Six Best City Hikes - Page 2
|Great Falls Park, Virginia (iStockphoto)|
Red Rocks Trail
Red Rocks is Morrison’s claim to fame. But this park offers much more than one of the county’s best outdoor concert venues. It also boasts some of the greatest hiking near Denver. About 15 miles outside the city, the Red Rocks Trail is a six-mile loop through dramatic giant red rocks. There’s also easy access to connect to Matthews-Winters Park for those looking for a more grueling trek.
TRAILHEAD: This trail starts at the lower north parking lot for Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Heading out of Denver, take I-70 to exit 259 for Morrison, then turn left at the light. Continue 1.5 miles before turning into the Red Rocks entrance and follow signs for the lower north lot.
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Coal Creek Trail
The Coal Creek hike is perfect for an afternoon outing with the family, your dog, or solo. The trail leads through a historical coal-mining region, offering a bit of education and history to your average day hike. While the mining town is long gone, those interested in artifacts and hidden treasures are sure to have an exciting time. You can even smell burnt cinders and coal at times, so be weary of ghost miners. The trail leads through a shady forest (in the Pacific Northwest, how rare…) and over newly renovated bridges. The hike guides you along streams and features a picturesque waterfall. At 5.6 miles roundtrip, this one- to three-hour hike can be tackled in half a day, while two connecting trails offer options for a longer trek.
TRAILHEAD: The small dirt parking lot for this hike is located right off of Coal Creek Parkway between 405 and Newcastle.
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Great Falls Park
What better way to escape than by blocking out the city sounds with the overpowering roar of waterfalls? Great Falls Park, only 15 minutes from the nation’s capital, offers this kind of much needed serenity. Hikers, kayakers, canoers, and climbers alike can be found romping through the woods, rivers, and canals of Great Falls Park. A three-mile loop connecting the River, Ride, and Matildaville trails is a great route for the city dweller looking to transform into a mountaineer for a few hours.
TRAILHEAD: From Washington, D.C., take the George Washington Memorial Parkway toward I-495. Stay in the left lanes and follow signs for I-495 south. Once on the ramp, stay in the left lane and take the exit for Route 193 West, Georgetown Pike. Follow this for three miles until you come to the intersection of Old Dominion Drive. Make a right and you will see the sign for the park. The road will dead-end into the entrance station.
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