Horse Racing in Denver

If you are a big fan of horse racing, Denver, Colorado, is an ideal tourist destination. There are not many racing tracks in the city, but the ones available will provide you with everything you want. Whether you want to watch or bet on horse races, Denver has got you covered as long as you visit the city when the racing is scheduled. If you prefer to stay home to gamble or play online casino games, you can check this website.

Arapahoe Park Racetrack

Generally, live horse racing is held during the summer, and there are 39 racing days during that period. The races are usually on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and in most cases, the kickoff is at 1 pm. The date for summer 2022 horse racing in the location is not confirmed yet, but you can expect it to be announced soon because it is usually held between May and August. Arapahoe Park racetrack provides a large enough stadium where the fans can watch the racing seated and comfortable. You can get some snacks and drinks while cheering your horse to win as the foods and drinks are sold in the stadium.

Havana Park

Havana Park has got you covered if you are planning to try off-track betting. The park is open throughout the year and comes with plenty of TVs where you can watch all the races. Off-track betting options are available on both the greyhounds and horses. Getting into the park is free, and the season for live racing begins from late May to mid-August.

Denver has got you covered if you would rather enjoy horseback riding than watch other people enjoy themselves competing. Various mountain parks allow you to enjoy a horseback ride for a very affordable fee. Generally, for a one to two hours ride, you will only need to pay between $40 and $70. You can enjoy horseback riding in various locations, including at the Rocky National Park and Horseback rides near the lakes.

Developing of the Denver mountain parks


The development of the parks took several decades to complete, starting in 1912 and ending in the 1940s. The city heavily invested in the project. Funding the development of rustic lodges, parks, and shelters that reached as far as Mt. Evans, Sedalia, and Winter Park. Fredrick Olmsted Jr. was hired by the city to help with the development of the mountain park plan perfect for the city. He recommended the acquirement of 41,310 acres of land. It was to be used to construct two hundred miles of picturesque parkways that would link the parkways together.

Acquiring over 41,000 acres of land proved difficult, so the city had to work with the 14,000 acres it first obtained. The Genesee Park became the first park to be developed after the acquisition of land. By 1918, the park already had a game reserve, rustic lodge (Chief Hosa Lodge), and a campground. The Chief Hosa Lodge was designed by renowned Denver architect J.J.B. Benedict who ended up designing many buildings and homes in Denver. The park soon grew into an international destination. In fact, it is on record that in 1917 more people paid the Denver Mountain Parks a visit than they visited all the other Federal national parks in the United States.

Expansion of the Denver Mountain parks

With the increased popularity of the parks in the city, the city was prompted to expand. In the 1920s, a lot of expansion happened. The city added Red Rocks Park, Evergreen Lake Park, Summit Lake Park, and Echo Lake State Park, among other facilities, to make tourists feel welcomed. Each park and facility was unique in its way, offering visitors various outdoor activities such as winter ice skating, towering sandstone, and summiting mountain tops.

Impact of The Great Depression

The Great Depression affected everyone but the reforms that came after that benefitted the mountain parks a great deal. The Denver Mountain Parks were improved as a result of the federal programs that came after the Great Depression. For example, in 1934-35, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) funded road projects that saw improvements and new facilities in Red Rocks Park, Genesee, and Bear Creek Canyon. Another federal program, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), funded a few more projects in the Denver Mountain Parks system. Additionally, the Works Progress Administration (WPA), another federal program, helped with the improvements of roadwork throughout the system in 1939.

The Second World War affected the parks a great deal as the funding for the parks decreased, and the population of the locals rapidly increased after the wars. In 1955, Denver city had to discontinue the levy that had sustained the parks since they were developed in 1913. The Mountain Parks Division was moved to another division, the Department of Parks and Recreation. There were many other things that required funding from the department, and suddenly the Mountain Parks were competing with them for the limited money available at the time. Unfortunately, the urban services were prioritized over the Mountain Parks.

