If you watched my vlog about places to eat and drink in Denver, you may not believe that we did more than take pickled vodka shots. My friends David, Travis, and I went hiking in and around Denver.
I consider myself an avid hiker. I am used to the snow and rough conditions that New England can provide on the mountains and I have the gear for making sure I manage those well. However, my friends did not. As we hiked in April, there was still plenty of snow on the ground. You will see how to NOT be prepared for these conditions as you watch my vlog.
My friends made the mistake of letting me pick the hikes when we visited. Don’t get me wrong, I chose some less challenging mountains, knowing what I was getting myself into. But, I still picked some hikes I wanted to do.
My first selection was Buffalo Mountain. This is an out-and-back trail that gains a little over 3,000 ft. in elevation during the 5.2 mile hike. It is located in Silverthorne, Colorado and has a lot of good wildlife-viewing potential, depending on the season.
The drive from Denver is roughly 1.5 hours through some steep elevation gains. During the normal winter months, most of this route requires you to have chains on your tires, so make sure to be prepared for this possibility. The drive is great, with all sorts of beautiful views and cool stops along the way. If you haven’t checked out my vlog on things to do off the mountains, here are some helpful tips.
The hike took us several hours and was a complete strugglefest, as you can see. I highly recommend bringing these items if you decide to tackle any 12-14,000 footers in Colorado in April:
1. Snow shoes — I recommend MSR Ascents.
2. Trekking poles — Love my Lekis!
3. Multiple layers — Be prepared for varying temperatures.
4. Extra socks – I go with Darn Tough, always!
5. All of your typical hiking essentials — Water, snacks, rain gear, etc.
Our Buffalo Mountain hike turned into much more of a what-not-to-do hike, thanks to Travis! Because of how it went, I changed our next day’s plans to something more manageable: the Royal Arch trail.
This trail is #29 out of 149 for things to do in Denver, and is well worth the trip. I would consider this a tourist-style hike, as all of the trails are well-marked and cleared. It took us about 2 hours round-trip and it was much easier for my friends. You just need a basic pack and some liquids for this hike even in April.
The Royal Arch is insanely cool ,which made this hike well worth it. As I said, this hike is very touristy and popular. The parking lot is a good size, but you may have a tough time finding a parking spot if you arrive late in the day — especially on a weekend. I definitely recommend this hike, especially for the less experienced trekkers. Check out my review on Trip Advisor.
Finishing the Royal Arch trail was the extent of our treks in Denver, as we were limited by time. Both of these hikes sparked my hiking craze into a desire to go back ASAP for some 14,000 footers when the snow is gone.
Colorado is a truly beautiful state with a wealth of wilderness to explore. I want to see more and I encourage you to do the same! I hope this vlog provided some value for your Colorado hiking plans.