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Things get crazy in the Red Rock. Photo By: GlowJangles

If Denver were on the east coast, its urban landscape would dominate the surrounding terrain. The Colorado landscape is so epic, though, that when viewed from a trail up in the mountains, the office towers and stadiums of Denver can seem almost toy-like. In Denver, escaping to adventure is about getting fresh perspective on the Mile High City.

TEVA has teamed up with Matador’s global community of outdoors fanatics to show you how to escape to adventure in 12 cities across America. In addition to the article series, we’ll be running an ongoing photo contest. Send us a photo of yourself adventuring abroad or in your back yard and you might win a free pair of new TEVAs.

A quick safety note about Denver adventure – always remember to wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water, because like everything in Colorado, these escapes involve altitude.

Adventure: Hiking, Trail-Running

Escape Time: 30 minutes
Payoff: Red rock formations and stunning views.

Red Rock Amphithetre. Photo By: Quan Ha

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is well known as an incredible concert venue, drawing big name musical acts like Wilco, YES, and The Flaming Lips. Less well known are the hiking trails within the park, which wind through mind blowing rock formations and open up to sweeping views of Denver and the Great Plains.

The Trading Post trail wraps around fountain formations of sun-baked sandstone for about 1.5 miles, while the Red Rocks trail can be extended to a full 6 mile loop. There’s plenty of signage to help you find your way. If you time your adventure right and score concert tickets, you can cap off your hike with a picnic, followed by live music in the amphitheatre.

Adventure: Kayaking

Escape Time: 15 minutes
Payoff: Sweet pockets of whitewater. Downtown.

There isn’t a lot of water on the front range of the Rockies, but the dry air and consistent sunshine make the rivers and creeks of Colorado all the more appealing.

The confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek, just west of downtown, is a prime location for social kayaking, and in spring, during runoff, the whitewater here can actually get pretty intense.

Haven’t quite perfected your roll? The South Platte is also fun for tubing, or simple sunning and splashing by Confluence Park.

Confluence Park. Photo By: Sean Buchan

Just don’t drink the river water. Instead, walk over to My Brother’s bar for a burger and a beer. My Brother’s gets points for history – it was a favorite hangout of the Beat writer Jack Kerouac.
Adventure: Mountain Biking

Escape Time: 30 minutes
Payoff: Fast, rolling single-track.

The front range of the Rocky Mountains has loops upon loops of excellent singletrack, and the dry climate helps keep the trails in good shape for most of the year.

Bear Creek

Located just west of Lakewood, the trails in Bear Creek Lake Park are good choices for fast, exhilarating rides. The trails aren’t super technical, but there are lots of pleasant dips and rolls, and the relatively gentle terrain makes this a great choice for beginners. There’s a $5 entrance fee.

Dakota Ridge

This is a tough, technical trail with lots of steep drops and narrow singletrack, a favorite of experienced Denver mountain bikers. Here’s a sweet video of a Dakota Ridge ride.

To get there, head up I-70 to Morrison, then turn left on CO 26. The Dakota Ridge trail eventually hooks up with the Red Rocks trail, profiled above.

CyclingPaddling


 

About The Author

Tim Patterson

Tim Patterson is a long-time contributor and former contributing editor at Matador Network.

  • http://www.thetravelchica.com Stephanie – The Travel Chica

    Denver is one of my favorite cities because of how many outdoors adventure activities you have nearby.

  • http://www.adventurouswench.com/ Adventurous Wench

    So many places to see and so many things to do! Decisions, decisions! :-)

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