Hikers head up the Lookout Mountain and Beaver Brook trails at Windy Saddle on March 25. (Andy Cross, The Denver Post)

It’s a bit confusing, I know.

On one hand, when Mayor Michael Hancock issued a county-wide, stay-at-home order, outdoor exercise was listed as an essential activity. Not just essential, it was encouraged! And among the activities that were specifically championed was hiking.

But Denverites were left looking around and scratching their heads. There aren’t that many hiking trails in Denver proper — especially ones that aren’t busy. So surely that means we can pop in the car and drive over to an infrequently used trail in the mountains, right?

Unfortunately, no.

On the city and county’s FAQ page, they lay out the rules on traveling to hike — or backcountry ski, snowshoe or any other recreation activity:

No. Denver issued the Stay at Home order in solidarity with our neighboring and mountain communities. Staying at home means staying where you are –not going to neighboring communities or the mountains for recreation where we could further spread COVID-19 and overwhelm limited healthcare systems.

You might be thinking, “Well hold on a second, Gov. Jared Polis said hiking was fine!” Unfortunately for Denver residents, the stricter restrictions are what apply, so in this particular case, the city and county order trumps the statewide order.

So there you have it, Denver. But don’t forget, you are able to exercise around your home — just remember to stay 6 feet away from others.

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