Today marks a key date in the history of Denver’s Mountain Parks. On this date in 1913, the new park system was dedicated on Genesee Mountain by a group who had made the first-ever trek up the nearly completed Lariat Trail from Golden. Members of the American Association of Park Superintendents attending a convention in Denver made a day-long trip from Denver into the original parks and around the circle drive, returning by way of Bear Creek Canyon.
The group enjoyed a trout fry and toasts and luncheons at various locations before returning to Denver after their 68-mile trip. Reportedly, “all who made the trip were enthusiastic” about the new park system. The rest of the story, as recounted in The City of Denver magazine, is below.
Just released early this month is the new book celebrating the system’s first century: Denver Mountain Parks: 100 Years of the Magnificent Dream. Learn more about the book at MountainParksFoundation.org.
Opening of Denver’s Mountain Parks
The City of Denver: Vol 1 Number 23, Sept 13, 1913, p 8
The Mountain Parks were formally opened by the Denver Park Commission on Wednesday, August 27th, when the Chamber of Commerce joined with the Park Commission in taking the members of the American Association of Park Superintendents, who were holding their fifteenth annual convention in Denver, over the newly constructed road to Lookout and Genesee Mountain Parks.
The party left the Chamber of Commerce building at 8:30 a.m. in thirty-five autos, and the trip was made by way of West Forty-fourth avenue to Golden, then up the new road known as State Highway No. 21 and the Lookout Mountain road. The distance from the beginning of the new road to the summit of Lookout Mountain is four miles, and the maximum grade is 6 per cent.
All the machines arrived at the summit without a mishap, and here the party stopped for about two hours, those who so desired making a trip on the funicular railway, others strolling among the pines and over the cliffs, and then all joining in a most excellent mountain trout fry, plates being laid for 150. The entire party gathered together at this point for a unique group photograph on the rocks.
From Lookout Mountain the party was taken to Genesee Mountain Park, where a stop of three-quarters of an hour was made to allow all to walk to the top of Genesee Mountain. Here, where an unobstructed view of mountain and plain is afforded in every direction, the different peaks were pointed out to the visitors, and here Judge D. C. Beaman offered the following toast in honor of the occasion and of the beautiful country spread below:
“All hail to glorious Colorado; may valiant sons defend her;
And may her daughters give alway their love, warm, true, and tender.
May sacred memories bind us here, and when life’s brief dream closes,
May we her name, her soil, revere, and sleep beneath her roses.”
The party left Genesee Mountain about 3:30 p.m. and after traversing the road through Bergen Park to Bear Creek, passed through Evergreen and from there rode down Bear Creek Canon to Robins’ Nest, the summer home of Park Commissioner E. W. Robinson. Here another stop was made and the party was served with an excellent luncheon by Mrs. Robinson.
The party then returned to Denver by way of Bear Creek and the Morrison road, arriving in the city about 6:30 p.m. The distance covered was about sixty-eight miles, and all who made the trip were enthusiastic over the scenery and the excellent condition of the roads, especially the new work which has been done this summer.
It was the general feeling that Denver has, in her new mountain parks system, an immeasurably great addition to her present attractions, and one that will increase her prestige as a tourist center and a desirable place to live.