Share:

Denver's Best Parks

03.30.17

Start Exploring
Denver's Best Parks

Share:

Advertisement
  • South Rim area of Roxborough State Park.- Denver's Best Parks
  • View north from Roxborough State Park.- Denver's Best Parks
  • Picnic area and fishing pier at Cherry Creek State Park's West Boat Ramp.- Denver's Best Parks
  • Cherry Creek Reservoir Marina (private), but with public boat rentals..- Denver's Best Parks
  • One of many bike paths at Cherry Creek State Park.- Denver's Best Parks
  • Floaters making their way down the South Platte River at Confluence Park.- Denver's Best Parks
  • View downstream at Confluence Park, Denver.- Denver's Best Parks
  • Boulder Creek at Eben G. Fine Park.- Denver's Best Parks
  • Boulder Creek at Eben G. Fine Park.- Denver's Best Parks
  • Chautauqua Park Dinning Hall.- Denver's Best Parks
  • Chautauqua Park with a view of Boulder's Flatirons.- Denver's Best Parks
  • View of Eldorado Canyon's Shirt Tail Peak from The Bastille.- Denver's Best Parks
  • South Boulder Creek in Eldorado Canyon State Park.- Denver's Best Parks
  • Eldorado Canyon State Park.- Denver's Best Parks
  • Thatcher Fountain at City Park, Denver.- Denver's Best Parks
  • At City Park, Ferril Lake, paddle boat rentals, the City Park Pavilion and Band Stand.- Denver's Best Parks
  • View of North Boat Ramp and Chatfield Reservoir from the dam at Chatfield State Park.- Denver's Best Parks
  • Horse stables at Chatfield State Park.- Denver's Best Parks
  • Marina (private) on Chatfield Reservoir, Chatfield State Park.- Denver's Best Parks
  • Playground at Chatfield State Park Campground.- Denver's Best Parks
  • Archery range at Bear Creek Lake Regional Park.- Denver's Best Parks
  • Turkey Creek wetlands at Pelican Point picnic shelter and day use area at Bear Creek Lake Regional Park with the Front Range in the distance.- Denver's Best Parks
  • Bear Creek Reservoir, Bear Creek Lake Regional Park.- Denver's Best Parks
  • View west to the Front Range from Bear Creek Lake Regional Park.- Denver's Best Parks
  • Red Rocks Amphitheater.- Denver's Best Parks
  • View of downtown Denver from the Red Rocks Amphitheater.- Denver's Best Parks
  • View north from Lookout Mountain Park.- Denver's Best Parks
  • View north from Lookout Mountain Park toward the National Wind Technology Center.- Denver's Best Parks
  • North cove and promenade at Sloan's Lake.- Denver's Best Parks
  • Sloan's Lake perimeter loop trail at Sloan's Lake Park.- Denver's Best Parks
  • Fishing pier at South Platte Park on the South Platte River.- Denver's Best Parks
  • Chatfield wetlands near the Discovery Pavilion and Audubon Center.- Denver's Best Parks
  • 20th Street Steel Bridge crossing over the South Platte River at Commons Park.- Denver's Best Parks
  • Denver Skate Park at Commons Park.- Denver's Best Parks
Article
Contributor

While many of us yearn for a mountain escape in the Rockies, it isn’t always possible to sneak out of Denver to the safe and solitary confines of the Front Range. Still, that doesn’t mean that outdoor adventurers in the Denver area can’t fulfill their hankering for nature within or near to the city limits. Denver pumps $81 million per year into their parks system, and the city has protected 6,000 acres for public use and enjoyment. The outdoor opportunities here are as myriad as those in the mountains, and some of them may be just a few blocks away. Whether you’re crunched for time on a busy weekend or just want to stay closer to home, Denver has a park with trails for hiking or mountain biking, open waters for sailing and stand-up paddling, or rugged and beautiful sandstone formations to appreciate.

Old Standbys

At the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek, visitors to Confluence Park can dip in Cherry Creek or use the site as a launch point for river floats. Coffee service at REI’s patio is nearby, and the park hosts a summer concert series, as well.

With 330 acres encompassing the Denver Zoo and Museum of Nature and Science, City Park is Denver’s biggest park—and with walking paths and a boathouse, there’s enough here to fill an entire day.

A lower key park option exists at the City of Cuernavaca Park, named for Denver's sister city in Mexico. Open space, field and picnic facilities, and pedestrian routes make this a great spot to unwind in the city.

Lakes and Reservoirs

Cherry Creek State Park offers 880 acres of open water with a marina and a boat ramp for boat use, and everything in between—including blessed waters that were the site of a papal mass with Pope John Paul II in 1993.

Boasting a whitewater park, Eben G. Fine Park in Boulder is a must-visit for kayakers and tubers.

With nearly 4,000 surface acres of water, Chatfield State Park attracts hundreds of bird species for birders to watch, horseback riding, and cycling, in addition to a campground and amenities, including showers and a boat ramp.

Bear Creek Lake Park offers 2,600 acres of open space, which includes miles of trails for hiking and horseback riding and boat ramps at both Bear Creek Reservoir and Big Soda Lake.

Sloan's Lake Park may not swimmable, but there's no better place to go for birdwatching from between the gunnels of a canoe or on a stand-up paddleboard or kayak. A robust park space and a 2.6-mile paved path around the lake make this park popular for land-based pursuits as well.

Rock and Stone

Roxborough State Park, 20 miles south of Denver, offers 300-million-year-old sandstone flatirons similar to those found north in Boulder, but with the ruddy, red color of the desert Southwest. Six hiking trails cross its 3,000 acres.

Watertown Canyon Recreation Area, although a short drive from Denver to Littleton, offers the opportunity to see wildlife, like black bears and bighorn sheep, which reside in the canyon year-round.

A mecca for climbers, Eldorado Canyon is a dirtbag destination, but snowshoers and kayakers can find opportunities in the winter and spring.

It doesn't get much more iconic than Red Rocks Amphitheater + Park, home to some of the Denver area's most memorable outdoor events and concerts. The dramatic views and the distinctive rock walls make this a must-experience venue. And even if you can't catch a show, this is a great spot to head for a workout!

Trails

Chautauqua Park is a sort of YMCA for the outdoors. At the base of the Flatirons, it offers an extensive trail network as well as the picnic tables, tennis, and a dining hall that offers an afternoon happy hour.

Golden's Lookout Mountain Park is a nature preserve that provides visitors with excellent wildlife viewing opportunities in addition to plenty of park amenities. The park also includes interpretive trails and a route that links up with Windy Mountain Park.

Advertisement
Published By

Published by

Contributor
118 Adventures Explored
116 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info