I don’t know about you, but when it’s below 50 degrees outside, the last thing I want to do is go on a shady hike. And hey, sometimes I don’t want to drive 1 hour+ to make it to the coveted mountain hikes, which I will say are beautiful, but mostly shady (and likely icy/snowy at this time of year).
Thankfully, the Denver area has a lot of great hikes with few trees to give you constant sunshine. The trick, however, is finding hikes that have few trees but still have great views.
After my experience searching for sunny-yet-pretty hikes near Denver, I have found a few that I keep returning to because I like them that much! Below is a list of some of my favorite sunny hikes & trails 30 minutes or less from Denver.
Flatirons Vista Trail
- Location: Boulder
- Distance: 1.9 miles or 3.3 miles (2 loops to choose from)
- Why I Love It: Not only is this a super easy, sunny hike, but at the beginning of the trailhead, you are literally hiking alongside cows! You also get great views of the Flatirons most of the way AND this trail actually connects to a ton of other trails, so you could truly spend days exploring the paths out here!
- Location: Littleton
- Distance: 12.4 miles (out and back)
- Why I Love It: My favorite thing about Waterton Canyon is that you are almost guaranteed to see mountain goats up in the rocks that surround this flat trail. On top of that, the path is so wide and follows a river, so you have plenty of space to wander while enjoying the views along the way!
- Location: Aurora – Littleton (Roxborough State Park)
- Distance: 71 miles
- Why I Love It: Stretching for 71 miles, this trail has so many entrance points, so you can either pick your favorite entrance and stick with that or get a different experience every time by choosing a new starting point each time you visit. My favorite starting point that I’ve found so far is right next to the Arapahoe Tennis Club in Englewood. The homes over there are MANSIONS and you get some beautiful mountain + field views along the way. Note that some parts of this trail can be shady at certain points in the day, since you’re walking along a tree line, but most of the time, it is sunny!
- Location: Lakewood
- Distance: 6.4 miles
- Why I Love It: Green Mountain is SO close to Denver and has multiple paths to choose from. You can go as long or as short as you’d like, but you’re basically guaranteed to be in the sun the entire time. Oh, and in the summertime, the wild flowers are unreal.
- Location: Golden
- Distance: 4.6 miles (loop)
- Why I Love It: The drive up to this trail is stellar as you enter into the rolling foothills of Golden home to beautiful, unique houses with acres of land. I also enjoy the challenge of this hike, as the first half is mostly uphill, but then you get to take a breather as you hit the peak to go downhill. This trail is also connected to multiple others, so you can make your hike as long or as short as you please!
- Location: Golden
- Distance: The choice is truly yours
- Why I Love It: Similar to Green Mountain, North Table Mountain has a plethora of trails to choose from. You could truly just hike the hill to the top for the view and then back down or you can continue to hike the many trails along the mountaintop. I still have yet to explore all of them! This is a very popular spot, but the parking lot only allows a certain number of cars, plus the space is so big that it never feels too crowded up there.
Have you found any great, sunny hiking trails perfect for cold weather?
Let me know in the comments below!