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Niedrach Trail – Barr Lake State Park

Niedrach Trail at Barr Lake State Park

Niedrach Trail at Barr Lake State Park

The Niedrach Trail heads south from the nature center at Barr Lake State Park near Brighton, Colorado. The trail goes around the whole lake – 8.8 miles in total and is essentially flat the entire way. I went to the two-mile marker, but in that span I saw a herd of 20 deer, two bald eagles and scores of ducks and geese.

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Rio Grande Trail in Glenwood Springs

Colorado River in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Colorado River in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

The Rio Grande Trail connects Glenwood Springs to Aspen, but I just walked a brief section of it in Glenwood. Starting in Two Rivers Park, I walked by the junction of the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers, passed under the 8th Street Bridge, and headed downtown for pizza.

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Allluvial Fan Trail

Alluvial Fan Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

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Dakota Ridge Trail – Morrison, Colorado

View of Red Rocks Amphitheatre from the Dakota Ridge Trail near Morrison, Colorado

View of Red Rocks Amphitheatre from the Dakota Ridge Trail near Morrison, Colorado

Location: Dinosaur Ridge near Morrison

Trail Length: Variable, depending on how deep into North Dinosaur Park you go

Elevation Gain: About 550 feet

Notable Features: The big draw is Dinosaur Ridge, a park with trails and free self-guided or paid guided tours detailing the pre-historic beasts that roamed the area and have left their mark. There’s also the Dakota Ridge Trail that splits off the road to the north that leads into North Dinosaur Park. It gives great views of Morrison, the surrounding foothills, and Red Rocks Amphitheater.

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Sprague Lake Trail – Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Sprague Lake Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Sprague Lake Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Location: Rocky Mountain National Park

Trail Length: Just under one mile, loop trail around Sprague Lake

Elevation Gain: Minimal

Notable Features: An easy but very scenic walk around Sprague Lake, one of the more popular areas of Rocky Mountain National Park. Beautiful clear water in the lake and a great view of nearby mountain peaks. There are picnic areas near the parking lot as well.

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Nymph Lake Trail – Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Nymph Lake Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Nymph Lake Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Location: Rocky Mountain National Park, at the Bear Lake trailhead

Trail Length: About 1.3 miles, in-and-back trail past Nymph Lake

Elevation Gain: About 300 feet

Notable Features: An easy walk through the woods past Nymph Lake. Climb up onto the rocks north of the trail for a great view of the mountain peaks to the south. We were visited by a couple blue jays interested in our picnic lunch.

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Ladora Lake/Lake Mary Loop – Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Colorado

Lake Mary at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

Lake Mary at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

Location: Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

Trail Length: About 2.8 miles, double loop trail around Ladora Lake and Lake Mary

Elevation Gain: Minimal elevation change

Notable Features: An easy and pleasant trail that loops around two lakes in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal. Be on the lookout for birds, frogs and turtles around the lakes, and there are buffalo and deer roaming the surrounding prairie.

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Mount Sanitas Loop Trail – Boulder, Colorado

View of Boulder from the peak of the Mount Sanitas Trail

View of Boulder from the peak of the Mount Sanitas Trail

Location: Off Mapleton Avenue, just west of Boulder

Trail Length: About 3.0 miles, loop trail that includes the Mount Sanitas, East Ridge and Sanitas Valley trails

Elevation Gain: Almost 1,300 feet

Notable Features: A strenuous trail that is very popular with the locals. Expect to share the trail with a lot of people and dogs, especially on the weekends. The peak offers great views of Boulder as well as the mountains to the west, and the descent down the East Ridge Trail is very steep and sometimes hard to follow (just follow the crowd). Once you reach the bottom, the Sanitas Valley Trail is a wide gravel path back to the trailhead.

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Cherry Creek Spillway Trail – Aurora, Colorado

Cherry Creek Spillway Trail in Aurora

Cherry Creek Spillway Trail in Aurora

Location: Between Iliff Avenue and East Hampton Avenue in Aurora

Trail Length: About 4.5 miles, in and back trail along a bike/walking path

Elevation Gain: Less than 200 feet

Notable Features: An easy, flat trail that connects up with an entire trail network throughout the Denver area. You’re guaranteed to see prairie dogs, and I once saw a coyote.Just keep an eye out for bikers whizzing down the trail. Despite the name, this section does not have views of Cherry Creek… the name comes from the area being a spillway in case the creek floods.

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Trading Post Trail – Red Rocks, Colorado

Trading Post Trail at Red Rocks Park in Morrison, Colorado

Trading Post Trail at Red Rocks Park in Morrison, Colorado

Location: At Red Rocks Park near Morrison, Colorado

Trail Length: About 1.5 miles, loop trail

Elevation Gain: About 350 feet

Link: Red Rocks Trading Post Trail on AllTrails.com

Notable Features: An easy trail that starts at one of the most iconic music venues in the world at Red Rocks. The trail starts at the Trading Post and loops around and massive set of the parks namesake red rocks. Check the Red Rocks site for restrictions on event days in the summer.

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