is one small sign that says, “Beaver Brook Trail” when you turn onto Stapleton–the Braille Trail is part of it so keep going!

  • comment avatar Meredith April 29, 2013

    Mount Falcon Park – hike to summer white house ruins
    Trading Post Trail at Red Rocks
    Horsehoe Trail to Frazer Meadow at Golden Gate SP. Golden Gate also has a cute nature center. Lots of shade.