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9 great walks to see fall colors in Denver

Here's how you can go leaf-peeping without driving to the mountains.

COLORADO, USA — Peak season is pretty much over for leaf peepers in the mountains, but there's still some to see fall colors around the Denver metro area.

The last weeks of October will provide ample opportunities for festive fall experiences across the city.

Here are some walks you can take to explore some fantastic Denver neighborhoods and take in the fall season.

Capitol Hill

This neighborhood isn’t just home to millennials on single-speed bikes and $1,500 studio apartments. Meander through tree-lined streets and check out the older architecture in this pedestrian and bicycle-friendly neighborhood.

One cool walk is to start at Governor’s Park and to meander north to 13th Street before heading east to Cheesman Park, and then beginning a loop back.

It’s about 4 miles, but this is Capitol Hill, so there are plenty of coffee shops and bars to explore along the way.

Washington Park

Yes, this one is a classic, but it’s such a classic that it would be a shame not to mention it.

In addition to an awesome view of fall leaves, there’s epic people-watching here, what with all those hyper fit folks who come here specifically to show off.

Grab a cup of coffee and earn some Denver points at this iconic spot.

Credit: Tammy Affleck Williams

Sloan’s Lake

This is an area of Denver that is a combination of the old and the new, from the super cool bungalow houses of our city’s past to those modern developments that many of us can’t afford to even look at.

Like Washington Park, Sloan’s Lake is a slightly more down-to-earth place for people watchers – and it also has the benefit of super cool leaves and a unique view of downtown Denver.

Jefferson Park to Confluence Park

The Lower Highlands and Jefferson Park neighborhoods are another part of town that are changing rapidly, so this is a walk that gives you a taste of Denver – in addition to a cool look at stunning fall colors.

For this walk, park near the big REI (where you can also buy some Colorado-ish flannels, if that’s your thing) and head south on the Platte River trail. When you get to Empower Field at Mile High, following the path around the facility and then head up Clay Street. In a few blocks, you’ll hit Jefferson Park and – if you’re thirsty – Briar Commons Brewing. From here, you can either head back to your car down 23rd Street or keep going up Clay until you hit Speer and then 29th Street, which will take you over Interstate 25 across the Highlands Bridge and then back into LoHi.

City Park

This is another classic walk in Denver, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t include it. Take a walk around Denver’s City Park for outstanding views of the skyline and the Front Range, as well as multi-colored leaves blowing in the wind.

A walk around the park is about 3 miles, but there are plenty to side paths to make it longer or shorter if you choose.

Highline Canal Trail

There are lots of epic stretches of the Highline Canal trail, which runs for 71 miles between Aurora and Washington Park.

The stretch from Orchard Road to East Belleview Avenue is absolutely classic in the fall, with stunning mountain views and gorgeous colors. It’s about 4 miles roundtrip.

Another great stretch nearby is from Belleview to East Quincy Avenue near Kent Denver School, but for the most part, you can’t go wrong on this gravel trail.

Green Mountain

Yes, this mountain is pretty much devoid of foliage, but this spot close to the city gives you a great view of the fall colors from above.

This is a fun hike because it’s basically “choose your own adventure.” A hike to the top and then down via the Summit Loop is about 5 miles, give or take, but there are multiple places to cut it short. Either way, you get an awesome view of downtown Denver and the colorful trees below.

Platte River Trail

The South Platte River Trail runs from Chatfield Reservoir to north Denver, with awesome views of the mountains and trees along the water.

Some of the highlights include Riverside Cemetery in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood, where many of Denver’s earlier pioneers were laid to rest.

Farther south, the trail gives you a look at Hudson Gardens and Chatfield State Park.

Cherry Creek Trail

This is another walking and biking path that’s pretty obvious but that you’ve just got to include.

Some of the best stretches are north of downtown and toward the Cherry Creek Mall, especially as you get near Holly Street, where there are plenty of trees that will give you your fall fix.

This trail, unlike the Highline Canal Trail, is mostly paved.

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