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PO Box 858 Firestone, CO 80520

Hours: 9 - 5 M-F

by Lindsay Adams

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The beauty of Colorado is all in the numbers‭! ‬41‭ ‬State Parks‭, ‬12‭ ‬National Parks and Monuments‭, ‬13‭ ‬National Forests and Grasslands‭, ‬and 58‭ ‬14ers‭ (‬peaks reaching more than 14,000‭ ‬feet above sea level‭). ‬All of this adds up to thousands of miles of hiking trails allowing everything from the beginner to the experienced hiker to enjoy all Colorado has to offer‭.‬

Hiking is truly one of the best ways to get out and get some exercise while taking in all of the beauty that is unique to Colorado‭. ‬It is truly the outdoor adventure that can appeal to young and old‭, ‬and to most fitness levels depending on terrain‭. ‬And as‭ ‬we slowly move from having spent so much time indoors‭, ‬feeling the sun on your face and smelling the mix of flowers‭, ‬trees‭, ‬and‭ ‬lush grasses on a good morning hike is just good for everyone’s soul‭.‬

Here are a few things to keep in mind before you head out‭. ‬First of all‭, ‬decide what you are looking for in terms of difficulty‭.‬‭ ‬Did you have in mind a leisurely walk on a flat surface with little incline‭? ‬Maybe a walking path or a nice loop around a lake‭ ‬would be ideal‭. ‬If you are wanting a little more incline and are up for rocky terrain‭, ‬and a bit of climbing‭, ‬a more challenging‭ ‬trail hike might be more to your liking‭. ‬Whatever your preference‭, ‬do a little homework before heading out‭. ‬There are several sites listed below that will give you a variety of options not far from the Carbon Valley‭.‬

In the heat of the summer‭, ‬remember that hiking early in the morning ensures cooler temperatures and less risk for afternoon thunderstorms‭. ‬With that‭, ‬always have plenty of sunscreen‭ (‬reapply often‮…‬I know‭, ‬this sounds like your mother‭!), ‬water‭ (‬at least 2‭ ‬quarts per person‭), ‬snacks‭, ‬masks‭ (‬if required‭), ‬layers of clothing‭, ‬good shoes and a camera to capture the Colorado beauty‭.‬

Let’s take a look at a few hiking options that are fairly close to home‭ (‬within 30‭ ‬miles of the Carbon Valley‭). ‬They all offer easy‭ ‬to moderate hiking trails ranging from 3‭ ‬to 5.5‭ ‬miles in distance‭. ‬

1‭.‬ Rabbit Mountain Open Space‭ (‬northwest Longmont‭) ‬offers an easy/moderate 3.8‭ ‬loop that is dog-friendly‭ (‬on a leash‭) ‬and offers beautiful views‭. ‬Picnic spots are also available at the trailhead‭. ‬Rabbit Mountain has beautiful views and is also equestrian friendly‭. ‬The hike here is good for all ages‭, ‬and just to note‭, ‬it is less crowded on the weekends than other areas‭. ‬

2‭.‬ Hall Ranch Open Space is just beyond Longmont in Lyons and offers a 4.5‭ ‬moderate out and back trail‭. ‬The trails here are also shared with bikers‭, ‬so be on the lookout‭. ‬You may not bring your dogs here‮…‬sorry‭. ‬Also‭, ‬be mindful of possible muddy spots following rainfall‭. ‬

3‭.‬ Button Rock Preserve‭, ‬which is a 20-mile drive from Longmont‭, ‬has 5.4‭ ‬miles of hiking trails that follow a beautiful river‭. ‬This‭ ‬is a great day trip for a family as there is lots of wildlife to be seen‭. ‬Keep in mind there is no swimming in the reservoir though‭, ‬and dogs are allowed on a leash‭ (‬one dog per visitor‭). ‬

4‭.‬ McIntosh Lake is located in northwest Longmont and is a 3.6-mile loop around the lake‭. ‬This is more of a walking trail but is very scenic with great mountain views‭. ‬

5‭.‬ Mount Sanitas‭, ‬located in Boulder‭, ‬offers easy‭, ‬moderate and difficult trails‭. ‬It is a very popular trailhead that is open to hikers and equestrians‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬no bikes here‭. ‬The views from the top are incredible‭! ‬

6‭.‬ Chautauqua Park is also another Boulder hot spot‭. ‬It offers a variety of level hikes from easy to difficult‭, ‬and also a great open space park where you can enjoy a picnic‭. ‬It’s a great place to bring out-of-town guests‭, ‬but please be advised that during the summer‭, ‬weekdays may be better as Chautauqua‭ ‬gets pretty crowded‭.‬

7‭.‬ Heil Valley Ranch is just outside of Longmont and is another great family hiking spot‭. ‬With lots of wildlife to take in and a short 1.8-mile loop‭, ‬you can pack a picnic and take in the scenery‭. ‬Shade trees‭, ‬restrooms‭, ‬and picnic spots are available here‭. ‬

8‭.   ‬Devil’s Backbone Open Space‭, ‬in Loveland offers easy‭, ‬and moderate trails and is a good trail for kids and out-of-town guests‭. ‬This close to civilization hike is fun and the Devil’s Backbone rock formation is stunning‭. ‬A must-see‭!‬

These are just a few of the many beautiful spots you can roam that are right in our area‭. ‬We are fortunate to live so close to so many outdoor options‭. ‬Take it all in and happy hiking‭!

Lindsay Adams is a Firestone resident‭, ‬blogger‭, ‬and wellness resource for those seeking to bloom in their next chapter of life‭. ‬Check out for more great topics‭.‬