Sometimes in the middle of a neighborhood, you find interesting parks tucked away. Bluffs Regional Park is one of those places. The trailhead is just 1.5 miles from Interstate 25, but the views are what make this a treat.
The hike starts at a parking lot near Lincoln Avenue and Yosemite Street (directions below). There are no maps at the trailhead, so print one from Douglas County's website before you go.
The hike starts on a crushed rock and dirt path next to a covered picnic area. Walk a few steps and you'll come to a turnoff. The trail here is a loop. I suggest taking the first right turn and doing the loop in a counter-clockwise direction so you can enjoy the overlooks at the end.
The trail climbs a small hill, then it drops back down. While you can see houses to the north, it's the view west that's impressive. On a clear day, you can see a long stretch of the front range mountains and foothills. Look north to spot Long's Peak and look west for Mount Evans -- two of the state's 54 tallest peaks.
The trail is a wide road, so this is a good place to hike with friends. The trail is wide enough to let three to five people walk side-by-side, just make room for the occasional runner or cyclist going by.
The trail winds its way up and down through the park for about two miles before a final uphill. Climb the 200 or so feet here in elevation gain to the first overlook. It's a quarter mile out to the bench at the end of the overlook, but it's worth it. At the overlook, take a few moments to look at the tall buildings in the distance to the northeast, that's the Tech Center. Another group of tall buildings in the distance is downtown Denver.
After a break at the first overlook, return to the main trail, and continue counter-clockwise. You'll soon pass the connector trail to the East-West Regional Trail. Then it's a short distance to the next overlook. The second overlook trail is also about a quarter mile to the end and it's worth your time to make the walk.After enjoying the view here, return to the main trail and it's just a half mile of mostly downhill walking back to the trailhead.
Distance: The loop with the trails to both overlooks is 3.6 miles with about 400 feet of elevation gain.
Directions: From Interstate 25, exit Lincoln Avenue and turn west. At Yosemite/RidgeGate Parkway, turn left/south. It's just 0.2 miles to Crooked Stick Trail. Turn right and follow this road 0.3 miles. It dead ends in the parking lot at the trailhead.