State Historical Fund

By the 1970s, the once-elegant and top attraction sites in Denver were in a sorry state. This was a result of heavy use, minimal maintenance, vandalism, and aged facilities. The park managers tried to manoeuvre these hard times by seeking grants. They also established partnerships to supplement their funding which was already so constrained. By 1995, most Denver Mountain Parks was a part of the National Register of Historic Places. Being part of this list was a good thing for the parks as it opened doors for the State Historical Fund that allowed the restoration of the structures of the parks. In 2004, the parks benefitted even more with the establishment of the Mountain Parks Foundation. The foundation was established through fundraising and advocacy.

Today, there are 22 accessible parks. Despite the challenges, the city continues to protect the landscapes that date back over a century ago. In the parks, you can enjoy picnicking, biking, fishing, golf, viewing wildlife, etc. The Mountain Park system gets funding through gifts, donations, and bequests from corporations, individuals, and foundations. The managers have done a pretty good job maintaining the beauty of the parks. They are still among the top tourist attractions in the city. They get millions of visitors every year, and they are a huge reason why many people visit Denver.

Tourist Activities in Denver

The Colorado capital has a lot to offer in terms of things to do. On most days, the city is sunny, so you have nothing to worry about in terms of weather. There are many outdoor tourist activities in Denver you can engage in, such as hiking, trailing, fishing, etc. You could also try indoor activities such as visiting the United States Mint or enjoying arts at Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Many of the things to do are just within the city, but some will require you to take transportation to get to them. Regardless of your interests and the type of fun that tickles your heart, you will always find something to do in Denver. The city will keep you entertained. Some of the top activities in the Colorado capital include:

Visit Larimer Square

Larimer Square is a beautiful and iconic gathering place and one of the must-visit places while you are in Denver. Here, you will find some of the best restaurants in Denver and nightlife venues that you will not find anywhere else in the city. The Larimer Square is easily accessible either during the day or night. You can visit at any time as long as you ensure to adhere to the hours of operation. Most of the buildings at the square have been around for more than 200 years, and they represent the original Colorado culture. You can enjoy fantastic dining experiences at Russel’s Smokehouse and drink iconic wine at Cru Wine and Food Bar. Aside from the fantastic dinners and nightlife, you will also find fantastic places to shop and improve your wardrobe. Here, you can find plenty of things, including jewelry, home décor, and clothes to wear.

Visit Rocky Mountain National Park

You cannot visit Denver and fail to visit one of the parks, especially the Rocky Mountain National Park. The park sits on a 265,807-acre land, making it of the biggest parks in the state. The park is only 90 minutes from the city, and it was designated as a national park over a hundred years ago. Every year millions of tourists visit the park, and they always go home with great things to say about it. Driving on Trail Ridge Road provides a beautiful view, and most people visiting the mountain park use the road. Apart from the beautiful views, you will also enjoy seeing wild animals such as mules and chipmunks. While there, you could try to get to Longs Peak, which sits at 14,259 feet high.

Visit Mount Evans Byway

If you get excited by beautiful views, you will enjoy a drive to Mount Evans. The Byway is around 60 miles from Denver, and it is one of the highest paved roads in the world. Its highest point reaches 14,130 feet. The climate here is very calming, and while you are on your way, you will come across fantastic lookout points that give you a fantastic view of the Rockies and beautiful skies. For the best results, we recommend taking a guided tour, and you can concentrate on enjoying the beautiful views.

Visit Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum is not too far from the State Capital Building. Getting there is relatively easy, and you will, without a doubt, enjoy your visit there, especially if you love art. The museum is iconic, and there are thousands of pieces inside it. The museum is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm, but if you visit on Tuesdays, the museum is open till 9 pm. It is closed during typical holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving Day. Tickets to the museum are very cheap, and there is a program that allows admission of kids below 18 years into the museum without having to pay anything. There are also a few free days, so if you are lucky enough, you could get into the museum without paying anything.

