Denver's Outdoor Adventures
The Mile High City and the nearby Rocky Mountains are filled with outdoor recreation thrills for the whole family. Here are just a few of your options.
Rocky Mountain National Park
1000 Hwy. 36, Estes Park
Located 71 miles (114 km) northwest of Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park features 400 square miles (1,036 sq km) of scenic beauty, including Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous highway in the world crossing the Continental Divide at over two miles above sea level. The park has two information centers, hundreds of miles of hiking trails, tranquil lakes, waterfalls, wildlife and horseback riding. Estes Park is a resort town on the edge of the park with restaurants and shops.
Kayaking in Confluence Park
2250 15th St.
Ride the man-made kayak chutes in Confluence Park, just minutes from downtown, right near the REI Flagship store. Confluence Kayaks, Denver's ultimate paddling shop, offers kayaking adventures on the whitewater chutes at, including lessons, rentals, retail sales, pro outfitting and service.
Denver Bike Paths
With 850 miles of bike routes/trails and 300 days of sunshine, Denver is a two-wheel paradise. Denver Bike Tours offers guided mountain bike rides and skill instruction on beautiful singletrack in the foothills of Denver as well as guided tours of the city by bike. These tours accommodate riders of all abilities. Or explore the city using Denver B-cycle, the city's pioneering bike sharing program. For a small membership fee, you can pick up a shiny red bike at one of more than 80 conveniently located stations throughout the city, go for a spin, and then drop it off when you're done.
The Trails at Red Rocks Amphitheatre & Park
18300 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison
Red Rocks Amphitheatre & Park is known the world over for its summer concert series, but during the day, it makes for a gorgeous hiking and biking destination. The Trading Post Trail is 1.4 miles in length, and goes through spectacular rock formations, valleys and a natural meadow. Some of the terrain is rough, so hiking boots/ shoes are recommended. Also, hikers should be prepared for adverse weather conditions as the weather can change very quickly. If mountain biking is your pleasure, the Red Rocks Trail, which starts at the lower north lot is just the ticket. The trail splits with one segment going north to connect to Jefferson County's Matthews-Winters park and the other segment goes east to connect to the Dakota Ridge Trail. The Red Rocks Trail continues on to Matthews-Winters, creating a dramatic 6-mile loop.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary
1946 County Rd. 53, Keenesburg
Lions, Tigers and Bears, Oh My! Visit the Wild Animal Sanctuary, a 320-acre rescue and educational facility, located just 30 miles outside of Denver, where more than 300 large carnivores roam free. One of the only places in America where you can see lion prides and groups of other carnivores living in natural habitats.
Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
6550 Gateway Rd., Commerce City
Just 10 minutes from downtown Denver, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge is a massive re-vegetation effort to restore the land to native shortgrass prairie habitat. More than 330 species of wildlife including bison, deer, and burrowing owls live here seasonally or year-round. Outdoor activities here include birdwatching (majestic bald eagles are regular visitors), fishing, and viewing the amazing bison herd.
Hot Air Balloon Rides
You've never really seen the Rocky Mountains until you've seen them from a hot air balloon. Enjoy spectacular views of the majestic Rocky Mountains as you float high above the the Front Range. There are several options, including Fair Wind Hot Air Balloon Flights & Rides in Boulder, Adventures Out West in Colorado Springs and Colorado Hot Air Balloon Rides in Dillon and Boulder.
Denver Botanic Gardens
1007 York St.
See what's blooming at the Denver Botanic Gardens! This 23-acre oasis in the middle of the city has 45 different gardens (some 33,000 plants), as well as one of the nation's top 10 conservatories. Relax in the Japanese Garden, climb through the Rock Alpine Garden and explore the new Mordecai Children's Garden. And don't miss the Gardens' Chatfield location, a picturesque nature preserve among the grasslands, ponds and cottonwood banks of Deer Creek. Facilities include nature trails, a wildlife observation area, a historical farm, a 19th century one-room schoolhouse, working beehives and picnic areas. The new Deer Creek Discovery childrens area includes a whimsical tree house and a water feature.
Mount Evans & Echo Lake
Mount Evans has the highest paved auto road in North America snaking its way to the 14,260-foot (4,346 m) summit. The road ($10 for a three-day pass) is open only from the Friday before Memorial Day through the first Monday in October, and frequently has snow on it, even in August. (The road closes at Summit Lake after Labor Day, preventing you from reaching the top). The view from the top takes in the entire Front Range. The summit is 60 miles (97 km) from downtown Denver. On your way up the mountain, be sure to stop at M. Walter Pesman Trail (maintained by Denver Botanic Gardens) for a wildflower hike; you won't see anything like the rare flowers and 1,500-year-old bristlecone pine trees anywhere else in the world. The trail winds through subalpine and alpine areas where wildflowers and animals of the fragile tundra live. Volunteer guides from Denver Botanic Gardens give interpreted hikes that follow the trail throughout the summer (call 720-865-3539 for information).
EagleRider Motorcyle Rentals & Tours
EagleRider of Denver has the largest selection of Harley-Davidson® motorcycles for rent in Denver, Colorado. The staff will help you get set up with everything for your Denver adventure vacation including one-way rentals, guided and self-drive tours, protective riding gear, riding accessories and more.
Whitewater Rafting just 30 minutes from Denver
Brave the rapids! Clear Creek Outpost in Idaho Springs is only 30 minutes from Denver, and Arkansas Valley Adventures offers whitewater rafting adventures for all experience levels all summer long. It's the adventure of a lifetime for a great price.