Denver’s Mountain Parks have provided diverse outdoor experiences for generations of Front Range residents and visitors. No other city has a park system quite like Denver’s—our 46 parks offer a wealth of opportunity for all ages to explore. These parks have been a destination for hiking, fishing, picnicking, sightseeing, and simply relaxing since 1912. As you enjoy the parks today, please help us protect this treasure for future generations.
Remember: The Denver Mountain Parks system is on the National Register of Historic Places as a multiple properties listing. All parks are considered natural areas, and all wildlife and plants are protected and preserved.
At opposite ends of Denver’s spectrum of mountain parks are two national scenic treasures: Red Rocks Park and Summit Lake Park.
- Red Rocks Park: A geological wonderland within 15 minutes of Denver, this low-elevation park delights more than a half-million visitors every year. Tens of thousands come for concerts and other events in the famed Amphitheatre, the largest and most impressive of all Civilian Conservation Corps projects in Colorado. The park boasts a 200-mile panoramic view of Denver and the plains. The Visitor Center has a restaurant, gift shop, and park interpretation.
- Summit Lake Park: High on Mt. Evans, this park’s 13,000-ft elevation (3,000 m) will literally take your breath away. A user-friendly trail makes this park a comfortable experience for young and old, mountaineers and city-dwellers alike. Vistas of glacial valleys and rugged peaks attract photographers, and meadows of ground-hugging wildflowers flourish during the brief alpine summer. Visitors pay a fee to the U.S. Forest Service to access facilities on Mt. Evans; funds raised support maintenance and improvements at Summit Lake.
The Mountain Parks were established to provide scenic outings close to home for Denver area residents, and picnics quickly became one of the most popular activities with park visitors. Picnicking is still a favorite pastime in many of these core parks, and especially in the popular Bear Creek parks west of Denver.
Several parks have picnic areas and/or shelters available by reservation. To see photo galleries of picnic sites, visit Shelters and sites.
Bell and Cub Creek Parks
Echo Lake Park (Mt. Evans)
Genesee Mountain Park
Lookout Mountain Park with
Buffalo Bill Grave and Museum
Morrison Park (part of Red Rocks)
Turkey Creek Park
Some of the most scenic and important lands in the DMP system were intended never to be developed. Many are isolated parcels that were acquired from the U.S. Forest Service early in the 20th century; a few (highlighted in the list below) are accessible from nearby Jefferson Co. Open Space parks.
Prominent mountaintops, forested ridges, steep slopes, rocky outcrops, and narrow riparian corridors in these areas provide critical wildlife habitat, watershed protection, and dramatic scenic backdrops. Please note: These parks are often inaccessible, have no facilities, and may be surrounded by private property.
Bear Creek Canyon
Double Header Mountain
Flying J. Ranch
North Turkey Creek
Old Cemetery Ground
West Jefferson School
Winter Park: In a class by itself is Denver’s winter playground, acquired in 1940 as Denver’s ski area and winter sports headquarters. It is owned by the City, but operated by Intrawest Corp, which holds a long-term management lease.