For more than one hundred years, Denver’s Mountain Parks have helped make Colorado a very special place where generations could grow and play in the mountains - and share in the magnificent beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Today 22 accessible parks and 24 conservation areas total 14,000 acres and comprise one of the most expansive and unique park systems in the West. All outside Denver city limits, the mountain parks extend across four counties and at altitudes from 6,000 to more than 13,000 feet. Denver Mountain Parks’ visitors can enjoy a world class concert at Red Rocks, carved out of 300-million year-old sandstone and the only naturally occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world, ski at the international resort at Winter Park, and explore important historic sites such as Lookout Mountain, the final resting place of Buffalo Bill Cody – in addition to hiking, fishing, golfing,picnicking, or simply relaxing.
Genesee Park, Dedisse Park, Daniels Park, Summit Lake, Echo Lake, Corwina and O’Fallon
These parks are the core of the Mountain Park system. Each has a distinct natural setting, offering a distinct recreational experience. Beautiful, rustic buildings and shelters are integral to each of these parks. Read more on the Mountain Parks Attractions page.
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. Learn more about how to reserve a spot for your picnic.
Some of the most scenic and important lands in the Denver Mountain Parks system were purchased for their open space value and were intended never to be developed. The prominent mountaintops, forested ridges, steep slopes of dense mixed evergreen forests, rocky outcrops, and narrow riparian corridors of Denver’s conservation/wilderness areas provide critical wildlife habitat, watershed protection, and dramatic scenic backdrops. Most of the highly visible peaks and ridges along the main routes west, including US 285, Highways 73 and 74 through Evergreen, and US I-70, that are not dotted with houses today are Denver Mountain Park properties. Most are surrounded by private land that was purchased over the decades, which, as a result, has cut off or limited public access today. Public use is not encouraged or facilitated on these properties due to a lack of access, parking, and sustainable trails. The conservation parcels continue to fulfill their original role—to protect the natural and scenic character of the Denver foothills.
The permanent and protected role of these conservation parcels was clearly intended. When Denver acquired land for these Mountain Parks, many deed restrictions were included in the transfer from government or private property to city ownership. For example, deed restrictions for more than 5,000 acres from USDA Forest Service Lands prohibit non-park activities or sale of the land—“that said city and county shall not have the right to sell or convey the land.” Other parks, such as those acquired from private ownership, restricted the land “for park and parkway purposes only.” The protection of watershed and wildlife habitat is becoming increasingly important as the metropolitan region’s population grows and open space disappears. The Mountain Parks have land that contributes to the integrity of the region’s watersheds, notably Bear Creek, Clear Creek, and smaller tributaries, all of which eventually reach the Platte River. These conservation parcels provide important ecological services which benefit the entire region.