Right outside of Denver and surrounded by natural beauty and tons of parks, Centennial, Colorado, is the perfect place to live if you enjoy being outside. Looking for more ways to explore with the family or on your own? Thankfully, there are several awesome trails nearby, great for hikers of all skill levels. Here are eight of the best places to hike near Centennial.
Highline Canal Trail
Image via Flickr by Christian Collins
A long, easy-to-use, multi-surface trail right in Centennial, the Highline Canal Trail is popular with all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts. Hike, run, bike, and more on this 14-mile paved trail. If you’re hiking, the entire length of the trail would take about five hours, so it might be better to choose to do smaller portions with younger hikers in mind. Along the way, you’ll find tons of spots for picnics and taking in the beautiful sites of the area, including a few bridges, a lake, and some rivers. This trail is open for use year-round from dawn until dusk.
Just 5 miles north of Centennial, the Goldsmith Gulch trail is an urban trail that follows along Goldsmith Gulch and connects to several other trails around Rosamond Park. This trail is only about half a mile long and is mostly flat with a crushed gravel and dirt surface, making it ideal for families with young kids. Hikers, walkers, and runners are welcome on the trail any time, and it passes by a playground to the west.
Willow Creek Trail Loop
Located in Roxborough State Park, about 25 miles from Centennial, the Willow Creek Trail Loop is a fun and easy loop that only covers 1.4 miles and 164 feet of elevation but provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature. During the spring and summer, you’ll find this dirt trail lined with wildflowers. At the northern part of the loop, you can take the Fountain Valley Trail just 0.1 miles north to the Fountain Valley Overlook for a scenic view of the area.
The Willow Creek Trail Loop runs past the Roxborough State Park Visitors Center, which offers restrooms, maps, and is open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. from Tuesday through Sunday. Roxborough has several other trails available for hiking and provides views of neat rock formations in various areas of the park. Plan your hike between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. any day.
Bluffs Regional Park Trail
Another great trail for kids, the Bluffs Regional Park trail is 3.8 miles long and pretty flat. You’ll only get 367 feet of elevation gain throughout the hike, which will take about an hour to complete. You’ll enjoy views of the Denver skyline and the Colorado Front Range mountains along the way. The terrain is soft dirt and gravel and features wildflowers during warm seasons. Hike any time of the year from sunrise to sunset.
Bluffs Regional Park covers 235 acres of land and offers picnic shelters, restrooms, and a parking lot. You’ll find access to other local trails like the Highlands Ranch trails and the East/West Regional trail as you hike. Stick to the Bluffs Regional Park trail loop to start and maybe consider branching off to the other trails during another visit.
Butterfly Hill Trail
The Butterfly Hill trail is a short and easy trail in Cherry Creek State Park. This is a 1-mile unpaved trail that runs through prairies and features some small hills. You can access the trail from Suhaka Field, which has bathrooms and open space to play. Cherry Creek State Park is open from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. each day and offers camping, swimming, and other nature-filled activities.
Green Mountain and Hayden Trail
Explore Green Mountain via William F. Hayden Green Mountain Park from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. any day of the year. The Green Mountain trail starts at the entrance to the park off of West Alameda Parkway, about 20 miles from Centennial, and goes toward the summit. Once you reach the summit, you’ll come back down Green Mountain Trail and then follow Hayden Trail back once you reach it and later connect into the Green Mountain Trail again for the finish.
The total trail loop is 4.6 miles, about two hours of hiking, a mostly dirt path, and provides 816 feet of elevation gain. You’ll find some rest areas and bathrooms throughout the park, but they aren’t always available along the trails. Green Mountain is a great place to hike, so don’t just limit yourself to this trail. Visit often for different experiences.
Mount Glennon Trail
Mount Glennon is a part of the Hogbacks range of mountains that many consider to be part of the front range of the Rocky Mountains. Starting at the access point off of Soda Lakes Road, about 24 miles from Centennial, you’ll find a nice parking area with portable restrooms. The trail is out and back, rather than a loop, and it’s 1.6 miles and features 790 feet of elevation gain. This is a shorter hike that will take about 40 minutes. Most adventurous hikers will enjoy the rock scramble and the small amount of rock climbing that the Mount Glennon summit offers.
One of the many trails in Deer Creek Canyon Park, the Meadowlark Trail is a moderately difficult trail with a lake and a gravel path. This trail is relatively flat with only 416 feet of elevation gain. It’s 5.5 miles and takes approximately two hours of hiking to cover out and back, which makes it great for beginners. At the entrance to the park, off of Grizzly Drive, you’ll find restrooms and other trailheads. Meadowlark Trail is accessible throughout the year from dawn until dusk and is about 18 miles from Centennial.
There you have it, the best places to hike in the area according to Crème de la Crème of Centennial, CO. Have you tried any of these spots with your family? Which is your favorite? If we missed a hiking destination nearby that you think we should know about, drop us a line. We might need to check it out.