Hike the Elk Range Trail

Colorado Centennial Cone Park, Colorado

Added by Rachel Miller

  • Distance: 6.6 miles roundtrip (out-and-back)
  • Elevation gain: 400 ft
  • Easy, flat hike
  • Backcountry feel with a well-marked trail
  • Wildflower meadows and snow-capped mountains
  • Close to Golden but feels very secluded

This is an incredible and beautiful hike that is just off of Route 6 but feels a million miles away. Drive up Douglas Mountain Road for the west park access (and I do mean UP - it's a quick elevation gain), and you'll run right into the Centennial Cone Park entrance. There is a bathroom and a decent amount of parking, especially when you're one of the only people on the trail like I was! This trail is also used by mountain bikers, and it's important to note that on weekends, odd days are reserved for hikers and even days for bikers. I went on a weekday, and it was practically deserted. There are also periodic closures for the elk, so make sure to check the Jefferson County website before you go.

You will see the trailhead from the parking lot, and the trail itself is very easy to follow the entire way. The first mile or so is open meadow with some incredible views of the Rockies, and then you will reach a gate that takes you onto private property for a short stretch. Make sure to close the gate behind you!

You will go through one more gate that you need to make sure stays closed, and the rest of the hike out is rolling hills, gorgeous wildflowers and trees. You will probably see some wildlife too! The trail is wide enough that you can easily pass other hikers or bikers. It did get quite muddy in places, so I recommend gaiters if it has been raining. I also recommend sunscreen, because you are almost totally exposed for the entire hike.

After 3 miles, you will reach the north access parking lot, which is your turnaround point. There's a lovely little bench to take a breath, and then you can return the way you came. The view on the hike back is really stunning because you're walking into the mountains instead of away from them. This hike was honestly one of the most beautiful I've ever done, and it's easy enough and short enough to be accessible to almost anyone.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Trail shoes
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Fitness, Hiking, Photography, Running

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn



Easy Parking
Family Friendly

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

10 months ago

One of the better trails in the foothills near Denver. Sections of the park are closed in the winter months for hunting and elk habitat.

10 months ago

Added by Rachel Miller

hiker, camper, runner, traveler, adventurer and lover of all things outside :)

More Adventures Nearby

Hike the Spearhead

Colorado / Glacier Gorge Trailhead

Beginning from the Glacier Gorge trailhead, follow trail signs towards Mills Lake. At Mills, continue onward past Black Lake, and then continue hiking up into the incredible basin above Black Lake.

Kyle Frost
2 Saves

Hike Mt. Elbert via Black Cloud Trail

Colorado / Black Cloud Trailhead

Directions:  Heading south from Leadville from U.S. 24: West on CO 82 for 10.5 miles to a hidden right turn that leads to a trail head. If you make it to the Mt.

Mike Stevens
2 Saves

Backpack to Dragon's Back via Horsethief Trail

Colorado / Horsethief Trailhead

The Uncompahgre Wilderness stretches out through the mountains and forests of southwestern Colorado, with worn trails lingering beside abandoned 19th-century mines and crossing old alpine sheep pastu.

Jonathon Reed
15 Saves