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Bluffs Regional Park Trail – Lone Tree, Colorado

Bluffs Regional Park Trail near Lone Tree, Colorado

Bluffs Regional Park Trail near Lone Tree, Colorado

Location: Near town of Lone Tree, south of Denver

Trail Length: About 3 miles, loop trail

Elevation Gain: About 250 feet

Link: Bluffs Regional Park Trail on AllTrails.com

Notable Features: An easy trail without much elevation gain. Great for kids and beginning hikers. It’s not exactly a wilderness as suburban developments edge right up to the park, but it offers nice views of the outer suburbs and the mountains to the west.

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Dale Ball Trails North – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Dale Ball Trails North near Santa Fe, New Mexico

Dale Ball Trails North near Santa Fe, New Mexico

Location: Foothills east of Santa Fe

Trail Length: Lots of ways to go from short to long – my route was about 6 miles

Elevation Gain: Also varies but pretty flat unless you head into the canyon at the northern end of the trail system.

Notable Features: About 24 miles of trails are in this well-marked trail system maintained by the Santa Fe Conservation Trust. Heavily used by bikers and hikers with kids and dogs due to its convenience to town. Great views looking over Santa Fe.

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Santa Fe Canyon Preserve Trail – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe Canyon Preserve Trail

Santa Fe Canyon Preserve Trail

Location: The Santa Fe Canyon Preserve Trail is maintained by the Nature Conservancy and is located in the foothills east of Santa Fe

Trail Length: About 1.75 miles loop trail

Elevation Gain: Less than 100 feet

Notable Features: An easy, mostly flat trail that circles around Two Mile Reservoir that includes information about the history of the area, including several dams built to create a reservoir to furnish water to the nearby city. You can find the remains of an old dam just off the trail – and also be on the lookout for beavers in Two Mile Reservoir.

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Black Canyon Trail – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Black Canyon Trail near Santa Fe, New Mexico

Black Canyon Trail near Santa Fe, New Mexico

Location: At Black Canyon Campground, just outside Hyde Memorial State Park east of Santa Fe

Trail Length: About 2.0 miles, loop trail

Elevation Gain: Just under 500 feet, but trail starts at 8,300 feet in elevation

Notable Features: A fairly easy trail made moderate if you’re not used to the high elevation with lots of pine and aspen trees. The campground closes in winter, but there is a lot near the highway where you can park then walk through the campground to get to the trailhead.

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Arthur’s Rock Trail – Fort Collins, Colorado

View of Horsetooth Reservoir from Arthur's Rock Trail, Lory State Park, west of Fort Collins, Colorado

View of Horsetooth Reservoir from Arthur’s Rock Trail, Lory State Park, west of Fort Collins, Colorado

Location: Lory State Park, west of Fort Collins

Trail Length: 3.8 miles, out and back

Elevation Gain: About 1150 feet

Link: Arthur’s Rock Trail on AllTrails.com

Notable Features: Well-marked trail with moderate elevation gain through forest with great views of Horsetooth Reservoir and the surrounding area at the top of the trail.

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Rattlesnake Canyon Trail – Santa Barbara, California

Rattlesnake Canyon Trail near Santa Barbara, California

View of the cloud-covered Pacific Ocean from Rattlesnake Canyon Trail near Santa Barbara, California

Location: Foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains above Santa Barbara

Trail Length: 5.1 miles, out and back

Elevation Gain: About 1600 feet

Link: Rattlesnake Canyon Trail on AllTrails.com

Notable Features: Fairly strenuous trail heading up to Gibraltar Road. Some shade near the bottom of the trail, but exposed near the top. A good workout with great views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Barbara.

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San Ysidro Trail to Waterfall – Montecito, California

View of the waterfall at the end of San Ysidro Trail near Santa Barbara, California

View of the waterfall at the end of San Ysidro Trail near Santa Barbara, California

Location: Foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains north of Montecito

Trail Length: 3.85 miles, out and back

Elevation Gain: About 1150 feet

Link: San Ysidro Trail on AllTrails.com

Notable Features: Gradual elevation gain spread over the length of the trail, waterfall at the end, which only had a trickle of water due to the drought in July 2016

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Red Rocks Trail – Santa Ynez Mountains, California

Swimming hole off the Red Rocks Trail north of Santa Barbara, California

Swimming hole off the Red Rocks Trail north of Santa Barbara, California

Location: Los Padres National Forest in the Santa Ynez Mountains north of Santa Barbara

Trail Length: 5.4 miles, out and back

Elevation Gain: Less than 150 feet

AllTrails.com: Red Rocks Trail

Notable Features: Mostly flat trail that winds through some forest and meadow, several swimming holes to cool off, trail eventually reaches Gibraltar Dam

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Lake Gulch/Inner Canyon Trails – Castlewood Canyon State Park, Colorado

Lake Gulch and Inner Canyon trails at Castlewood Canyon State Park near Franktown, Colorado - Instagram

Lake Gulch and Inner Canyon trails at Castlewood Canyon State Park near Franktown, Colorado – Instagram

Location: Castlewood Canyon State Park in Franktown, southeast of Denver

Trail Length: My route: 1.8 miles

Elevation Gain: About 200 feet

Link: Lake Gulch Trail on AllTrails.com and Inner Canyon Trail on AllTrails.com

Notable Features: Relatively easy trail through rock formations, some pine trees and a rocky stream.

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Estes Cone Trail – Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Cone Trail near Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Cone Trail near Estes Park, Colorado

Location: Edge of Rocky Mountain National Park south of Estes Park

Trail Length: 6.2 miles, out and back

Elevation Gain: About 1600 feet

Link: Estes Cone Trail on AllTrails.com

Notable Features: Moderate trail at high elevation through forest for first half of trail. Second half is more strenuous and climbs to Estes Cone for a great view of the surrounding area.

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