Denver, the Mile-High City, is a great base for journeying out into the diverse and magnificent Colorado landscape. You have a collection of beautiful national parks and river canyons right on the state capital’s doorstep, all backed by the snow-capped Rockies. Moreover, you can experience the great outdoors in Denver virtually year-round.

    Denver is enjoyable in all 4 seasons. The weather at this mile-high elevation is quite mild, with blue-skied summer days and cool evenings. Winter brings adventures up in the slopes. In between, both spring and autumn are great for enjoying the outdoors as Denver puts on its most beautiful colours. These ideas should help you plan out the best outdoor adventures in Denver for each season.


    Snowboarding at Vail Mountaintop

    WINTER: Take on the snowy slopes of Eagle County

    • Adventure

    This popular mountain resort in Colorado offers over 5,000 acres of skiing terrain. You can bring your own gear or rent it on site at the ski shop, then take the express lifts for the exciting slopes and alpine skiing trails. Skiers and snowboarders will have a blast, with nearly 200 runs to choose from – many of which are suitable for beginners. Even several trips here might not cover them all. Simply ask a lift operator for great suggestions of where to start.

    Location: Vail, CO 81657, USA


    Ice skating on Evergreen Lake

    WINTER: A large natural ice rink to enjoy

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    • Adventure

    This lake in the namesake town of Evergreen in Colorado freezes over in the winter, creating an 8.5-acre ice rink. That’s a lot of surface to enjoy skating on! The lovely scene is backed by the surrounding ponderosa pine forests and the Rockies’ alpine peaks. The rink’s well-groomed in the winter and has a fully-equipped lake house facility where you can rent skates or hockey sticks or warm up with a cup of hot chocolate. You can reach Evergreen Lake after a half-hour drive southwest from downtown Denver.


    Spring skiing at Arapahoe Basin

    SPRING: Ride down the Continental Divide

    • Families
    • Adventure

    Skiing in springtime can be a great idea, as the season promises a good layer of snow on some of Colorado’s slopes. Arapahoe Basin is a popular spot for that. It sits on the Continental Divide and offers long-season skiing. It regularly throws in free community events, with rail jams where you can show off your slick jumping tricks for fun prizes. The ski resort usually operates from October to June each year. Single-day lift tickets cost around $50.

    Location: Dillon, CO 80435, USA


    Seeing the lions at The Wild Animal Sanctuary

    SPRING: See large predators on a vast grassland refuge

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    • Adventure

    For wild animal encounters just outside downtown Denver, you can hit The Wild Animal Sanctuary near Keenesburg. It operates 2 sites in Colorado that total over 10,000 acres. The primary, 789-acre animal sanctuary north of Denver cares for a variety of large predators, which range from lions and tigers to bears and wolves. It offers a different experience, unlike a trip to any normal zoo. A 1.5-mile stretch of elevated walkways let you view the animals roaming freely in their large, open habitats. Tickets are around $30.

    Location: 2999 Co Rd 53, Keenesburg, CO 80643


    photo by Tom Driggers (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Kayaking at Confluence Park

    SUMMER: Chute down South Platte River

    • Adventure

    You can set off on a 15-mile kayaking quest along the South Platte River from Chatfield Dam to Confluence Park near downtown Denver. Alternatively, head straight to the park and take on its series of whitewater rapids, chutes, and dams in its own kayak run. Confluence Park has a kayak shop on site where you can rent the necessary gear. You can also sign up for lessons if you’re totally new to this adventurous water sport.

    Location: 2250 15th St, Denver, CO 80202, USA


    photo by Isarra (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Whitewater rafting down Blue River

    SUMMER: Share incredible vistas from an inflatable raft

    • Families
    • Adventure
    • Group

    Among the most popular rafting waterways that vein through Colorado’s magnificent landscape is Blue River. You can reach it in around a 90-minute scenic drive west from downtown Denver, surrounded by incredible vistas of the Gore Range mountains. The Blue River flows along the Gore Range’s eastern slope from Kremmling, south past Breckenridge, and to the base of Quandary Peak. A group of up to 6 can enjoy an action-packed day out on the rapids, and even first-timers to the sport can have a blast.

    Location: Summit County, CO, USA


    Mountain biking through Buffalo Creek

    AUTUMN: Conquer exciting woodland trails

    • Adventure

    The Buffalo Creek Recreation Area offers a diverse trail system that meanders throughout the namesake creek in Pine, Colorado. You can reach it with an hour’s transfer west of downtown Denver. You can start pedalling from the bike parking spot on South Buffalo Creek Road and take on the series of rolling tracks, such as Nice Kitty Trail Bridge, and run exhilarating downhill paths through splendid nature. Take in the diverse landscapes, that range from forested mountains to rock formations. Some sections of the trail offer experienced riders some smooth rollercoaster sensations.

    Location: S Buffalo Creek Rd, Pine, CO 80470, USA


    Hiking around Red Rocks Amphitheater and Park

    AUTUMN: Stunning red cliffs with an amphitheatre

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    • Budget
    • Adventure

    This beautiful park features one of Colorado’s most interesting natural formations. An expanse of red stone cliffs makes up its geological features, and it has become a popular hiking playground. The park spans over 700 acres between the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains. Pine forests and prairies add to the diverse terrain. It even has fields where some big dinosaur discoveries were made. You can reach Red Rocks Park with a 15-mile drive west from Denver via Highway 6 towards Jefferson County.

    Location: 18300 W Alameda Pkwy, Morrison, CO 80465, USA

    Ari Gunadi | Compulsive Traveller

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