The Best Outdoor Adventures in Denver

The Best Outdoor Adventures in Denver

Denver offers one of America’s best park systems, with well over 200 parks to choose from. From relaxing city parks to the great Rocky Mountains, the Mile High City offers a wealth of outdoor recreation, which is continually changing with the seasons. 

With a wealth of amenities and recently ranked as one of the best areas to live in America, Highlands Ranch is the perfect base to explore Denver and all it has to offer. 

Stop and Smell the Roses at Denver Botanic Gardens

Enjoy three locations of beautiful gardens with flowers native to Colorado and around the world. Visit the 24-acre York Street location to see plants from across Asia, South Africa, and Patagonia as you make your way down shady walkways and through relaxing water gardens.

The Chatfield Farms gardens location offers the Hildebrand Ranch and is popular with birdwatchers. Enjoy a corn maze during the fall and beautiful Christmas lights during the winter holiday season. Visitors can enjoy wildflowers and panoramic vistas at Mt. Goliath, where you will find the highest cultivated garden in the U.S.

Seek Out Wildlife in the Rocky Mountains

Just 10 minutes out of Denver you can see a great variety of free-roaming wildlife in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge offers a wonderful looping wildlife drive where you may spot bison, prairie dogs, coyotes, deer, and bald eagles. You can also stretch your legs by hiking one of the many side trails offered. 

Hike and Bike Red Rocks Park

Red Rocks offers two great hiking-only trails where visitors can experience spectacular rock formations, valleys, and meadows. Take on the Post Trail for a more difficult hike or opt for the shorter and more moderately challenging Geologic Overlook Trail.

If you’re looking to do some biking, start at the Lower North Parking lot and make your way to the Red Rocks Trail, where you will enjoy a challenging ride through the red sandstone outcrops.

Not only does Red Rocks Park offer exceptional hiking and biking trails, it is also home to a naturally formed amphitheater where well-known musicians perform concerts under the stars with incredible natural acoustics. 

Go Whitewater Rafting

Take on the rapids in either Clear Creek or the Arkansas River. Several companies including the Clear Creek Rafting Co. and Raft Masters offer daily whitewater rafting trips to both locations during the summer months. 

Rafting trips range from Class II to Class V rapids, so you can select the adventure you are most comfortable with. Enjoy complimentary wetsuits and splash jackets so you can stay warm while you scan the shoreline for bighorn sheep and bears. 


Enjoy a Variety of Outdoor Recreation at Washington Park

Referred to as “Wash Park” by locals, Washington Park offers paved trails that are popular with joggers and bikers. Beautiful lawns provide the perfect place for a picnic or you may wish to rent a paddleboat to cruise the waters of Smith Lake. Enjoy a game of tennis, basketball, or volleyball and feel free to bring your dog along for a game of Frisbee. 

Photos left to right, Washington park: photo by sergio vassio, Washington park: photo by jeffrey beall

These are just a few of the incredible outdoor adventures to be had in Denver. Experience these or find your own secret outdoor activities on your next mile-high adventure.

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Author: Michael Jerrard

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