Despite being located in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, Denver is a bustling metropolis that can feel, well, a lot like a big city with its large buildings and crowded streets. Sometimes it’s just nice to be alone and get away from the noise and the city atmosphere. Fortunately, Denver’s mountainous region is never too far away – no matter where you are in the city. If you want to be even more alone, look for a hidden place where you can relax and enjoy the peace that only nature can bring.
If you long for the outdoors, there are several nearby places that you can go. These are just a few of the outdoor gems you can find close to Denver.
1. Devil’s Causeway
If you like the look of the Great Wall of China, check out this narrow rock ridge in the Flat Tops Wilderness. Made by nature, the Devil’s Causeway twists and turns its way across the Colorado wilderness. There are places where the trail is just three feet wide, and the drop-offs are treacherous if you are one of the few brave enough to take the hike.
Another narrow pathway is Skyline Drive. Built by prison inmates in 1906, this roadway for horse-drawn carriages has since been paved, but that modernization makes it no less nerve-wracking to drive a car along this 800-foot ridge. If you’re courageous enough to stomach the twists and turns as well as the rises and falls, you’ll find some extremely beautiful views from the provided pullouts.
3. Lone Eagle Peak
At a height just under 12,000 feet, Lone Eagle Peak is often ignored by hikers looking for bigger rocks to climb. However, the steep spire is clearly visible over Crater Lake, and its rocky surface makes mounting Lone Eagle Peak a much more difficult task than you might imagine. If you make it to the summit, you’ll find some of the most spectacular views of the lake from the mountain’s dangerous ledges.
4. Last Dollar Road
Near Telluride, you’ll find this one-lane dirt road that meanders through the Dallas Divide and the Mount Sneffles Wilderness before ending in the San Miguel River Valley. You’ll want to take your time as you complete the loop by stopping to admire the impressive scenery, especially at Wilson Peak, the alleged inspiration for the Coors Light label.
5. Wheeler Geologic Area
The sandstone spires of Wheeler Geologic Area were formed nearly 30 million years ago by volcanic eruptions, and are just as impressive today. You’ll enjoy a 7-mile hike through the creeks and trees to reach this area, but the unique coral-like appearance of the spires will be worth the trip.
Just below the Snowmass Mountain, (not to be confused with Snowmass Ski Resort), you’ll find Snowmass Lake and a huge, snow-covered field. Finding this hidden gem requires a grueling 8-mile hike through the thick aspen groves and past the beaver ponds, but once you’re there, you’ll find a sparkling lake perfect for sitting and thinking. Intense hikers will like the 16-mile round-trip hike from Buckskin Pass to Snowmass Lake.
Where’s your favorite hidden outdoor location near Denver? We’d love to hear if you’re willing to share your secrets!