Home / Travel Guides - Denver / Denver's Great Outdoors

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Denver's Great Outdoors In the Mile High City, outdoor recreation is as much a part of life as eating and sleeping. And, skiing is probably the sport most notorious for providing a Rocky Mountain rush. Day-trippers flock to Winter Park and Loveland ski areas, both less than an hour away. About 80 miles west of Denver, Summit County's challenging slopes and wide-open terrain—namely Breckenridge , Copper Mountain, Keystone and Arapaho Basin—beckon out-of-towners as well as city dwellers eager for a weekend of downhill skiing or snowboarding.

Adventure Travel Just Outside Denver

In Littleton , Roxborough State Park's jutting rock formations create an otherworldly aura for cross-country skiers, while some 60 miles of trails lure them to Golden Gate Canyon State Park, less than an hour from Denver. Once spring arrives, horseback riders trot along these same paths to relish Golden Gate's vibrant wildflowers, and serious trekkers retreat to backcountry spots where small huts accommodate overnight stays. Anglers like to pull up rainbow trout from the park's nicely stocked streams—they also head to Strontia Springs Dam, southwest of Denver, to catch big ones of the rainbow and brown varieties. Any of these parks would make an ideal destination for group travel because of the wide assortment of activities offered.

Best Places for Golf

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Fairways framed by superb views of glorious Rocky Mountain peaks make Denver a natural stomping ground for duffers, with more than 50 public courses for the choosing. Families frequent the links at City Park , while awesome alpine scenery draws golfers to Arrowhead and The Ridge at Castle Pines. A 450-mile network of recreation trails connecting parks and wildlife areas keeps cyclists, joggers and hikers moving—Platte River Trail is the main path meandering through the metro area.

Things To Do Today, No Matter the Season

Locals prefer the gentle, rolling hills of Cherry Creek State Park's prairie environment for horseback riding and biking. Windsurfing, sailing and water skiing also are staples here, along with decent warm-water and ice fishing. You won't glimpse downtown's skyline from Chatfield State Park, a water sports mecca in Littleton that's a bit more isolated. Handsome foothills and nesting blue herons visually enhance the expansive reservoir, a haven for tubing, fishing, swimming, sailing and windsurfing.

Fun on a Bicycle

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Mountain bikers venture to Jefferson County's Mt. Falcon and White Ranch parks for diversified turf, just west of Denver. Mt. Falcon's well-marked trails mosey past streams and meadows, while riders blaze through forests and grassy plains at White Ranch. Littleton's Deer Creek Canyon also delivers its share of downhill biking fun—a rocky trail system follows a river and winds through lushly wooded foothills.

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Fantastic Hikes Near Denver

You might spy a mountain lion or a mule deer amid the magnificent sandstone formations when you take a trip to Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre , a 2,700-acre hiking hotspot just outside the city in Morrison. Do resist any urge to climb the imposing red spires, or rangers will slap you with a stiff fine. Gigantic rocks and a 1.5-mile trail leading to a sweeping panorama tempt the casual hiker southwest to Devil's Head in Pikes Peak and Pike National Forest . Trekkers and climbers find solace in the compelling vistas along rim and canyon trails at Castlewood Canyon State Park, about 30 miles south of Denver in Franktown. If you have ample time to explore, consider traveling 65 miles northwest to Estes Park , where Rocky Mountain National Park offers a splendid assortment of recreational activities, not to mention the many fun things to do in the town of Estes Park and all the local restaurants.

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Denver, CO

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Travel Information

City Population

600,158

Elevation

5,280 ft.

Sales Tax

Colorado's statewide sales tax is 2.9 percent. Additional fees and taxes bring the total sales tax for the city and county of Denver to 8.31 percent. There also is a 14.75 percent city/county lodging tax, an 11.25 percent rental car tax and an 8 percent food and beverage tax.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(720) 913-2000

Fire (non-emergency)

(720) 913-1311

Time and Temperature

(303) 337-2500

Hospitals

Denver Health Medical Center, (303) 436-6000; St. Joseph Hospital, (303) 812-2000; Porter Adventist Hospital, (303) 778-1955; Rose Medical Center, (303) 320-2121.

Visitor Information

1575 California St. Denver, CO 80202. Phone:(303)892-1505 or (800)233-6837

Air Travel

Denver International Airport

Rental Cars

Most of the numerous car rental agencies serving the Denver area have facilities both downtown and at Denver International Airport. Hertz, (303) 342-3800 or (800) 654-3080, offers discounts to AAA members.

Rail Service

Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop St., (303) 592-6712, serves Amtrak.

Buses

Denver's bus terminal complex at 19th and Arapahoe streets houses Greyhound Lines Inc., (303) 293-6555. The Regional Transportation District's Denver-Broomfield-Boulder Bus Service, (303) 299-6000, offers downtown shuttles and local service from the Market Street Station at 16th and Blake.

Taxis

Cabs in Denver can be requested by phone or, less commonly, hailed on the street. Major companies are Freedom Cab Co., (303) 444-4444; Metro Taxi Co., (303) 333-3333; Union Taxi, (303) 922-2222; and Yellow Cab Co., (303) 777-7777. Taxis are metered, with basic charges that vary from company to company.

Public Transportation

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) operates a fleet of buses in the metropolitan area. In general, buses run 5:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. One-way fare is $2.80. For information phone (303) 299-6000.

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