Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) facilities are unrivaled in the Rocky Mountain West. The DPR system spans over a 148-year history, from the first park created in 1868 to nearly 20,000 acres of urban parks and mountain parkland today. Parks are open daily from 5:00 AM - 11:00 PM.
Park rules overview:
Small fixes like broken sprinklers or playground equipment can be reported through pocketgov.com for immediate review from our operations team. Larger projects like playground and court upgrades take longer to complete. Every quarter, planning and park operations management meet to look at department's improvement requests and maintenance reports, using several factors to determine levels of need and priorities throughout the city's 250+ parksand 29 recreation centers.
Improvements and upgrades are decided on through the Capital Improvement Project (CIP) process: Each quarter, park operations & planning management reviews the list of inquiries and reports that have come in via pocketgov.com or Denver 311 (720-913-1311). From there, repairs and upgrades are prioritized based on multiple factors such as safety issues, available resources, location and other current projects going on in the area. Project scope is also considered—sometimes short-term repairs are not completed right away to save resources if a more extensive replacement or upgrade is ultimately needed.
Volunteers are vital in helping Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) provide quality spaces and amenities to the city’s residents, and are needed year-round in urban and mountain parks—visit godenverparks.denvergov.org to connect with our volunteer community, and to sign up for one-time or ongoing projects. Visit denvergov.org/VolunteerDPR to learn more about the various volunteer opportunities within DPR, or to contact the DPR Volunteer Coordinator.
Residents should report issues to pocketgov.com or 311 (720-913-1311) so that a case can be generated, routed to the appropriate agency/team, tracked and closed.
Park users who witness behavior that violates Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) Rules and Regulations can report the activity while it is occurring to the Denver Park Ranger Office by calling 311 (720-913-1311). Depending on resources available, a Ranger can be dispatched to the area to further assess the situation. For emergencies, call 911.
The mission of Denver Park Rangers is to protect park resources, maximize public safety in parks, and to provide visitors with resources. Rangers patrol daily from 3:00am until 10:30pm by foot, bicycle and motorized vehicles, making contact with park visitors to educate them about the reasons for various rules, regulations and policies. Additionally, Denver Park Rangers host free, educational youth and family activities such as Fishing is Fun and the Jr. Ranger program. Visit denvergov.org/ParkRangers for schedules and additional details.
Bicycles are only allowed on park roads and designated off-street trails and must obey the posted speed limit of 15 miles per hour. Crusher-fine trails are designed with erosion, intersections, landscape and other obstacles in mind to optimize safety and maintenance resources. When joggers and walkers veer off-trail to create shortcuts, surrounding vegetation is damaged which causes further erosion to the trail, increasing maintenance costs and creating collision hazards. Denver Parks and Recreation’s complete list of rules and regulations can be found on denvergov.org/ParkRules.
Motorized vehicles are defined as any vehicle, device, or trailer (whether or not attached to a motorized vehicle) including but not limited to an automobile, truck, van, sports utility vehicle, recreational vehicle, motorcycle, motor scooter or bike.
The regulation of such devices is important to the safe and harmonious public use of park facilities. City and County of Denver staff are actively working to evaluate current ordinance language and determine the best location for users to operate these types of toy vehicles in the public right-of-way in order to maintain both public safety and infrastructure. Safety for all users of our transportation network is of utmost priority as we review options and evaluate the pilot program.
Parks are open daily. Urban parks are open from 5:00am to 11:00pm. Mountain parks are open from one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset. Remaining in any park property after hours is prohibited.
Permits are required for gatherings larger than 25 people and for exclusive use of picnic sites and shelters, along with athletic fields. The Park Permit Office can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 720-913-0700. Picnic sites are available for reservation April 1–October 1 in urban parks, and May 1–September 30 in mountain parks. Picnic permit requests are accepted each year beginning in mid-February. Visit denvergov.org/Picnics for more information or to book a site.
The Denver Office of Special Events maintains an event calendar of all public events held on city property. Find the schedule at denvergov.org/SpecialEvents.
