THE BEST PARKS IN DENVER

8 PLACES

UPDATED NOV 11, 2019

We don’t always want to head up mountains to soak up some vitamin D (hello, I-70 traffic!). So stick around the city and check out Denver’s most beautiful green spaces. Whether you're running, a picnicking, or walking your dog, change up your scenery and discover something new.

author

HILLARY BENNETTS

FITT DENVER CONTRIBUTOR

Wash Park is one of Denver’s biggest, oldest, and most popular. The outer unpaved 2.5-mile loop is a beautiful run or walk, and the inner paved route is perfect for walking or biking (just stay to the correct marked side so you don’t get nailed by a bike…or nail someone with your bike). You can rent a bike or surrey for this loop, or rent a paddle boat or paddle board and hang out on Smith Lake.

You may have heard of Civic Center Park for hosting some popular events like Taste of Colorado and Pride Fest. It also hosts an impressive lineup of food trucks on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, which makes for a great mid-day walk if you work downtown. And keep an eye out for free workouts as part of the Civic Center MOVES initiative.

The enormous and diverse City Park has something for everyone, with jogging paths, a public golf course, fountains, flower gardens, lakes, and plenty of open lawn for a picnic blanket or volleyball net. City Park is also home to events like Jazz in the Park and the start/finish for the annual Colfax Marathon. The views of the Denver skyline in front of the Rockies will remind you how lucky you are to live here.

Bordering the Denver Botanic Gardens, Cheeseman Park’s granite trails and wide open green space make for a surreal escape from the city. What you may not know about Cheesman Park is that it was built over a 19th century cemetery. That’s right – you may be picnicking on a pile of bones.

At the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River is appropriately named Confluence Park. A popular spot for some urban kayaking, Confluence Park is as popular for its water as it is for its land. Bonus: it also borders Denver’s flagship REI. Want to make a day of it? Bike down the Cherry Creek Trail and connect to the South Platte Trail at Confluence Park.

Small but beautiful, you won’t necessarily get your marathon training in around Alamo Placita Park, but you can take advantage of the basketball court and open playground. And you’ll have a great spot to meander, picnic, and enjoy the impeccably-maintained gardens.

Bringing some green to the Highlands, Sloan’s Lake Park makes for a quick escape. Its miles of wide paths for walkers and joggers also offer peeks of the city skyline. The park’s massive lake (yes, Sloan’s Lake) is also home to Denver’s annual Dragon Boat Festival.

With 35 miles of multi-use trails, a huge open reservoir and marina, and even several sites for overnight camping, Cherry Creek State Park can keep you busy all weekend. But heads up: Since this is a state park, there is an entrance fee of 9 bucks per car. Your annual Colorado state park pass will work here, too. Want bonus points? Use the Cherry Creek Trail to bike your way to the park. Up the exercise and skip the fee.

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