If you're looking for inspirational landscapes, it's hard to go wrong with any hike in Colorado. The natural beauty of the mountains is easily accessible from Denver, but ask anyone for a recommendation and you're bound to hear about Hanging Lake.
This hike is strenuous, but SO worth it.
Drive towards Glenwood Springs on I-70 (about 2.5 hours from Denver), take exit 121 and return to I-70 going back towards Denver (yes, for some reason there is no exit directly from I-70 West)
After reaching the car park (get there as early as possible in the summer, as it fills up fast), follow the signs towards the trailhead (about 10 minutes).
Once you get to the trailhead, the vertical climb begins. You will be hiking up, up, up UP for a mile! I was very winded, so we took it slow. In May the ground is still muddy from melting snow, but not bad. There are some man-made stone steps here and there, but also some very rough terrain scattered.
The trail follows a waterfall/creek the whole way. There are a bunch of bridges that cross over the water as well. Close to the top there is an amazing spot for a beautiful panoramic view.
Keep going up, and you'll soon hit the lower lake of Hanging Falls! Several waterfalls pour down into the gorgeous blue waters.
You're not done yet! Back on the trail, instead of heading back down, turn right and climb up the steep boulders above the falls. There you will find Spouting Rock, the incredible "source" of the Hanging Lake waterfalls.
In May the waterfall was GUSHING and the air was incredible "misty" - you WILL get wet! But it's an amazing experience to walk up behind the waterfall. You won't regret it!