Visit Colorado State Capitol Building

History is a massive part of us, and if you love history, you will enjoy a visit to the Colorado State Capital Building. It will take you around 30 minutes to get to the building if you are around Union Station. They offer free tours inside the building as long as you get there on time and during a weekday. You will learn more about the history of the State Capital building and Denver in general from the free tours. Ideally, try to arrive earlier than the stipulated time for the tour to ensure you get the free tour. Generally, the tour is scheduled from 10 am to 11 am every day of the week, and they are limited to the first twenty people. Therefore, the earlier you arrive, the better.

Visit Denver Botanic Gardens

If you are looking for a picturesque destination, the Denver Botanic Gardens will be the perfect destination. The garden provides a peaceful environment, and it is one of the most beautiful areas in Denver. The garden sits on 23 acres of land, and there are 50 different gardens in the area. The gardens range from gardens with Japanese flowers to South African flowers. What’s more, you could take guided tours to enhance your experience even more. While you are there, enjoy music in the gardens where traditional concerts are held. You can spend up to 2.5 hours. It usually takes around one hour and 30 minutes to walk through the gardens, so you can use the extra hour admiring the beauty and taking pictures.

Visit Denver Zoo

Denver zoo is one of those areas that you should not fail to visit when you visit Denver. The zoo is home to over 3000 different animals, and it is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. Denver Zoo is one of the top attraction sites in the city, and at least two million people visit the zoo annually. One area you should never miss while you are there is the Predator Ridge, a five-acre African Savanna that is full of African lions, hyenas, and wild dogs. Be sure to visit the Primate Panorama too, and enjoy viewing monkeys swinging from the tree branches and even get to feed them if they are in the mood for some food.

Visit Children’s Museum of Denver

If you are visiting Denver with your children, the Children’s Museum of Denver is a must-visit. Just because the museum has the name children, it does not mean that it is strictly for children, though. In fact, you can learn a lot there, even as an adult. You will learn about the Centennial State and the universe in general. In the museum, you will see dinosaur bones that are millions of years old, as well as bones of Egyptian mummies that are thousands of years old. Overall, you and your family will learn a lot about animals, health sciences, and zoology. Getting into the museum is quite cheap given that the admission fee is only $15 and seniors pay only $13.

Popular Mountain Parks

Denver is home to over 200 historic popular mountain parks, and most of them are connected with paved roads. It is also home to some of the best mountain parks in the world. While all the mountain parks are great, here are the most popular ones:

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre

The Red Rock Park & Amphitheatre is one of the most natural amphitheaters in the world. The arena can take up to 9,000 seated audiences, and it is carved out of a 300-foot sandstone, creating a unique, beautiful, and scenic concert venue. Many great artists have performed at the amphitheater, and the Beatles were the first rock band to ever perform here, performing in 1964. Since then, other great artists have performed on the stage, including U2 and Mumford and Sons. Entering the park is free unless it is scheduled for a performance.

Genesee Park

Genesee Park is the oldest mountain park in Denver. It sits on 2413 acres of land, making it the largest mountain park in the city. The park provides picturesque views, including snow-capped peaks, and you can also enjoy viewing buffalo herds on the highway sides.

Echo Lake Mountain Park

Echo Lake Mountain Park sits on 616 acres of land, and it has a natural lake surrounded by a beautiful forest, giving the park such an exquisite view. The park is full of beautiful plants, including subalpine plants such as western moonwort and Mingan’s moonwort. It was designed for individuals planning to spend nights there since there are beautiful sleeping rooms, fireplaces, and dining rooms. There are gift shops where you can get your loved ones gifts and restaurants where you can get excellent food. What’s more, you could try fishing in the lake and enjoy beautiful views of Mt. Evans from the shores. The east end of the lake has important wildlife habitats, so be sure to stay on the trails near there.

