This historic park system, now comprising more than 14,000 acres in four counties in the Colorado Front Range, came into being in 1912 as a result of legislation at the city, state, and national level. In 2012-2013, Denver will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Denver Mountain Park system. See our interactive timeline for detailed information on the many milestones of this unique park system.
The Denver Mountain Parks were established in 1912 when Denver citizens voted to fund the system and bought its first park, Genesee Mountain. It took an Act of Congress and State legislation. Farsighted Mayor Robert Speer and other civic leaders realized that scenic areas in the mountains near Denver had to be protected and preserved or they could be lost forever.
The Mountain Parks Committee wrote in 1911, “A Mountain Park for Denver will be the first step, and, perhaps, the greatest step, in the great movement of making our mountains available for the people. We believe the Mountain Park should be more than a picnic place; it should be a summer home for the people of Denver, and indeed for the tourists of the nation.” This visionary act of conservation predated the national open space movement by at least 50 years.
The rustic log and stone buildings and roads framing spectacular views (featured in some of our header photos) that make the Mountain Parks distinctive are the work of well-known architects and landscape architects. Denver has preserved this land for the use and enjoyment of generations to come. The system is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.