Denver in a day: The best outdoorsy things to do in the Mile-High City

Denver

With sunny weather nearly 75 percent of the time, it’s no wonder Denver regularly makes top 10 lists for big city recreation. Add to that the vast number of parks, golf courses, trails and other recreational attractions, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for outdoor adventure.

Denver

Ready, Set, Snow!
While Denver is about an hour’s drive from the nearest ski resort, you’ll find other opportunities to enjoy snow within the metro area. Glide downhill at Ruby Hill Park, the city’s only official sledding site, or take a guided snowshoe trek with city parks and recreation staff. For more snowy fun, visit Meyer Ranch Park in Conifer on the southwest end of the metro area, where you can explore cross-country skiing trails and ride the sledding hill.

Elks, Bighorns and Bikes
Take advantage of one of the city’s bike rentals and pedal along 85 miles of bike trails winding through the city. Explore the shoreline of the South Platte River on the Greenway Trail, where large signs point out sights and history along the way. Up for a mountain biking expedition? Catch the Colorado Trail from the greenway’s northernmost end. You’ll enjoy dramatic views and maybe even see a few elk and bighorns along the way.

Foxy Golfing
Whether you want to hit a bucket of balls at a driving range or play 18 holes, you won’t have to travel far—Denver has more than 100 golf courses within its metro area! Play between towering red sandstone bluffs at Arrowhead Golf Club in Littleton while elk and deer look on from the woodlands. Watch out for the 13th hole—the dramatic downhill hole has stunning scenery and a resident fox that will try to distract you.

Secret Coves and Forested Trails
Wiggle your toes in the sand and take a refreshing dip at Chatfield State Recreation Area’s swimming beach, or paddle to a secret cove in a rowboat, kayak or canoe rented from the Chatfield Marina. When it’s time to head back to solid ground, explore 26 miles of forested trails or rent a trusty steed from the stables to do the legwork for you. In winter, try your hand at ice fishing on frozen Chatfield Lake.

Denver by Kayak
Get your adrenaline pumping by renting a kayak at Confluence Park and hitting the whitewater park’s chutes, drops and waves. Haven’t practiced your Eskimo rolls lately? The park also rents inflatable kayaks, inner tubes and stand-up paddleboards. Confluence Park straddles the South Platte River in downtown, with restaurants and shops less than a block away. If you’re feeling hungry from your action-packed day, check out Stout Street Social and order the braised beef short rib served with a side of bourbon sweet potato, or a roll from their sushi menu. Craving small bites? The 9th Door offers a wide selection of Spanish tapas, including the must-try Carne de Cerdo—ribs basted with a pineapple-brandy sauce and served on a plate of fried onions.