One of the best traits of Denver is its residents’ commitment to the outdoors. Denverites absolutely love skiing, backpacking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting… basically, if it takes place outside, there will be a community that has rallied around it.
Sometimes, though, the outdoor breeze is calling and you don’t have all day to summit a fourteener. For the days when you want a quick workout while surrounded by some scenery, consider heading to one of these eye-and-muscle pleasing city spots.
The Denver Broncos take fitness seriously, which is why they partnered with 24 Hour Fitness to build a fully-loaded, 11-station gym circuit around the Mile High field. The circuit consists of a Body-Tuck, Leg-Flex, Heel-Flex, Body-Pull, Arm-Walk, Leg-Over, Push-Off, Stair Workout, Sit-Up, Vault-Over, and Hop-Over. Unsure of how to use the setup or where each piece of equipment is located? Fear not! The Broncos and 24 Hour Fitness have an easily accessible map and tutorial video on the Broncos’ team website.
At 6,000 feet high, Red Rocks isn’t there solely for Denver music fans; it’s also an incredible workout setting and conveniently 25 minutes from downtown. Near the amphitheater, you’ll find a series of stairs and steep trails leading to the Geological Overlook (a great space to break, stretch, and take in the view). Red Rocks also has a 3.1-mile trail loop—Red Rocks Trail—which is perfect for the runner or quick walker seeking to push up some inclines without climbing the 380 steps from lower parking lot to upper concession level. Which is harder, trails or stairs? You tell us.
Hiking, biking, and anything in the mountains are staples of Colorado, but City Park offers a different outdoor opportunity. The park is not only stunning for cardio-lovers looking for new visuals, it’s also home to tennis courts, baseball, football and soccer fields, and two playgrounds (which, with some creativity, are really pull-up bars and stretching posts, right?). Is it your birthday? Stop by the Denver Zoo (inside the park) for free, and finish lunges while waving at penguins. What’s more motivating than furry animals lounging in the sunshine?
Looking for an urban trail that will never get old? Platte River Trail is a whopping 28.5 miles, beginning (or ending) in Englewood and runs through the center of Denver into its endpoint (or starting point) in Thornton. The path alternates between asphalt, cinder, and concrete, is accessible for wheelchairs, and can be used by pedestrians, bikers, skaters and even cross country skiers. This river trail is perfect for viewing changes between the natural and industrial areas of Denver, with the addition of enough parks and sculptures to spice up any water break.
Lake views and chin-up bars rarely go together, but Garfield Lake Park (next to West Mississippi Avenue, east of the lake) happens to have both. The park is ideal for bodyweight workouts, calisthenics, and street workouts; you’ll find swedish wall bars, an abs bench, and push-up bars over gravel. The park is also outfitted with grass fields and lengthy sidewalks for cardio intervals. If adorable ducks motivate you, then don’t pass up the half-mile hike around the shore, where you can check out the famous free-standing forest grove in the middle of lake. Throw some crumbs for the birds — but only from healthy carbs, please.
The Melvin F. Silverman Park in the Montbello neighborhood is a newly updated, yet lesser known outdoor spot which boasts a fitness zone, basketball court, football field, and bike bath. Well-maintained playgrounds and open fields are available for kids and pets to expel some energy while human and fur parents alike crush their daily workout. Don’t forget to stretch it out and picnic post workout under the shade of the pavilion.
Nine acres of lawns, canopy trees, and garden beds with tennis courts, convenient bathhouses, and sandstone walks are just the beginning of this historic park in Denver’s oldest neighborhood. Many of Denver’s parks have public pools (including Ruby Hill), but Mestizo-Curtis Park is the most popular for good reason — it’s fairly cheap and easy to get in some midday laps. But when Denver cools down, it’s important to note the city has already spent $300,000 on renovations to the park and has plans for what they’re dubbing “Phase 2”, which would include a fitness zone and community garden.
The Capitol Hill neighborhood is well-known for its surplus of bars and restaurants. It’s no wonder, then, that a district so saturated with delectable eats is also outfitted with a spacious park to burn off yesterday’s cheat meal(s). Home to many of Denver’s festivals and summer events, Cheesman Park is also a go-to for runners, dog-walkers, and power strollers. The rectangular, outer dirt path past Denver’s charming botanical gardens and the Grecian pavilion is 1.5 miles long, and so well-maintained that one could almost forget the entire property used to be a widely used cemetery for various religious sects, criminals, and vagrants.
Sometimes a cyclist can only spin their wheels indoors for so long before the Colorado sunshine begins calling. When vitamin D and views of Denver’s mountain-backed skyline are necessary, Ruby Hill Park should be your destination. With a 1.7-mile natural surface loop suitable for mountain biking, a skills course, slopestyle course, dirt jumps, and pump tracks, Ruby Hill was built to be accessible for beginner and intermediate riders. The lengthy track combined with adrenaline-inducing features (across nearly eight acres!) provides the perfect setting for an exhilarating pedaling experience. The park also frequently hosts fun runs, yoga classes, and, in the winter, smartly switches over to ski rentals.