Athletic fields open in mid-March and close the first week of November, except for synthetic turf fields which are open during the winter season by permit only. Conditions and closure notices can be found by calling the Athletic Field Hotline at 720-865-6978, which is updated daily at 2:00pm. For weather impacts, the hotline is updated at 6:30am Monday-Friday, and 7:30am on Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, visit denvergov.org/Permits.
Overnight parking in parks is prohibited in all parks to minimize potential noise and traffic impacts on neighbors. Parking is only allowed in designated areas during park hours (urban parks: 5am – 11pm; mountain parks: 1 hr. before sunrise – 1 hr. after sunset).
Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) does not maintain a lost and found system. Park Operations staff rarely come across personal items—it is more likely that other park visitors pick up lost items or that their owner finds them by re-visiting the location. If you come across an item you’d like to turn in, email email@example.com to be connected with the most appropriate maintenance shop or recreation center.
Park restrooms open mid-April but may close temporarily when temperatures drop below freezing. Portable toilets are deployed at permitted athletic fields the last week in March, and the last week in April at picnic sites. Denver Parks and Recreation tries to keep restrooms open through the permit season but may close them early due to frost.
Drinking fountains are activated in early May and kept on until early October. Decorative and interactive play fountains are turned on in late May, usually around Memorial Day, once the threat of frost has passed. Interactive play fountains operate daily from 11:00am – 7:00pm.
Some drinking fountains were constructed prior to Denver Water implementing upgraded pipeline standards for drinking water. These older drinking fountains do not comply with potable water requirements and are therefore non-operational.
Annual flower displays are planted between mid-May and early June each year and remain in parks until early-mid October when flowerbeds and irrigation systems are winterized.
Parks are irrigated during overnight hours into the morning. Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) irrigation systems start at 9:00pm and run through the night in different zones. Because of water flow limitations and the large size of some parks, irrigation zones may run into the morning hours when people are more likely to use parks and trails. Specific days and run-times of certain zones vary significantly due to changing seasonal water needs, rain holds, mow schedules, seed/sod establishment, and associated adjustments to mow schedules. DPR realizes this may cause an inconvenience for some park users and appreciates the public’s understanding of maintenance requirements and scheduling limitations.
An increase in dandelions is common in April and May, following a dry winter and spring. Mow schedules begin late April, making them much less noticeable by summer. If there are still concentrations of weeds in the fall, and in high-traffic turf, operations staff will do their best to spot-spray those areas. Fall is the best time to spray post-emergent perennial and biennial broadleaf weeds such as dandelions, as the herbicides are more likely to reach the root system.
DPR’s goal is to implement Best Management Practices to support a strong turf management program, reducing the need for post-emergent herbicides on broadleaf weeds such as dandelions. DPR’s Best Management Practices include proper irrigation, mowing, fertilization and aeration—which is the most effective way to reduce weed competition in turf and is practiced in the 2,500+ acres of turf maintained by Denver Parks and Recreation.
Off-leash areas require continual upkeep which is a shared responsibility with dog park users. Deteriorating conditions due to accumulating pet waste, holes from digging, litter, etc. may result in the closure of a dog park. Signage is posted outside each dog park indicating the status of its condition which is monitored by park staff:
Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) established the Adopt-A-Dog Park program to enable civic groups, neighbors, individuals and businesses to help keep their local dog park clean. To organize a volunteer group, visit denvergov.org/VolunteerDPR, fill out the Adopt-a-Dog Park Agreement and return to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) hosts a variety of programming for all ages at the city’s 28 recreation centers and pools. Visit denvergov.org/Recreation to find drop-in fitness classes along with membership information and our comprehensive activity guide (also available in all Denver Recreation Centers).
The outdoor pool season begins the first week of June and lasts until mid-late August. Some pools open earlier and close later than others due to maintenance issues and/or staffing resources. Visit denvergov.org/SwimmingPools for pool schedules and closure announcements. Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) makes every effort to extend the outdoor pool season as long as possible, but staffing limitations are frequently a challenge, as many lifeguards’ availability is impacted by school schedules. DPR Aquatics offers free lifeguard certification training in an effort to continually recruit team members of all ages. Email email@example.com for more information.