Joe and Frede's Top 10 non-Peak or Lake Hikes - All Top 10 Hikes Lists - Colorado
These are our personal 10 favorite hikes that don't necessarily lead to peaks or lakes. Several on our list can lead to peaks or lakes if you want to hike far enough, but even without making it that far, these hikes are still good enough to make this top 10 list.
1 Mirror Lake Trail Even though this trail has a lake in its name, only a long overlook of the lake is reached at the end of the trail. When combined with the Brackenbury Cabin Trail, this can be turned into a pleasant loop hike across the mostly gently-sloping tundra within the Comanche Peak Wilderness. Wildflowers and broad views abound, and the loop hike leads past two cabins, one of which is a sod cabin that still has its roof.
2 Trap Park Trail This hike leads up into the prime moose habitat of Trap Park. Mountains surround the 2-mile long park on three sides, but you needn't climb the peaks to make this a great hike.
3 Red Mountain Open Space This unique open space looks a lot like Utah, even though it's less than an hour from Fort Collins. With ten trails covering 19 miles, there are a lot of hike options.
4 North Boundary Trail This trail leads along the seldom-visited northwest side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Short side trips lead to beautiful West Creek and Fox Creek Falls, which are beautiful any time of the year, but are particularly special in the winter when they are frozen.
5 Wild Basin Waterfalls Hike This hike heads into the heart of Wild Basin on the Thunder Lake Trail. If you hike far enough, you can get to a couple dozen different lakes, but the reason this hike is on the list is because of the three beautiful waterfalls along the early and middle sections of the trail.
6 Lion Gulch Trail to Homestead Meadows This hike follows the Lion Gulch Trail up to Homestead Meadows, a series of meadows holding the remains of 9 pioneer cabins and other old artifacts, some of which are still in decent shape. This area can also be reached via the Homestead Meadows Trail from the north, and the Pierson Park Trail from the southwest. You can also climb two nearby peaks, but that only makes this top 10 hike even better.
7 Miller Fork Trail This often overlooked trail follows along Miller Fork for its entire length, as it cascades down a long and sometimes narrow valley. Several clearings along the way have beautiful wildflowers in the summer, and the rusting remains of an old sawmill can be found along the upper stretches of the trail.
8 Big South Trail This long trail follows along the Cache la Poudre River for its entire length, sometimes right along its impressive rapids, other times hundreds of feet above the river, and other times a hundred yards or more away so that you have to strain to hear it. Twenty Wilderness backcountry campsites along the way make this a great backpacking trip for those who want to hike the entire trail.
9 East Chalk Bluffs Hike This hike is along a sharp escarpment on the Pawnee National Grassland, with a mix of cliffs and arroyos. This hike is particularly great in the spring when the prairie wildflowers are in bloom.
10 Elliott Ranch Hike This hike leads through State Wildlife land on land that used to belong to the Elliott Ranch. Here, where the high plains transition to the mountains, small streams, lush valleys, sharp rock outcrops and some old weathered buildings are found. Note that this area is only open to hiking from May until October.

Honorable Mentions
Poudre River Trail
Flowers Trail
McIntyre Trail to Shipman Park
Stormy Peaks B17 Crash Hike