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Denver, Colorado is known as the "Gateway to the Rockies" and there is no shortage of outdoor activities here. Not only that, outdoor activities in Denver are made even better with all of the amazing red rock mountains and other natural scenery. Golfing, white water rafting, camping, fishing, hiking, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, backpacking and horseback riding are just some of the many exciting outdoor activities in Denver.
The Rocky Mountain Foothills are popular for backpacking through the wilderness, or even just driving through to take in the scenery. Red Rock Park is a 250 million year old area made up of red sandstone rock formations. Bear Creek Canyon is said to be a good place to spot wildlife such as deer or buffalo. Going to the top of Lookout Mountain is one of the most popular outdoor activities in Denver since it sits high above Denver and is known for its amazing views.
The Colorado River is known for many outdoor activities in Denver such as fishing, swimming, kayaking and canoeing. It is especially liked for its scenic areas, rafting in the white water and fly fishing in the pools of flat water. The Colorado River begins in the Rocky Mountain National Park, which is only about two hours from the city of Denver.
Denver has at least seven public golf courses that range from nine holes to eighteen holes. Some of the courses also have miniature golf as well as par three courses for beginners and children. Most, if not all, of Denver's public golf courses require reservations for a tee time.
An outdoor walking museum called the Clear Creek History Park is one of the most historically interesting outdoor activities in Denver as it focuses on 19th century life and has a blacksmith shop, schoolhouse, smokehouse and a barn. Clear Creek, in Idaho Springs, is less than an hour from Denver's downtown core and is known for white water rafting, hiking and fishing. Both recreational vehicle (RV) camping and camping in cabins are popular in the Clear Creek area.
Family hikes, horseback riding, bicycling, fishing and picnicking are just some of the outdoor activities in Denver's Waterton Canyon. The Canyon is alongside the South Platte River and offers some breathtaking views. The reservoir at Cherry Creek State Park is known for sailing in the summer and ice fishing and ice skating in the winter. Horseback riding and model airplane flying are other familiar outdoor activities in Denver's Cherry Creek State Park.
I know when most people say outdoor activities they mean activities outside of the urban center, but I would also urge you to consider doing some things within the city as well.
People don't just walk around the city for its own sake anymore. Either they are trying to get somewhere in a hurry or they take a car.
Denver has the state capitol buildings and the 16th street mall (which is a mile long, plenty of outdoors right there). It has the city park and the botanic gardens... you can wander around in the sunshine for hours without ever leaving the city's borders. And you'll save on fuel.
Plus so many people don't explore their own cities and it is a shame to be missing out on what you have right in your own backyard.
Colorado really is a beautiful state and perfect for enjoying the great outdoors. I lived there for a while when I was a child in a small town just outside of Colorado Springs, a few hours from Denver.
We were always outside, particularly in the summer, and spent the entire day on our bicycles, roaming around the scrub, looking for snakes and anthills and so on.
It was lovely in the winter as well, although we didn't stay outside quite so long in the snow.
We went mountain climbing a couple of times with my dad as well, climbing Pike's Peak which was in the area and had a lovely view from the top.
It was a difficult climb for kids though and my younger sister was quite scared, so I'd recommend taking older children.