You can't talk about Denver without mentioning Red Rocks. This classic, easily accessible, easy to find, and truly gorgeous area is a no-brainer when considering where to go for a hike, run, or family excursion near Denver. Though technically closer to Morrison, CO, Denver and Boulder are both only a stone's throw away.
What Makes It Great
The famous geological formations on show at Red Rocks have long attracted visitors and locals alike, and there are a number of different trails worth exploring. Two trails worth mentioning in particular are the Red Rocks Trail and the Trading Post Trail.
The Red Rocks Trail itself is a little less than a mile long, but if you take the connector to Matthews-Winters Park, then you can get a nice 6-mile loop out of the deal. In the summer, watch for rattlesnakes and unpredictable weather. It is, after all, the wild west, y'all. The weather can change quickly, so exercise judgment. If it's hot, it might get cold; if it's cool, it might get colder. A shorter option is the Trading Post Trail, a beautiful 1.4 miles of rock formations, canyons, and valleys. The trailhead is located just outside the Trading Post Gift Shop, where you can find restrooms, food and drinks, and other assorted knick-knacks before heading out. Keep in mind that trails close half an hour before sunset, so this probably isn't the best after-work destination (unless you're pulling graveyard shifts - in which case you could arrive for the sunrise when the park opens at 5 a.m.).If you're coming from out of town, be sure to to visit the Amphitheatre Museum, run the stairs, and probably listen to some live music. They say every show at Red Rocks is the best because the natural acoustics and sheer beauty inspire every performer who graces its stage.
Who is Going to Love It
Both the Red Rocks Trail and the Trading Post Trail are relatively easy, family friendly hikes, and if you're lucky, you could theoretically plan to hike them in the morning and then enjoy a concert at the world famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre in the evening.