Enjoy the Great Outdoors at Denver’s Top 5 Picnic Spots

Denver is home to hundreds of urban and mountain parks, spanning nearly 20,000 acres. In addition to providing ample space to soak up vitamin D, they make a great case for packing a picnic and taking in nature’s glory. Whether you want to dine beneath ponderosa pines, wish to wonder at snow-capped summits or favor skyline views, there’s no better time for an al fresco meal surrounded by Denver’s most picturesque al fresco environs.

Denver is home to hundreds of urban and mountain parks, spanning nearly 20,000 acres. In addition to providing ample space to soak up vitamin D, they make a great case for packing a picnic and taking in nature’s glory. Whether you want to dine beneath ponderosa pines, wish to wonder at snow-capped summits or favor skyline views, there’s no better time for an al fresco meal surrounded by Denver’s most picturesque al fresco environs.

 

Offering a mix of open expanses and shady woodland, 330-acre, pastoral-yet-urban City Park (2001 Colorado Blvd., denver.org) is home to the Denver Zoo and Denver Museum of Nature and Science, with its planetarium and IMAX theater. Fountain-frocked and flower-laden, it features picnic areas, an 18-hole public golf course and opportunities to paddle around on Ferril Lake — all framed by views of the Denver skyline and the snow-tipped Front Range mountains.

 

Anchored by Denver’s biggest lake, Sloan’s Lake Park (1700 N. Sheridan Blvd., 720-913-1311, denvergov.org) draws all manner of outdoor enthusiasts. Settle in to enjoy your spread, as water skiers, stand-up paddlers and kayakers ply the waters; barn swallows and seagulls perform aerial acrobatics; and runners to rollerbladers navigate the 2.6-mile loop around the shimmering lake.

 

Located 12 miles west of downtown Denver, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.-designed Lookout Mountain Park (987 Lookout Mountain Rd, Golden,720-865-0900, denvergov.org) has everything you need for a perfect picnic — and then some. From its vast evergreen wilderness atop the eponymous mountain’s 7,377-foot peak to its wooded foothills, striking native stone shelter, and vistas of the Continental Divide and mountain meadows, it’s a sight to behold. Supporting a population of rare butterflies, it’s also the final resting place of Buffalo Bill Cody.

 

A tranquil oasis all-but-beckoning picnickers, Kendrick Lake Park (9351 W. Jewell Ave, Lakewood, 303-987-7800, lakewood.org) is home to a stunning xeric garden filled with native plants, a 31-acre reservoir and a hiking trail flanked by wildflowers. Be sure to bring your binoculars —from April through October, birdwatching at the park is sublime. 

 

Head seven miles northwest of downtown Denver to hillside Inspiration Point Park (4901 Sheridan Blvd., 720-865-0900, tclf.org) to picnic by semi-circular, formal gardens or beneath a  grove of linden, hackberry, silver maples and honey locust trees. Afterward, take in gorgeous, sweeping views of the Rockies and panormas from the bluff lookout, lingering until the sun sets spectacularly on the horizon.

 

Needless to say, these pretty places only offer a taste of Denver’s abundant outdoor options. Explore more with the help of our blog and Denver City Guide.

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