Formally established in August 1913, the city's Mountain Parks system immediately began acquiring land in the mountains near Denver to be set aside for recreational use. Today it includes more than 14,000 acres, with 31 developed mountain parks and 16 unnamed wilderness areas that are wonderful places for hiking, picnicking, bird-watching, golfing, or lazing in the grass and sun.
The first and largest, Genesee Park, is 20 miles west of Denver off I-70, exit 254; its 2,341 acres contain the Chief Hosa Lodge and Campground (the only overnight camping available in the system), picnic areas with fireplaces, a softball field, a scenic overlook, and an elk-and-buffalo enclosure.
Among the system's other parks is Echo Lake, about 45 minutes from downtown Denver on Colo. 103. At 10,600 feet elevation on Mount Evans, the park has good fishing, hiking, and picnicking, plus a restaurant and curio shop. Other parks include 1,000-acre Daniels Park (23 miles south of Denver; take I-25 to Castle Pines Parkway, and then go west to the park), which offers picnic areas, a bison enclosure, and a scenic overlook; Red Rocks Park, just southwest of Denver in Morrison, featuring the famed amphitheatre, a trading post, a museum that covers both natural history and rock and roll, and hiking trails amid the red sandstone formations (visit www.redrocksonline.com); and Dedisse Park (2 miles west of Evergreen on Colo. 74), which provides picnic facilities, a golf course, a restaurant, a clubhouse, and opportunities for ice-skating, fishing, and volleyball.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Highly Recommended 2010