Tuesday July 3, 2018

By Matthew Mongelia

5 Scenic Colorado Hikes to Enjoy High This Summer Travel

Summer in Colorado is synonymous with getting out and hitting the trails so we’ve put together a short list of the best hikes to check out while elevated on your favorite strains. We tried to include some spots that are easy to access with spectacular views – perfect to enjoy after some cannabis. Remember, public cannabis consumption is illegal in the Centennial State, so be sure to always consume at a private place within the confines of the law! Now, let’s take a look at some awesome Colorado hikes!



Hikes to Enjoy High in Colorado

Whether you’re a novice or an expert hiker, Colorado has a trail for everyone. From mildly flat terrain to steep, switchback-filled hikes, there really aren’t many features Colorado doesn’t offer. Because Colorado is so vast though, it can be a bit challenging to find the perfect hike. Next time you’re searching for a fun trail to explore, try out the following:

Devil’s Head Fire Lookout

A favorite hike for many Colorado residents, Devil’s Head Fire Lookout is a short and sweet 2.8 mile round trip trail with excellent views. Many stunning lesser views line the path up to the capstone: a forest fire lookout station and the final rise up 143 stairs to the lookout adds a dash of adventure.

Devil's Head Fire Lookout
Devil's Head Fire Lookout provides some of Colorado's best mountain views. photo credit

Be mindful climbing the stairs, especially when stoned, but a firm hand on the railing is all one needs to take in 360˚ views of endless forest and mountain range. Few hikes in CO have such a breathtaking climax for an easy-going trail. The open and welcoming picnic area near the summit is a perfect stop for munchies and snacks and there are copious other hikes around the area if this smaller one only sparked a fire for greater distances. Though this hike is popular, it typically sees minimal traffic as many locals opt for more challenging paths.

Rock Park in Castle Rock

Despite being situated in the middle of a suburban neighborhood (and possibly more so because of it), many people skip over the Rock Park Trail. It may seem a bit unappealing from the roadside, however, this 1.4m loop is deceptive.

Rock Park
Rock Park is a perfect hike for anyone looking to stay close to Denver. photo credit

Allowing for beautiful views of the town on the ascent, once up the rise, the trail gives way to sweeping vistas of the surrounding landscape – and the rock itself it something to behold. Cliff swallows have made their home in Castle Rock, giving it a constant fluttering halo. The effect is a serene escape, ideal for a quick vacation from the daily grind. Trust us, it’s better than you think.

Lair O the Bear

A short drive over to Golden makes this attractive for easy access from Denver. Lair O the Bear is another seemingly popular spot, but offers so many different paths to take that no one trail feels busy. Fewer people take the Bruin Bluff Trail, which has a great overlook on the cliff side after a few easy switchbacks.

Bear Creek Trail
Pick your trail wisely for whatever experience you're looking for! photo credit

The smaller Creekside Trail is perfect for a lazy high stroll next to the water. However, the highlight is the longer 1.6-mile Bear Creek trail. Rife with gorgeous wooden bridges passing over a babbling brook, the flat trail lets your mind happily drift off with the current. Though it is close to the highway, the path quickly diverges into the woods and feels a million miles away from civilization.

The full Bear Creek Trail extends out of the park (7 miles total), so the extent of your investment is up to you; you can turn back whenever the edibles wear off. If attempting the full hike, be sure to pack enough food and water (and a good map) as the more distant parts of the trail can be a bit remote.

Linwood Cemetery Hike

There are many astounding hikes surrounding Glenwood Springs (more on that below), but the one in the center of town is not to be missed. Nestled in the heart of Glenwood on yet another unassuming neighborhood street, the short .7 mile hike up to the top has picturesque views of the cozy mountain town right out of a postcard.

Doc Holliday Grave
The grave of Doc Holliday is a spooky sight to see after consuming some cannabis. photo credit

The supposed graves of Billy the Kid and Doc Holiday are the tourist draw of the  Linwood Cemetery hike, and worth the visit, but don’t skip many other graves dotting the cliff side. Memorials to lost lovers, bandits, beloved children and wandering souls all tell their own strange tales from an era gone by. I suggest aiming for sunset if you can, but it’s an otherworldly experience any time of the day – especially after consuming some cannabis.

Hanging Lake/Spouting Rock

Hanging Lake gets a lot of attention, but few make the drive from Denver out to this scenic spot. Located just outside of Glenwood Springs, this 2.8-mile out-and-back trail is popular for good reason. It’s a steep one (1,200 ft gain in elevation in a little over a mile), so utilize your most active sativa strain.

Hanging Lake
Hanging Lake is one of the most beautiful places to take in while high. photo credit

However, the lakebed fed by multiple waterfalls at the summit, impossibly higher up than one would ever expect to see such a sanctuary, is a surreal sight well worth the trek. Also, Hanging Lake features not just one fantastic payoff, but two! Spouting Rock, a natural fountain that sprays snowmelt out of a limestone wall, is often completely ignored by the visitors to the lake below despite only being an additional five minutes up the trail.

After gaping in awe at the lake, most are too stunned to venture on.  We’d suggest going a little early to avoid the heat of the day and the crowds. While a bit more demanding than other hikes on this list, breaking the final turn to emerge on such an oasis is like few other hiking experiences in the world, especially while elevated on some good cannabis.

When hitting the trail, always remember to consume combustibles in a safe and legal area (like your house) as cannabis is prohibited in national parks. Pack plenty of water, a snack and a trail map. Wear comfortable appropriate shoes, medicate responsibly and always remember to take the time to stop and bask in those crazy mountain views!


What’s your favorite hike to enjoy high in Colorado? Comment below!


Matthew Mongelia Matthew Mongelia

Matt Mongelia holds and MFA in writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has worked in the cannabis industry in various roles for 4 years, from dispensaries, production and retail to events, content and marketing. He is a writer for the comic Dark Beach, and has previously covered music and cultural content for SOL REPUBLIC.


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