PeaceJoyAustin

Cheap, free, and local-endorsed things to do in beautiful places

Shrine Ridge Trail

  • ★★★★★
  • 4 miles round trip (out & back)
  • Elevation gain: 970 feet
  • 2-3 hours
  • Moderately strenuous
  • Easily the best wildflower hike in Colorado
  • Meadows, rocky cliffs, and panoramic mountain views

Distance from Denver: 1 hour 40 minutes

Directions: Click here

Parking: Free

There’s no better place to see wildflowers near Denver than this fairly short and easy hike just off I-70 that’s sometimes referred to as Shrine Mountain Trail. The trail takes you through open meadows that provide excellent mountain views in every direction for most of the hike. You’ll finish on a lovely ridge with nearly 360 degree mountain views and a close-up glance at a large shrine-like rock formation.

Begin the hike at the Shrine Pass trailhead 2 miles west of the Vail Pass rest area exit off I-70 (be sure to exit when it says Rest Area). The drive in is a very well-maintained dirt road that any car can handle. From the trailhead, follow the path through meadows filled with wildflowers in every color you can imagine. You’ll pass a turn-off for Shrine Mountain Inn – continue straight and always stay on the widest path.

You’ll pass a rocky cliff and walk uphill for a bit. At both forks in the trail, choose the rightward path. You’ll walk along a ridge with a great view of the shrine rock formation before reaching the end of the path – at which there are several great areas to sit, relax, and enjoy the view. Return to your car via the same path.

 

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