Things to do in Denver Metro
The Denver Metro region is Colorado’s most populous area with a population of 2.8 million people spread over plains, foothills, and mountains in ten counties. The City of Denver is a renowned playground for folks of all abilities and is called the “fittest city in the United States,” while nearby Boulder is home to elite outdoor athletes who train on its trails and cliffs. The Denver area’s focus on wellness, healthy lifestyles, and a mild climate give it an ideal quality of life for anyone wanting to get out there in Colorado.
The City and County of Denver owns and maintains over 200 city and mountain parks. City parks include Sloan Lake Park and its fine perimeter trail, huge City Park modeled after New York City’s Central Park, and the South Platte River Trail, a paved 18-mile path for walkers, runners, cyclists, kayakers, and fishermen that runs through the heart of Metro Denver. The city’s unique 14,000-acre Mountain Park system offers wild getaways from the suburbs. The best are Lookout Mountain and Buffalo Bill’s Gravesite, Genesee with its Buffalo Overlook, Echo Lake near Idaho Spring, and Summit Lake at 12,000 feet on Mt. Evans.
Eight Colorado State Parks are also in the Denver Metro area, offering a variety of outdoor experiences. Eldorado Canyon by Boulder is a world-renowned rock climbing area. Roxborough State Park has trails threading among towering red rock formations and lots of wildlife. Cherry Creek State Park and Chatfield State Park are the two most popular Denver parklands, with millions of visitors every year who come to boat, paddleboard, fish, swim, picnic, watch wildlife, and camp.
If you’re a budding mountaineer, then the Denver Metro area is a great place to get high on mountains. Five Fourteeners or 14,000-foot peaks tower west of Denver—Mt. Evans, Mt. Bierstadt, Grays Peak, Torreys Peak, and Longs Peak. All except Longs are perfect for beginner peak-baggers with trails to their skyscraping summits. Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, one of Colorado’s most climbed peaks, is difficult, dangerous, and not recommended for beginners.
The Front Range west of the Denver Metro area has lots of wild land for hikers and backpackers, including Lost Creek Wilderness Area, Mount Evans Wilderness Area, James Peak Wilderness Area, and Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. Rocky Mountain National Park, an hour’s drive from downtown Denver, is the region’s crown jewel. The park, split by the twisting Continental Divide, boasts 113 named peaks over 10,000 feet, 19 over 13,000 feet, and one Fourteener. Rocky Mountain, with over 350 miles of trails, offers great hikes that explore the park’s alpine valleys, lakes, and peaks.
Lots of local recreation facilities, parks, golf courses, and natural areas are in the immediate Denver Metro area. If you’re a golfer, the region has over 100 public and private courses for your pleasure. Miles of urban trails for bikes and boots explore the Metro region, including the High Line Canal Trail which runs 66 miles through Denver, Arapahoe, and Douglas counties.