Known as the Mile High City for its altitude, Denver is the largest metropolis in Colorado. As the seat of the state government, it is the hub of the majority of the state’s political and economic activity.
In the warmer months, however, the city comes alive with summer activities as nature lovers take to the area’s many parks and mountains. Here are a few of the most popular outdoor places to explore in the city of Denver:
Mount Evans Scenic Byway
The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is the highest paved road in the world and well worth a visit. A day trip along the 28 miles will take you 7,000 feet into the sky, past picturesque landscapes at every turn along the way.
By the end of the drive, you will have reached the summit of 14,264 feet. You’ll feel as though you are truly on top of the world. From this vantage point you will have beautiful panoramic views of the majestic mountains and lush valleys spread out around you. While the winding road can be a bit scary for those who have never driven in the mountains before, the byway is completely safe and makes for a great summertime excursion.
Denver Botanic Gardens
The Denver Botanic Gardens offer a stunning display of diverse plant life from around the world. The main gardens on York street are conveniently located in downtown Denver just south of 11th avenue. There are over 40 individual gardens that contain more than 700 species of plants, providing plenty of things to see and do.
During summer 2014, the Denver Botanic Gardens is even hosting an exhibition of American artist Dale Chihuly’s glass sculptures. These bold and colorful abstract forms add drama and intensity to the garden landscape. Visitors will have the opportunity to view the works of the contemporary glass master during the summer season running from June 14 to November 30.
Head north on York street from the Botanic Gardens for 10 blocks and you will find yourself at the entrance to City Park, one of the most popular parks in the Denver. This urban park is treated as a communal backyard where there is never a shortage of fun summer activities.
A variety of weekly events, including City Park Jazz outdoor concerts and the City Park Esplanade Fresh Market, take place in the expansive space. In addition, the green space’s 320 acres contain the Denver Zoo and Colorado Museum of Natural History.
Four Mile House Historic Park
While not quite as centrally located as City Park, the Four Mile House Historic Park is notable for its unique Fourth of July celebration. The park hosts an old fashioned celebration of the nation’s independence with visits from Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson, as well as horse-drawn wagon rides, and traditional music and games. Be sure not to miss out on the opportunity to tour the Four Mile House Museum for a glimpse into the lives of the city’s original settlers.
[Image Sources: Rent.com – Sonata At Cherrk Creek, Denver, CO; Flickr – Kent Kanouse, David Wilson, Lawrence, David Robinson]