Summit Lake Park

After enjoying yourself at the Echo Lake Park, drive up the Mount Evans Scenic Byway and get yourself to Summit Lake Park. Summit Lake is very accessible, and it is one area you can be sure to see Rocky Mountain goats. From the altitude where the park is, you can expect to enjoy views of snow and ice at any time of the year. What’s more, the park is one of the few mountain parks in Denver you can access with your car. While you are there, make sure to enjoy some hiking in one of the hiking trails in the park.

Corwin Mountain Park

Corwin Park is one of those parks that provide some of the unique plants you can find in Denver. It sits on a 298-acre land, and it has been around for over a hundred years. Corwin Park has beautiful trees and is a perfect picnic spot for lovers. There are three parking areas around the park, so you have nothing to worry about if you come in your car. The Panorama Point Trail is a perfect trail for anyone looking to stroll as it is specifically designed for hikers. Bikes and cars are not allowed on it. If you better hike with a mountain bike, then you might want to consider using the Bear Creek Trail.

History of Denver Mountain Parks from the 1920s

Denver, Colorado, is one of the hippest destinations in the United States. There is a lot you can ,do in Denver, but in most cases, when people hear about the city, what comes to mind is the Rocky Mountains. There are at least 200 peaks in the 140 miles of mountains, and they are all accessible with ease. What’s more, the city itself is often dry, enjoying around 300 days of sunshine in the 365 days in a year. Denver is considered one of the most walkable cities in the country, and there is a lot more than the city offers. However, our main focus today is the mountain parks. We will discuss everything you need to know about Denver Mountain Parks, including the history of these parks, the popular hiking trails at the mountain parks, the top tourist activities tourists can enjoy in Denver, the most popular mountain parks in Denver, horse racing in Denver, and nature and ecology of Denver parks.

History of Denver Mountain Parks from the 1920s

Currently, there are 46 public parks in the Denver Mountain Park system. However, these parks just didn’t come to be; they were established over a century ago purposely to draw the attention of tourists and locals who enjoy the essence of the Rocky Mountains. The parks remain a major tourist attraction in Denver till today. In the 1900s, the major tourist attraction in Colorado was Colorado Springs.

Promoters from Denver watched tourists pass through Denver on their way to Colorado Springs, located around 96 kilometers south of Denver. For that reason, the promoters came together and started having discussions on how to best improve the scenic resources of Denver. It took a while before these talks gained ground, but by the 1910s, the talks had gained momentum, and plans began being implemented. In 1910, the mayor of Denver, Robert W. Speer, supported and campaigned for City Beautiful improvements in his city, and he mostly favored the mountains. However, he was not ready to use the city funds on mountains so far from the boundaries of his city; that’s where John Brisben Walker came in. The magazine publisher and local entrepreneur started a campaign to persuade the city to do something about the mountains to make them more attractive for the visitors.

Walker was already a well-known promoter of Colorado’s scenic beauty, and at the time, Walker was developing a beautiful attraction in Morrison, focusing on the Red Rocks Park. Still, in 1910, Walker developed a plan and posted it in the Denver Post. The plan recommended a 41,000-acre municipal park built behind the Red Rocks and then linked to the city with grand boulevards. He claimed that the mountain parks would give Denver a magnificent system of parks that could not be found anywhere else. He believed that the mountain parks would help improve local businesses as the Colorado tourist trade was growing exceptionally, and having the parks could attract more tourists to Denver, and it would be a perfect outdoor recreation for locals as well.

It did not take long before the Real Estate Exchange of Denver, Motor Club, and Chamber of Commerce accepted Walker’s idea. The project was then taken over by Kingsley A. Pence and Warwick M. Downing, who created an action plan to be presented to Denver’s voters. The funds to build roads and facilities were to be raised from a mill levy. The plan was presented to the public in 1912, and the majority of the public supported the plan, so the development began.

