The Denver Natural Areas Program offers residents a chance to experience nature in their own backyard. Designated Natural Areas and priority landscapes encompass over half of the acreage within the City Parks network. Although many of the individual areas are not large, the priority landscapes identify important natural features that improve quality of life throughout the City.
Key areas of focus
Denver’s Natural Areas Program is dedicated to increasing public awareness about natural areas and how to best protect and restore these important landscapes in the city. We inform the community about natural processes including native plants that provide beauty, diversity, improve water quality and provide wildlife habitat. These areas provide opportunities to teach about the natural environment we all share. Consider exploring on your own or join one of our events/programs/projects.
Get Involved as a volunteer
Looking for something to do this weekend? Do you want to learn more about the nature of Denver? There are natural areas around the city that host several types of diverse vegetation and wildlife experiences. This type of recreation is considered “passive recreation”, meaning it is gentler on the environment and causes little or no impact. Some examples include bird watching, nature walks, wildlife viewing, and discovering native plants.
Printable field guides are available to bring along while you explore one a chosen natural areas. The field guides provide a list of species and images that you may see while visiting the natural area.
Bird watching (PDF), Wildlife viewing (PDF), Denver’s native vegetation (PDF) and Nature walks (PDF)
Things to know:
Things to bring:
The Natural Areas program currently has 5 designated natural areas in Denver:
These natural areas were chosen for designation due to their native vegetation, wildlife habitat and community connections. Natural areas designations go through public review and are ultimately approved by the Parks & Recreation Manager.
Additional criteria are required of a site to become designated including:
The Denver Natural Areas Program offers residents a chance to experience nature in their own backyard. The program’s mission is to manage these spaces so that present and future generations can understand and experience our native heritage. The program also works to restore the natural open spaces that still exist and nurture natural ecological processes to encourage long-term sustainability. There are approximately 4,000 acres of parkland with potential wetlands, grasslands, shrub lands and woodlands and 2,000 acres of other city open space. You can visit a natural area in your neighborhood and experience what it is like to explore a wetland and prime wildlife habitat. You could also take a walk through native grasslands or shrublands and understand the history of Denver before it became what it is today.
Visit the Colorado Department of Agriculture to learn more about the noxious weeds in the Denver area.