If you live in the Denver area, or are visiting, you are in luck when it comes to State Parks to visit near the Denver, Colorado area. Maybe you want to go rock climbing in the sandstone rocks or spend the day at the lake, swimming, fishing and boating. What about hiking to a secluded waterfall? There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails and mountain bike trails just waiting for you! Let’s discover 5 state parks near Denver!
1. Cherry Creek State Park
Located in Denver, in the SE corner, you will find a 4,200 acre park with a lake, trails and campground. The Cherry Creek reservoir is a favorite spot for locals and visitors to boat, paddle and swim (well, when the waters warm up!). There are 35 miles of trails for hiking, biking or pushing a stroller. What is stopping you from taking a long lunch and bringing your fishing gear out to try to catch some trout, walleye, bass or crappie? Plan ahead for a nice weekend camping trip, right in the city. Spend some time exploring downtown restaurants and shops then head back to your campsite for some s’mores!
|Cherry Creek State Park|
|Location||Right in Denver, SE corner of the city|
|Camping||Yes! 133 campsites|
|Lake/River/Water||Yes, 850-acre Cherry Creek reservoir|
|Hiking Trails/Mountain Bike Trails||35 miles of multi-use trails|
|Wildlife to watch for||Deer, fox, coyote|
|What makes it great||Centrally located mix of city and country life!|
2. Eldorado Canyon State Park
For some of the best rock climbing head over to Eldorado Canyon State Park. This beautiful park has “Eldo’s” sandstone cliffs with more than 500 technical routes. There is a variety of climbing levels from beginner to challenging. If you are not into rock climbing you can hike the 3.5 mile trail and visit the South Boulder Creek, a great spot for a picnic or fishing. The park is day use only but there is camping nearby. If you are lucky you might get to see one of the Golden Eagles! The upper trail is currently closed to protect nesting golden eagles. Very cool! Other wildlife include mule deer, red fox and mountain lions. After a day of rock climbing stop by the visitor center or the picnic area to wrap up your visit.
|Eldorado Canyon State Park|
|Location||Just NW of downtown Denver in Eldorado Springs|
|Camping||No, day use only, camping nearby|
|Lake/River/Water||South Boulder Creek, fishing|
|Hiking Trails/Mountain Bike Trails||3.5 mile hiking trail|
|Wildlife to watch for||Golden eagles, mule deer, red fox, mountain lion|
|What makes it great||500 technical rock climbing routes!|
3. Chatfield State Park
Located in SW Denver, Chatfield State Park has a reservoir, trails, a swimming beach and camping! The Chatfield Reservoir is a big draw for boaters and swimmers in the summer months. There is camping on the south shore of the lake with 197 sites including 146 full hookup sites for RV’s and campers. All of the sites are within walking distance to the lake. Bring your fishing gear because the lake is stocked with rainbow trout. There are areas for sailing, boating, paddling and of course the sandy swimming beach! If you are into bird watching this is the park to visit with the Denver Audubon office being located in the park. Keep an eye out for Bald eagles, white pelicans and burrowing owls.
|Chatfield State Park|
|Location||In SW Denver|
|Lake/River/Water||Chatfield Reservoir, Plum Creek, South Platte River|
|Hiking Trails/Mountain Bike Trails||26 miles of trails (12 miles of paved trails)|
|Wildlife to watch for||Birds! The Denver Audubon office is in the park. Look |
for Bald Eagles, White pelicans and maybe even a burrowing owl.
|What makes it great||Camping right on the lake!|
4. Golden Gate Canyon State Park
For some of the most unique rock formations and best hiking, visit Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Hike (or bike) some of the 19 miles of trails with additional trails just for hikers. Map out your hiking trips and be prepared for some amazing look-out stops. The wildflowers bloom in the spring and the park is home to moose, bighorn sheep, elk and mule deer. There are also black bears in the park so if you are spending the night in the campground be sure to use the bear proof food storage. The campground has 132 campsites, some with full hookups, as well as backcountry hike-in sites. Maybe you want to try camping in a yurt! There are two available for rental.
|Golden Gate Canyon State Park|
|Location||NW of Denver|
|Camping||Yes, 132 campsites, 20 hike-in backcountry tent sites, |
5 cabins, two yurts
|Lake/River/Water||Kriley Pond, Ralston Creek|
|Hiking Trails/Mountain Bike Trails||35 miles of trails (19 miles are for bike as well)|
|Wildlife to watch for||Moose, elk, mule deer, black bears|
|What makes it great||Beautiful hiking trails with lots of wildlife viewing opportunities.|
5. Staunton State Park
About 40 miles SW of Denver is Staunton State Park. With 30 miles of trails you can hike bike, or ride your horse through some of the most beautiful forests, mountains and rock formations. For adventurers take the 12 mile round trip hike to Elk Falls, where you will see the falls cascading down the dark rocks. Keep your eye open for Marmots, and the cleverly posted “Marmot Crossing” sign! For an easy hike, take the 0.7 mile loop on the Historic Cabins trail to see the old homestead cabins including one that was built by the Staunton’s back in 1916. If you want to spend the night there are 25 walk-in tent sites with picnic tables and vault toilets. Again there are black bears in the park so keep your food in the bear proof boxes and be bear aware when in the park.
|Staunton State Park|
|Location||40 miles SW of downtown Denver|
|Camping||Yes, 25 walk-in tent sites with picnic tables, bear proof storage box and vault toilets|
|Hiking Trails/Mountain Bike Trails||30 miles of trails, hike, bike, equestrian|
|Wildlife to watch for||Marmots, black bear, bald eagle|
|What makes it great||Hike to Elk Falls and look for the Marmots!|
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