Popular Hiking Trails in the Area

Denver is one of the best places to enjoy a good hike. The city provides an incredible adventure with the beautiful Rockies and scenic blue skies, not forgetting the breathtaking hills and beautiful wildflowers. The locals are friendly, and the available hiking trails are safe for everyone. Here, we will discuss some of the top hiking trails in Denver, trails that will remain in your memories forever and compel you to want to go back to the city. We have covered trails surrounding the city and some that will make you get out of the city a bit and enjoy nature even more.

Chautauqua Park in Boulder Trails

Chautauqua Park is located a few kilometers from the city, and it will only take you around 40 minutes to drive there. The park provides a stroll distance of around 5.5 miles. It provides some beautiful views, and if you are an outdoor enthusiast, you will enjoy your visit here. The park has been around for over 100 years. After you are done strolling, be sure to enjoy some of the amenities in the park, including playing tennis and basketball. If you get hungry when hiking, you can always grab lunch at one of the fine restaurants in Boulder. There are three major trails you can follow while at Chautauqua Park; First, Second Flatiron Trail, and Royal Arch Trail. You can also try the Enchanted Mesa Loop Trail, but keep in mind that this trail is a bit more demanding as it will take you through the pine forest. However, it will reward you with expansive views.

Cherry Creek Regional Trail

Cherry Creek is not one of those trails that will give you the most scenic views in Denver, so if you are looking for a trail with exquisite views, we recommend choosing another trail. However, if you are looking for an easily accessible trail from multiple points, this is the trail for you. You can trek in either direction on the 40-mile trail. Cherry Creek is quite popular with Denver hikers, and you will enjoy it while you are there. The trail begins near Confluence Park and goes all the way to Franktown. While trekking through the trail, you will pass through Parker, Centennial, Glendale, and Aurora. The trail views include concrete canyon walls, some of which are decorated with street art. The trail is very popular with bicyclists, so you are likely to meet lots of them while trekking. Be careful, so you don’t get overrun by any of them. There are some sections on the trail that has sides for walkers and bikers, though.

Staunton State Park Hiking Trail

The park is just a few miles from the city, and you are likely to be there within forty minutes. It is one of the new state parks in Colorado, and it boasts miles of hiking trails that will satisfy your trailing urge. At the park, you can enjoy other activities such as biking, mountain climbing, and not forgetting the beautiful view of the highest waterfall in Denver. The 12-mile trail near the base of the falls is one of the most used trails, but if you want something more challenging, you could hike to the Elk Falls Overlook. Alternatively, if you are hiking with your family, the best trail will be the Davis Ponds Loop. The trail is 3.7 km long, and it is an easy route that you all can enjoy as a family. While at it, you all could enjoy different activities, including fishing and trail running. It is also a perfect spot for a couple looking for an area for a picnic.

Mount Falcon Trails

Mount Falcon offers some of the best hiking trails in Denver, whether you are hiking alone or with your family. Here, you can enjoy different outdoor activities, including running, biking, nature trips, horseback riding, and more. One of the most popular trails at Mt. Falcon is the Mount Falcon Castel Trail Loop. The trail is about 10.8 km long, and it will take you around four hours to complete. You can trail there most times of the year, but the best times to visit are usually between March and October. Dogs can walk on the trails but make sure your dog is on a leash. You can also enjoy the Turkey Trot Trail. The trail is around 4.8 km long, and it will take you around one hour 45 minutes to complete. It provides beautiful views, and you can enjoy various activities such as horseback riding and trail running. While at Mount Falcon, you will enjoy witnessing historic castle ruins and beautiful green views. Be sure to bring your hiking boots for the best results.

