Mountain Parks

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For more than 100 years, Denver’s Mountain Parks have provided a place for people to play in some of Colorado’s most scenic landscapes. At 14,000 acres, 22 accessible parks and 24 conservation areas make the city’s “backyard” park system one of the most unique and expansive in the country. Extending across three counties and spanning altitudes of 13,000+ feet, these parks offer hiking, fishing, golfing, picnicking and other outdoor adventures, including historic cultural institutions such as the Mt. Morrison Civilian Conservation Corps Camp, Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, and world-famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Denver Mountain Parks also provide unique wildlife viewing opportunities and are home to two conservation bison herds.

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Popular Mountain Parks

Bergen Park

 picnic shelter in a forested area of Bergen Mountain Park

Bergen Park is one of Denver’s smaller mountain parks at 25 acres. With open grasslands and a mature Ponderosa pine forest, Bergen Park has been a popular picnic spot since 1917 when a striking stone shelter was built in the center of the park.

The regional Jefferson County Pioneer Trail runs along the western edge of the park, with other parks and recreation areas nearby.

Download the Bergen Mountain Park map

 

Corwina Park

creek in front of historic stone shelter in Corwina Mountain Park  

Corwina Park was acquired in 1916 and its 298 acres are a key component of protected open space in Bear Creek Canyon, which includes a narrow strip of riparian habitat and other diverse plant communities.

Highway 74 runs through the park, with three parking areas to access the park. Lower Corwina is on the north side of the highway and offers picnic areas and a restroom, along with a short nature trail.

A second parking area directly across the road provides fishing access and a short walk to a historic stone picnic shelter built in 1918.

The Upper Corwina parking area serves as a trailhead for the Panorama Point Trail, which is a steep, pedestrian-only 1.5-mile trail leading to expansive views at Panorama Point. This trailhead also provides access to Bear Creek Trail just .7 miles away. Bear Creek Trail is open to both hikers and mountain bikes.

With a dense forest of Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir, Corwina Park provides a wonderfully wooded setting for small picnics.

Download the Corwina Mountain Park map

 

Daniels Park

mesa ridge and panoramic view of the mountains in Daniels Mountain Park  

At 1,000 acres, Daniels Park is characterized by its unique sandstone ridge and spectacular view of the Front Range extending from Pikes Peak to the south, all the way to the Mummy Range near the Wyoming border. The park is within a larger regional open space system of 11,000 acres that protects the unique rim-rock landscape that stretches from Sedalia to Highlands Ranch.

Daniels Park is also home to one of Denver’s bison herds which roams on prairie grasslands in the park’s upper elevations. Most of the park is closed to public use due to their presence, but visitor access along the sandstone mesa provides scenic views and can be found along the Daniels Park Road at a historic shelter and two other viewing areas. 

Download the Daniels Mountain Park map

Dedisse Park

historic stone picnic shelter in Dedisse Park  

Dedisse Mountain Park includes Evergreen Golf Course and Evergreen Lake. The City of Denver acquired Dedisse Ranch in 1919, after the town of Evergreen, Colorado was already established as a popular summer retreat.

The Dedisse Trail weaves through the western and northern portions of the Park, connecting to multiple use trails in Jefferson County’s Alderfer-Three Sisters Park. Dedisse Park offers views of Elephant Butte, Hicks Mountain and Bergen Peak—all of which are protected as Denver Mountain Park Conservation/Wilderness areas.

A historic log and stone structure characteristic of Denver Mountain Parks sits on a hillside overlooking Evergreen Lake and is available to permit for activities.

Download the Dedisse Mountain Park map

 

Echo Lake Park

Echo Lake Park surrounded by evergreen forests with mountain views  

At an elevation of 10,600 feet, Echo Lake Park is the only Denver Mountain Park within the sub-alpine zone. The 24-acre natural lake at the base of Goliath Peak is popular for fishing and reflects wonderful views of Mt. Evans. Visitors are requested to stay on trails, as a 10,000-year-old fen (wetland) at the east end of the lake provides important wildlife habitat. The lake is part of the Echo Lake Potential Conservation Area and has high biodiversity significance for its rare and globally vulnerable sub-alpine plants, including reflected moonwort, Mingan moonwort and western moonwort.

Trails from Echo Lake Park connect to the Chicago Lakes and Bear Track Lakes trails, accessing the Mount Evans Wilderness Area and the summit of Mt. Evans.

Echo Lake Lodge is a historic log building that was built in 1927 and is a seasonal gift shop and restaurant. In partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, DPR maintains Mount Evans Road and scenic byway  which leads to Summit Lake and Mount Evans Recreation Area during warm-weather months.

Download the Echo Lake Mountain Park map

Fillius Park

historic stone shelter in a meadow in Fillius Park  

Acquired in 1914, Fillius Park is located along Highway 74 and was an early resting spot for the popular scenic drive through the foothills. The 107-acre park has two short loop trails with picnic areas and a historic stone structure oriented toward beautiful views of the Continental Divide.

