Traditionally a place to escape the heat and enjoy Colorado’s scenic beauty, the Flatirons are sweeping views from Broomfield, Colorado, where the highest point is at 6,376 feet. It has flat, dusty landscapes and some of the highest temperatures in the Denver area. And although it’s quite a ride up its steep, rocky terrain, trail hikes make for a full day’s hike, or half day’s if you’re an early riser. (Flyts are offered at certain stations to accommodate hikers’ schedules.) There’s also terrain here and in adjacent Mesa Verde National Park that’s fit for experience hikers, AT or backpacking, and occasional bears.
To get to Broomfield, you can take U.S. 36, which passes over the next four major peaks on this trek to the top: Elkhorn, Mancos, Longs Peak and Monarch. Little Hogs Loop and Blackstone Loop have more challenging viewpoints and more elevation gain. The reservations-only Kenyon Trail serves the lesser-explored White River Range and Kodachrome Bowls. The Colorado River trail takes you on an unofficial shortcut around the top of Solitude Mountains, through a state park to the entrance to Backpack City and the ultimate end-of-the-day blast from the past — the Colorado River. Hiking here can make for the best picture-perfect days and the best Picassos of places yet unseen.