Outdoor Activities

10 Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre
Truly unique to the area, Red Rocks combines natural geological wonders with a stellar concert and event schedule. Come during the day for the best view of the red sandstone formations, over 250 million years old and 300 feet high. A moderate 1.4-mile trail loops around the area for the best views. Return in the evening to experience acoustic perfection as some of the biggest stars in music take the stage, including acts like Fleetwood Mac and Mariah Carey. A summer film series provides a change of pace when two bands perform before the screening of a classic movie. (303-697-5968, 720-865-2494)

9 Dinosaur Ridge
Part of the Morrison Formation, a vast belt of land rich in fossils that stretches from New Mexico all the way north to Canada, this site first became famous during the fossil rush of the 1870s-1880s. A 1.25 mile trail winds its way along a ridge and signs are posted to help you interpret what you see, which includes dino fossils as well as trackways. More detailed guides and souvenirs are available at the Visitor Center. Apatosaurus, Stegosaurus and Diplodocus are just a few of the animals first found here. (303-697-3466)

8 Denver Skatepark
Crank the pop-punk or emo tunes and watch the city's best boarders tackle Denver's largest and most celebrated skate park, a concrete nirvana of bowls, snake runs, and ledges. Built on an increasingly valuable plot just north of downtown, it affords a fantastic view of the skyline, not to mention the baggy shorts and multiple tattoos of skaters who shred until 11pm. (720-913-0700, 720-913-1311)

7 Evergreen Lake Park
It's just a 30-minute ride from downtown Denver to a serene — but very accessible — 40-acre lake in the middle of the mountains. Rent a canoe or paddle boat for a half-hour, and listen to your favorite songs while relaxing amid pine-covered mountainsides under deep blue skies. (720-880-1000, 720-880-1019)

6 Ruby Hill Park
It's too steep to be Denver's most popular park (except with sledders when the snow starts to mount), but Ruby Hill — once a lookout for Native Americans — is an ideal spot for an early-morning respite. Even if you're not ambitious enough to watch the sun rise behind the skyline, you'll still get the city's best panoramic views to the east, north, and south. (720-913-0670)

5 Eldorado Resort
Get a taste of turn-of-the-century resort life at this facility, which is set between the roaring river below and the stunning Rocky Mountains above. Swim in the bracingly chilly mineral springs pool, which is filled from artesian springs, and take the waters, just as actors, politicians and celebrities once did. Near the entrance to Eldorado Canyon State Park, where rock climbing is a major attraction. Approximately 30 miles from Denver. (303-499-9640, 303-499-1316)

4 Wilderness Aware
Rivers carve out some of the most spectacular scenery in the Rocky Mountains, and you'll find no more exciting way to view the awesome highlights than on a waterborne raft. The strength of waves varies along each river (Class 1, or no waves, to Class 6, considered not runnable), and the company caters trips to its participants, making rafting an appropriate activity for all skill levels when planned accordingly. Wilderness Aware offers an excellent safety rating and a variety of activities, and includes tours of the Colorado River or the Royal Gorge. (719-395-2112, 800-462-7238)

3 Confluence Kayaks
If you relish the idea of hitting the whitewater and are interested in conquering the man-made watercourse through the Platte River at Confluence Park, Confluence Kayaks has you covered. Providing rentals for those who want to jump right in and take on the rapids as well as offering courses for beginners, the company promises plenty of opportunity for all. Private instruction is available on request. (303-433-3676)

2 Alderfer / Three Sisters Park
The opportunity for hiking and mountain biking that's most convenient to Denver is Alderfer / Three Sisters Park in Jefferson County. It's known for magnificent views of the Three Sisters and Big Brother peaks, and its Summit trail presents views of the Continental Divide. If elevation is what you're looking for, Sisters trail offers a challenge for bikers, escalating 946 feet and promising plenty of physical exertion. (303-271-5925)

1 Mile Hi Skydiving Center
Mile Hi Skydiving Center, located a short distance from Denver in Longmont, CO, offers tandem and free-fall experiences for daredevils interested in a birds-eye view of the local terrain. First-timers and seasoned folks can both participate, and safety is paramount. Not only do divers get a breathtaking (literally!) experience at 17,500 feet, but they also get a DVD to document their stunt, perfect for impressing friends back home. (303-702-9911)

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Maps and Directions

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre 10Best List Arrow
Type: Cultural Venues, Outdoor Activities, Parks
Dinosaur Ridge 10Best List Arrow
Type: Historic Sites, Museums, Outdoor Activities, Science Museums
Neighborhood: MORRISON
Denver Skatepark 10Best List Arrow
Type: Outdoor Activities, Parks
Neighborhood: COMMONS PARK
Evergreen Lake Park 10Best List Arrow
Type: Outdoor Activities, Parks
Neighborhood: EVERGREEN
Ruby Hill Park 10Best List Arrow
Type: Great Views, Outdoor Activities, Outdoor Activities - Summer, Outdoor Activities - Winter, Parks
Neighborhood: SOUTH DENVER
Eldorado Resort 10Best List Arrow
Type: Family Friendly, Outdoor Activities, Water Sports
Wilderness Aware 10Best List Arrow
Type: Outdoor Activities, Tours and Excursions, Water Sports
Confluence Kayaks 10Best List Arrow
Type: Outdoor Activities, Water Sports
Neighborhood: COMMONS PARK
Alderfer / Three Sisters Park 10Best List Arrow
Type: Outdoor Activities, Parks
Neighborhood: EVERGREEN
Mile Hi Skydiving Center 10Best List Arrow
Type: Outdoor Activities, Tours and Excursions