Download the Fillius Mountain Park map

 

Genesee Park

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Denver’s Mountain Park system began forming in 1912 with the acquisition of Genesee Park. At 2,413 acres, it is the largest Denver Mountain Park and offers large picnic areas, hiking, outdoor recreation programming and camping at Chief Hosa Campground, along with an event rental space at Chief Hosa Lodge. Genesee Park is also home to one of Denver’s bison herd, providing unique wildlife viewing opportunities for both park visitors and travelers on Interstate 70.

At the 8,284 Genesee Mountain Summit, park visitors can enjoy a panoramic view from the Continental Divide to the city and plains.

Download the Genesee Park map

Little Park

historic stone shelter at Little Mountain Park  

Little Park serves as the first trailhead on the Bear Creek Trail which connects Lair O’ the Bear, Corwina, O’Fallon and Pence Parks. Little Park’s 400-acres were acquired by the City of Denver in 1917 and are characterized by steep canyons and ridges covered with Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir forests. To help protect this sensitive landscape, no public access to the steep southern portions of the park is offered.

Download the Little Mountain Park map

 

Lookout Park

hiking trail in Lookout Mountain Park  

True to its namesake, Lookout Mountain Park boasts a panoramic view stretching from the Continental Divide to downtown Denver and the prairies beyond. It is also home of the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave with exhibits that chronicle the life of one of great figures of the American west.

Lookout Mountain Park is entirely within the extensive Deadman Gulch Potential Conservation Area and has high biodiversity significance with grassland communities that supports are and diverse butterfly species along with other wildlife.

The historic Lariat Loop Scenic Byway also runs through the park, 66 acres of which was set aside as a key resting spot for the popular drive in 1915.

Download the Lookout Mountain Park map

 

O'Fallon Park

picnic area along Bear Creek in O'Fallon Mountain Park  

O’Fallon Park’s 860 acres was donated to the City of Denver in 1938 and connects Corwina and Pence Parks to create 1,487 acres of protected open space that sustains various habitats in the Bear Creek corridor. It is a popular spot for fishing and other recreational activities.

O’Fallon Park is home to an extensive system of trails, all of which are closed to mountain bikes except Bear creek Trail which connects to both Corwina and Pence Parks. However, there is no mountain bike access to this trail within O’Fallon Park.

Picnic, vehicle parking and restroom facilities are available in the central portion of the park—it is a popular spot for family picnics and fills up quickly during the summer months. Learn more about how to reserve picnic site.

Download the O’Fallon Mountain Park map

Pence Park

 grassy meadow in Pence Park

Pence Park provides a trail head for the popular Bear Creek Trail where it’s possible to hike or bike all the way through O’Fallon and Corwina Parks. Pence Park also offers a hiker-only experience on Independence Mountain Trail, which is a two-mile loop up the flanks of Independence Mountain.

Download the Pence Mountain Park map

Red Rocks Park

red sandstone rock formations in Red Rocks Park  

Red Rocks Park is named for its towering sandstone rock formations along the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. The park is home to the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre, considered one of the greatest outdoor music venues in the world.  It is also a popular destination for tourists, photographers, exercise buffs, and outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds.

Red Rocks Park boasts a 200-mile panoramic view of Denver and plains with hiking trails on which to observe the striking geologic features of the park. Due to the large number of visitors the park receives and its sensitive natural areas, all park visitors must stay on designated trails. Off-trail use and rock climbing are strictly prohibited.

Download the Red Rocks Mountain Park map 

Summit Lake Park

Summit Lake Mountain Park at the base of Mount Evans  

At an elevation of 12,840 feet, Summit Lake Park anchors the high-altitude end of Denver’s Mountain Park system and is the headwaters of Bear Creek. A road to the top of Mount Evans is typically accessible from Memorial Day to Labor Day and provides stunning views of Colorado’s highest peaks.

Summit Lake Park’s 160 acres are surrounded by National Forest and the Mount Evans Wilderness area. Fees charged to access the park and road help maintain services and facilities at this high altitude.

A short growing season makes life a challenge for the park’s slow-growing tundra wildflowers. Park visitors are asked to stay on trails to avoid adding to their challenging environment. Look for “spring” in early July at this elevation, with fall following quickly by mid-August. By September, the Road to Mount Evans summit is closed but access to the park is maintained until major snowstorms impact safety and prohibit travel.

An accessible trail offers a short hike to the Chicago Lakes Overlook where park visitors can enjoy spectacular mountain views. The Summit Lake parking area provides access to climb Mount Evans or fish in the high alpine lake. Mountain goats and Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep may also be spotted throughout the park. Cross-country travel on the tundra is prohibited and park visitors are asked not to feed or follow wildlife onto the tundra. 

Download the Summit Lake Park map


Conservation Areas

conservation area within the Denver Mountain Park system  

Some of the land within the Denver Mountain Parks system were acquired for their open space value and never intended to be developed. Prominent mountain tops, dense forests and riparian corridors provide critical wildlife habitat, watershed protection and dramatic scenic backdrops.

Many of the highly visible peaks and ridges along main routes including US 285, Highway 74 and Interstate 70 are Denver Mountain Parks. Much of this land is surrounded by private properties and limits public access. These conservation parcels continue to fulfill their intended role of protecting the natural and scenic character of the Denver foothills.