Exploring Denver’s Trails While Leaving No Trace

Many of us intentionally moved to the Denver, Colorado, area because of the natural beauty that is so readily available. But, if we aren’t careful, this beauty may not be here much longer.

With so many people heading outdoors after being cooped up because of COVID-19, the increased traffic is starting to take its toll on Denver’s hiking trails and natural parks. We don’t blame people for wanting to get out and enjoy the beauty of nature. But there are some things that people need to remember to protect those trails.

Keep these in mind when enjoying Denver’s natural parks and hiking trails:

  1. Stay on the Path — The trails have been created to provide you with a safe path to follow through the landscape. If you decide to walk off the trail, you will be destroying plants and animal habitats. The easy way to leave no trace is to stay on the trail. If you come across mud or a large puddle in the path, walk through it. Even stepping around can cause the path to widen over time and destroy a small portion of the natural habitat.


  1. Don’t Bother the Animals — One of the best parts of exploring these trails is the chance to see wildlife. Now, we know most people aren’t crazy enough to try to bother a wild bear, mountain lion, or rattlesnake. But we are talking about the “cute” animals that are out there. This is not a petting zoo. If you see baby animals, know that they haven’t been abandoned by their mothers. The full-grown ones are nearby, and if you bother the babies, they may either defend them or they will abandon them. Just look and take pictures.


  1. And, Don’t Mess with the Plants — Yes, there is some gorgeous foliage in these areas. But leave them alone so that others can enjoy them. You may come across some beautiful mountain flowers. Hold back on your instinct to pick them. Let them grow naturally and, if you have to have a physical memento, take a picture.


  1. Pack It In, Pack It Out — If you bring something on the trail with you, make sure you take it back out when you are done. This means everything from food wrappers and bottles to food scraps. Yes, fruit rinds and banana peels are biodegradable. But you should take these with you as well. Also, if you see any trash along the trail, be considerate and pick it up.

There’s an old saying amongst hikers: “Take nothing but memories. Leave nothing but footprints.” If you want to help keep our natural hiking trails lasting for years to come in the Denver area, it is imperative that you follow these rules to maintain the beauty of the area.


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