Red Rocks Park Trails

Built almost a century ago, the Red Rocks Park is one of the most known tourist destinations in Denver. The park is just around 25 minutes from the city, and it provides some of the most accessible trails in Denver. If you are looking for a hiking trail near the city, Red Rock Park provides some of the most accessible trails in Denver. It comes with scenic views, and most are not too long to make you too tired. For example, the Trading Post Trail at Red Rocks is only 1.4 miles long. It is best to use this trail during the summer or spring as the clash of greens, and red rocks provide such a scenic view. However, hiking here during the winter is not advisable as some of the shaded sections could get icy, spoiling the fun. If you prefer a longer trail, you could use the Red Rocks trail, which is about six miles long and provides beautiful views of Dakota Hogback. Whichever trail you choose at the Red Rocks, you can be sure that it will provide you with beautiful scenes and a friendly environment for hiking.

Waterton Canyon Trail

Waterton Canyon is a 12.4-mile trail that follows a dirt road stretching up to 6.2 miles to the Strontia Springs Dam. The trail provides several types of views, including wildlife. There are also a few picnic spots where you can enjoy yourself with your loved one. Unlike most trails you will find in Denver, this one has plenty of parking space, so you can come in your car. It is only 35 minutes from the city, and it is easily accessible either by car, foot, or bike. Unlike some of the trails in Denver, this one does not allow you to come along with your dog to protect bighorn sheep. They don’t want you to carry your dog, and it ends up attacking the sheep. The trail takes around five hours and 30 minutes to complete, and you can enjoy fishing and horseback riding while at it. The park can be visited at any time of the year since it is open all around. The weather there is quite accommodating, and you will find the trail very relaxing. It is not difficult to navigate; we could describe it as easy to moderate.

Nature and Ecology of Denver Parks

Denver is home to thousands of wildlife species and has an ecosystem that supports scavengers, herbivores, omnivores, people, pets, vehicles, and buildings. People in the city encounter wildlife in their daily lives, from birds to other animals like squirrels. The creatures have adapted to the way of life in Denver, and they take advantage of the habitats created by the city. The city of Denver does what it can to impact the growth of wildlife positively. Many species live in parks, river bottoms, neat water bodies, and in undeveloped pieces of land. Some species such as raccoons, squirrels, geese, and coyotes have adapted the city life, and they thrive very well there.

Ecology of Denver Park

In the Denver Mountain Parks, there is ecological diversity in all the parks. Some parks have over 3000 species, and all the species coexist peacefully. Taking an example of the Rocky Mountain Park, it is home to over 300 species of birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish species, and lots of insects. The plants and animals in the park have become adapted to the mountain ecosystem. They all coexist the way they should. The ecological diversity in the park is like the diversity in the broader Western landscape, ranging from Alaska to Denver. Most of the species in the parks live seasonally or full-time, depending on their tolerance conditions. Some birds in the parks, like Western Tanagers, migrate during the summer. You’ll see them moving to other countries, mostly Mexico and for the winter. The mammals found in the park ecosystem include mule deer, porcupines, coyotes, and black bears.

Natural Areas of Denver Park

That said, there are five designated natural areas in the Denver Parks and Recreation. These areas tell us about the people, geology, and landscape of Denver. They include Parkfield, Heron Pond, Camp Rollandet, Inspiration Point, and Paul A. Hentzell. The areas were designated because of the wildlife habitat in them, native vegetation, and their connection to the community. The areas can be used as classrooms to teach about Denver’s ecology. They function as areas of biological needs and natural beauty. While in these areas, it is important to stay on the designated trails. Dispose of any trash you might have in a receptacle. Additionally, make sure not to pick the flowers and keep your dog on the leash at all times.

Native Grasses

The native grasses are usually the major source of food for Denver wildlife. For that reason, the city of Denver plays its role in protecting and restoring the grass to sustain life in the ecosystem. The city monitors and evaluates the situations at the parks. They ensure they are meeting short-term and long-term goals of the natural resources required. Common measures to protect the native grass include removing competition to the native grass. This includes noxious weeds which compete for moisture and nutrients. Selective mowing is also practiced to maintain a healthy population of native grass. Mowing takes place once every year or after every two years.