Denver, Colorado, offers a diverse and picturesque landscape, making it an ideal destination for runners at various fitness levels.
The city’s fresh mountain air and numerous runner-friendly paths contribute to an invigorating and enjoyable experience for those seeking to explore the outdoor scenery while achieving personal fitness goals.
The route options available to runners range from urban paved paths to rugged natural trails, providing an opportunity for everyone to find their preferred running environment.
Known for its beautiful parks, historic neighborhoods, and long, winding trails around the metropolis, Denver has proven to be a runner’s paradise.
From the natural beauty of Cherry Creek Trail to the urban charm of the Highland area, runners will find an assortment of terrains to suit their tastes.
Additionally, the city offers excellent trails in suburban areas such as Englewood, catering to a wider audience.
Best Parks for Running in Denver
Denver offers an abundance of parks and trails for those who enjoy running. Below are some of the best parks in Denver that cater to all fitness levels, from beginners to advanced runners.
City Park is a lush park located just outside of Downtown Denver. Offering stunning views of both the Denver skyline and the mountains, the park has a 3.3-mile loop and various crisscrossing paths that allow runners to customize their routes and distances.
Washington Park, also known as “Wash Park,” is a popular running destination for locals. With two lakes and a 2.3-mile loop around its perimeter, the park provides a scenic and enjoyable running experience.
Cherry Creek Trail
The Cherry Creek Trail is one of the best running routes in downtown Denver. Spanning a total length of 42 miles, the trail starts downtown and meanders through suburban and rural communities such as Parker, Centennial, and Franktown, before ending at Castlewood Canyon State Park in Douglas County.
Cheesman Park, another beautiful location for running, offers a 1.4-mile loop, providing a quick and easy run with an added challenge of slight elevation changes.
Located where Cherry Creek and the South Platte River converge, Confluence Park offers a unique running experience with a mix of urban and natural elements.
Platte River Trail
The Platte River Trail is ideal for long-distance runners, offering a flat and paved route that spans over 28 miles from Denver to Brighton. Runners can enjoy diverse scenery along the way, from urban landscapes to natural settings.
Cherry Creek State Park
For those who prefer trail running, Cherry Creek State Park presents a variety of picturesque trails nestled within its diverse ecosystems.
Curtis Park offers a smaller, neighborhood setting for runners seeking a tranquil environment to enjoy their workout.
Sloan Lake, one of the city’s largest lakes, presents a captivating 2.6-mile loop, treating runners to stunning waterfront views and glimpses of various wildlife.
Regardless of the preferred running route, Denver’s parks and trails offer invigorating workouts amidst beautiful landscapes.
Popular Neighborhoods for Running
Capitol Hill, combined with the adjacent Uptown and Curtis Park neighborhoods, offers a historic and scenic environment for running in Denver. The Capitol Hill neighborhood features some of Denver’s oldest buildings, while Curtis Park is Denver’s oldest neighborhood with charming brick and Victorian homes. One popular route is through Cheesman Park, an 81-acre park with a 1.6-mile outer loop around its perimeter.
Just south of Capitol Hill, the Country Club neighborhood is known for its elegant, tree-lined streets and historic mansions. Running through this area offers a peaceful, upscale ambiance with stunning architecture to admire. Washington Park, located nearby, is another excellent place for a run, featuring 150 acres of parkland, two lakes, and picturesque flower gardens.
Baker is a trendy, up-and-coming neighborhood with a mix of modern and historic charm. Located just south of downtown, it’s a great area for urban runners who enjoy exploring Denver’s streetscapes. The nearby Platte River Trail offers a more traditional running route, following the eponymous waterway through the city with miles of interconnected paths.
Belcaro is a quiet and affluent neighborhood in southeastern Denver. Its wide streets, large lots, and stylish homes make for a lovely setting for a run.
The nearby Cherry Creek Trail, a popular route that runs alongside the creek, provides an excellent path for long distance running or a gentle jog.
The Highland neighborhood, located just northwest of downtown Denver, is another great option for those who enjoy running amid historic homes and vibrant streets.
The Lower Highland (LoHi) area is particularly popular for its trendy dining and art scene, while the nearby Highland Bridge connects runners to downtown and the Platte River Trail.
For those who live or work in the Aurora area, the sprawling city offers a variety of running options. The High Line Canal Trail covers over 70 miles and passes through Aurora, providing an opportunity for a scenic long run or a short training jaunt.
Englewood is a suburban city located just south of Denver, offering a mix of residential, commercial, and park spaces for runners to explore. The South Platte River Trail runs through Englewood, offering a handy route for long-distance runners or those seeking a peaceful run alongside the river.
Trail Running Options
Denver offers numerous trail running options for those seeking a mix of urban and nature experiences. The city is nestled against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, providing the perfect backdrop for adventurous runners.
One of the most popular trail running options in Denver is the Cherry Creek Trail.
This 24.6-mile-long path runs along the edge of the Rocky Mountains, passes through parks, forests, open spaces, and even a few neighborhoods, making it a versatile choice for runners.
Another trail worth exploring is the Green Mountain Novice Loop, which boasts the most elevation gain of all running trails in the area, with an ascent of 1,072 feet. This challenging route provides an excellent workout for those looking for an uphill adventure.
For those who prefer a more suburban experience, the Cherry Creek Trail also meanders through various suburban and rural communities such as Parker, Centennial, and Franktown, finally ending at Castlewood Canyon State Park in Douglas County. This trail offers a total length of 42 miles, providing ample distance for long runs.
In addition to these trails, Denver’s Highland area offers more trail running choices, including Sloane Lake and historic neighborhoods.
Furthermore, numerous longer paths and gentler trail running options can be found west of town, catering to various skill levels and preferences.
In conclusion, Denver’s trail running options offer something for everyone, from leisurely runs alongside the Rocky Mountains to challenging ascents up Green Mountain Novice Loop. With such a diverse range of choices, it’s no wonder Denver is a popular destination for trail runners.
Amenities and Safety
Denver offers a variety of running trails and routes for all types of runners. One such popular trail is the High Line Canal Trail, a 71-mile-long paved path that stretches from Waterton Canyon to the plains south of Denver International Airport.
This trail is ideal for running, cycling, and walking, making it an excellent choice for those who want to explore different parts of Denver.
Another great option is the City Park, situated just outside of downtown Denver. The park offers stunning views of both the Denver skyline and the mountains.
It includes a 3.3-mile loop around the park, as well as several crisscrossing paths for customized routes of varying distances. Wildlife enthusiasts will appreciate the natural setting and the opportunity to spot local fauna.
Safety is an important consideration when choosing a running route. Washington Park is known to be one of the safest neighborhoods in Denver, providing a secure environment for runners.
The park itself features walking trails, bike paths, and grassy areas perfect for outdoor activities.
For runners who also enjoy cycling, Denver’s Highland Area around Sloane Lake and historic neighborhoods provides an excellent and scenic option to combine both activities. Cyclists and walkers will find the paths accommodating, making it a great place for all types of outdoor enthusiasts.
Additionally, Denver is well-known for its thriving brewery scene, which can make for a fun and social aspect of the running experience. Many runners might appreciate the opportunity to unwind with a refreshing craft beer after an invigorating run.
In summary, Denver boasts numerous running routes that cater to different preferences and skill levels. With a focus on amenities and safety, runners can confidently explore the city’s scenic trails, wide paths, and vibrant neighborhoods while enjoying views of the mountains, wildlife, or even a post-run brewery visit.