Doing business in Denver or Boulder automatically makes us want to squeeze in some mountain-related activity, but most of us don't have the extra time to drive three hours to a ski hill or the patience for the rigmarole of renting a road bike. Not to worry: Right outside of these cities is Colorado's Front Range, and its best treasures are its hiking trails, usually traversable nine months out of the year, some even year-round. The scenery is, of course, spectacular, but the ass-kicking workouts are unsurpassed – and all you need are some treaded shoes and a CamelBak. Here are five of the area's best – and not overly populated – trails that you can knock out in a few hours. Launch Gallery >>
Another lesser-traveled Boulder gem, this easygoing hike takes off from the very north end of town, far from the crowds of the Chautauqua Park area. From Highway 36, follow Lee Hill Drive through Broadway until you see a parking lot on the left side of the road, just before it carves into the foothills. Cross back over Lee Hill and follow the multi-use Foothills Trail about a half-mile until the Hogback Ridge Trail breaks to the left. It's best to work the loop clockwise, so keep left when it splits. You'll wind your way to the top of the narrow ridgeline that provides views of desert-looking expanse to the right and rugged, wooded terrain to the left, reminding you that you're straddling two shockingly different landscapes. Eventually, the trail swings back around and skitters downhill to the loop junction. Round trip is 2.4 miles; also a good one to turn into a trail run.
More Information: For trail details and map, visit bouldercolorado.gov.
Credit: Gary Stevens
• Remote & Refined