Eclectic and vibrant, Denver is filled with intriguing neighborhoods with everything from art havens to foodie scenes. As much as we love relishing the urban vibes of Denver, we’re also drawn to the outdoor adventures located in the city’s backyard. At Expedia.com, we chose some of our top picks for outdoor recreation near Mile High City, including hiking trails, equestrian tours, and whitewater rapid excursions. Regardless of which Denver neighborhood you make your home base, you’ll come across plenty of nearby nature spots that will entice your adventurous side.
Located near the center of Denver, Cherry Creek is known for its tree-lined streets, art galleries, and upscale shops. However, it also features a 22-mile bike path that runs from the neighborhood through downtown. After you’ve gallivanted around the neighborhood boutiques and cycled along the scenic trail, take your sense of adventure outside of town. Just 20 miles west of Cherry Creek, Bear Creek Lake offers all kinds of activities for the nature enthusiast—test your aim at the outdoor archery range or saddle up a horse and trot along the dirt trails. You can also cast a line for some rainbow trout in Bear Creek Reservoir and swim some laps in Big Soda Lake. For those who’d rather pick up the pace, venture 50 miles southwest to Buffalo Creek, where you’ll find miles of mountain biking terrain.
Lower Downtown is one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. Although the area has been renovated, you’ll still find glimpses of its past in the architecture of historical structures such as Union Station and the D&F Tower. Spend the day exploring the nearby regions, and then kick back with some good eats and drinks at the hip restaurants and bars in LoDo. Begin your outdoor adventure by heading 26 miles northwest to White Ranch Park, where you’ll cross more than 20 miles of hiking and biking trails that meander through buttes and meadows. Clear Creek is another daytrip option, which sits 16 miles west of LoDo. This area is known for its thrilling whitewater rafting excursions that rush down the Rocky Mountain rapids. After rafting, dry off, and mosey back to LoDo’s Larimer Square for some apres-adventure fun.
It comes as no surprise that River North Art District is a breeding ground for creativity. Teeming with art galleries and studios, RiNo will inspire your inner artist. Once you’ve gotten your fill of photography and sculptures, get in touch with your nature side in the nearby Flatirons. Situated 28 miles northwest of RiNo, this area is a rock climbing mecca with hot spots such as Devil’s Thumb and the Amphitheatre in Gregory Canyon. Prefer to keep your feet on solid ground? Pack a lunch and cruise 26 miles northwest to Eldorado Canyon State Park, which offers a number of picnic sites along South Boulder Creek. While you’re in the park, soak up the scenery and amble along Fowler, Rattlesnake Gulch, or Eldorado Canyon Trail.
Whether you’re a history buff, art lover, or foodie extraordinaire, Capitol Hill offers a little something for everyone. This part of town is brimming with museums, parks, galleries, and eateries galore, but you’ll also find a handful of activities outside of town. If you’re eager to embark on a mini road trip, journey 122 miles southwest to Twin Lakes, where you can hike in the summer and cross-country ski in the winter. Take a canoe out on the glacier-formed lake or find your balance on a standup paddle board. If hiking and rock climbing are more your style, Garden of the Gods is a picturesque destination with ancient rock formations—only 70 miles south of Cap Hill.
Looking for a good spot for a cold one after a day of outdoor activities? Five Points is the place to be. This neighborhood prides itself on its affection for breweries and tap rooms, which invite you in to knock back some local craft brew. But before you head to one of the watering holes such as Spangalang Brewery, get out and explore the great outdoors. Windy Saddle Park, located 20 miles west of Five Points, is a launch site for both hang gliders and paragliders if you’re in the mood for catching some wind beneath your wings. For those who would rather remain on terra firma, grab your binoculars and go birding around Crown Hill Park, which is 11 miles west of the Denver neighborhood.
During your next Denver retreat, make a splash or take to the skies. There’s plenty to do outside the city, and when you’re ready to return to your favorite Denver neighborhood, there are countless urban attractions awaiting your arrival.
What We Believe
We are driven by our deep respect for our environment, and our passionate commitment to sustainable tourism and conservation. We believe in the right for everyone - from all backgrounds and cultures - to enjoy our natural world, and we believe that we must all do so responsibly. Learn More