Welcome to the Footpath Four: These are Colorado’s favorite hikes in four categories

Our readers chose their favorite lakes, summits, hikes and strolls.

hiking bracket
(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

Some of the people have spoken. The results are tallied. And we have our Footpath Four: the finalists in each category of Denverite’s Mile High Hiking Quest.

Now, it’s time for the fourth voting round of the tournament bracket, which is presented by Hike to End Hunger. You can review our guide to the hikes, help us choose the two finalists by voting in the next round and — below the ballot — get more details on the results of the round.

The Alpine Division:

The Lakes Conference:

Rocky Mountain Dream Squad beat Chicago Lakes:

Yes, the superstar lake loop in Rocky Mountain National Park cleared out its final opponent, winning the Alpine Lakes championship for this year. The lovely runner-up, Chicago Lakes, simply couldn’t keep pace with RMNP’s 4.5 million visitors.

Final score:

  • RMNP Dream Squad: 68%
  • Chicago Lakes: 32%
Lake Haiyaha. (Debra Miller/NPS)

Lake Haiyaha. (Debra Miller/NPS)

The Summits Conference:

Longs Peak beat Grays + Torreys

The beast of the Front Range chewed up the double-trouble tag team of Grays + Torreys in this battle of the 14ers. Grays + Torreys came at it with sublime beauty and a two-for-one discount, but the crowd loved Longs’ terrifying cliffs and general inadvisability.

Longs Peak now faces the RMNP Dream Squad in the Alpine Division final.

Final score:

  • Longs Peak via Keyhole: 55.8%
  • Grays + Torreys: 44.2%
The boulder field below Longs Peak in 1901. (William H. Jackson/History Colorado via John Fielder)

The boulder field below Longs Peak in 1901. (William H. Jackson/History Colorado via John Fielder)

The Foothills Division:

The Long & Tough Conference:

Royal Arch Trail beat South Boulder Peak

It was a green-belt rumble between two Boulder classics in the conference final, and Royal Arch Trail took it by a healthy margin. Royal Arch Trail’s strategy was simpler: It was shorter and easier than the competition, and it ended with a geological wonder.

Final score:

  • Royal Arch Trail: 64.6%
  • South Boulder Peak: 35.4%
Royal Arch in Boulder. (Mark Doliner/CC2.0/Flickr)

Royal Arch in Boulder. (Mark Doliner/CC2.0/Flickr)

The Accessible & Easier Conference:

Lair O’ The Bear beat Elk Meadow

Two Jeffco Open Space areas named after animals entered. One emerged. It was Lair O’ The Bear and it’s Bear Creek Trail.

Elk Meadow brought a solid challenge with its meadowy walks and ponderosas trees — not to mention the elk — but the Bear went back to its classic playbook of shade and a rushing creek.

Lair O’ The Bear next faces Royal Arch Trail in the Foothills final.

Final score:

  • Bear Creek Trail at Lair O’ The Bear: 65.3%
  • Elk Meadow: 34.7%
Bear Creek in Lair O' The Bear Park. (Footwarrior/Wikimedia Commons/CC 3.0)

Bear Creek in Lair O' The Bear Park. (Footwarrior/Wikimedia Commons/CC 3.0)