1. Cascade Falls – 7.5 miles – Dog-Friendly
Located near Grand Lake, Colorado, Cascade Falls is a great hike for those in search of a beautiful tree lined hike with babbling creeks, lakes, huge ravines, and of course a waterfall. This 7.5-mile hike begins at the trailhead at Monarch Lake. Head clockwise around the lake to cut about 3 miles off of your hike. As you hike, be on the lookout for moose, deer, fox, and other wildlife. In 2014 an avalanche took out part of the trail so the route has recently been rerouted. Though you do gain some elevation, it is a steady slope and manageable for a variety of hikers.
Trail Tips: May through the end of July expect high water from mountain snowmelt and runoff. Keep kids and dogs safely away from the quick water currents to prevent accidents. You will lose cell service on this hike so always tell someone where you are headed prior to hiking and if possible, go with a buddy.
2. St. Louis Lake Trail – 900ft elevation gain – Dog-Friendly
With just about 900 feet in elevation gain over the trip, this 7-mile trail is great for all ages and abilities. Dogs are welcome and will enjoy the ample water access throughout the hike as well as the beautiful, secluded lake at the end of the trip.
Trail Tips: A lot of this hike is in moose territory. If you see a moose, keep your distance, back away, and place a sturdy object like a large tree or boulder between you and the moose, and let the moose leave the area. If you have a dog, make sure to keep it quiet and prevent it from chasing the moose. Moose are threatened by dogs and will charge.
3. Byers Peak Trail – 7 Miles – Dog-Friendly
This trail is a favorite of visitors and locals alike. Once on the trail, be prepared for a 1.8-mile steep hike. Once near the top, be on the lookout for mountain goats that can be quite curious. The top provides a 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Trail Tips: Most accessible June through November. Avoid the “boring” 2 miles of road hiking by bringing a bike and biking from the parking area to the trailhead. No bikes are allowed past the trailhead, but there is a bike rack where you can lock your bike at the trailhead.
4. Silver Dollar Lake Trail – 1.5 miles – Dog-Friendly
Located in Idaho Springs this is the perfect hike when you’re heading to or from Winter Park, Colorado. Though only 1.5 miles round trip, this steep trail is full of fantastic views, waterfalls, wildflowers, fishing, and mountain lakes.
Trail Tips: This is a popular hike and the trail can get busy so go early if possible. The first lake you hit s a private lake, the second one is Silver Dollar Lake. If Silver Dollar Lake is too crowded for your liking, keep trekking and you will hit Murray Lake a bit higher up, but much less crowded.