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15 Best Outdoor Activities in Denver for Every Season

best outdoor activities in denver

Denver, Colorado is an outdoor adventurer’s dream. With picturesque peaks perfect for hiking, climbing, and backpacking, the city adopts a very outdoorsy feel.

If you are looking for the perfect outdoor activities in Denver, look no further, I’ve got you!

I personally have spent a great deal of time in Denver, and as an outdoor adventurer myself, I have compiled the perfect list of 15 outdoor activities in Denver for every season that are sure to blow you away.

My name is Hannah and I am a southern-raised, Seattle-based travel and adventure writer. I have been to all 50 states and look for every opportunity to opt outside.

Let’s get started.

Things to Do Outdoor in the Fall

15Get Lost in the Maize

Get Lost in the Maize

If you are looking for some by-the-books rural fall fun, look no further than Maize in the City located a quick 10 miles north of Downtown Denver in nearby Thorton.

Pick your perfect pumpkin, try out the corn launcher, and even put your navigational skills to the test by attempting to navigate through the 20+ acre corn maze. 

While admission to the site is free, some of the attractions may cost a modest fee. Get out of the city, and while getting lost in the Maize, see if you can find some festive fall fun.

(10451 McKay Road Thorton, CO 80233)

14Prost at Oktoberfest

oktoberfest denver
Oktoberfest Announcement in Denver – Courtesy of sjfst17 @ Flickr

Share a German brew at one of the largest and oldest festivals in Colorado featuring all of your favorite German flavors.

You can spend time over two weekends getting your German foodie fix at this outdoor attraction located downtown along Larimer street. 

A visit to the festival to enjoy the atmosphere and entertainment is entirely free. Wristbands will run you between $15-$65, depending on your level of commitment and desire for swag.

Public transit options are plentiful in this downtown hotspot, so if you plan on indulging, be sure to take a bus or rideshare option home. 

(Larimer Street)

13Zombie Crawl

zombie crawl in denver
Denver Zombie Crawl – Courtesy of Xuilla @ Flickr

Are you feeling Ghoulish? Halloween lovers, look no further than the Annual Denver Zombie Crawl for an evening of scary-good fun.

This fun outdoor activity brings a unique spin to the city where you and your friends can compete in a series of challenges to reap the top rewards. 

Show up dressed in your deadliest best to enter the Costume Contest, and be sure to hang around after for the after-parties which feature fun events like an outdoor block party and a Zombie Prom.

(Starts at Skyline Park)

12Water Lantern Festival

Water Lantern Festival in Denver

Design a lantern and experience a uniquely fun thing to do outside at the annual Denver/Thornton Water Lantern Festival held at Carpenter Park. 

With tickets ranging from $25-$55, each ticket includes access to the event, gives you a floating lantern kit with an LED candle, and covers the cost of removing the lanterns from the water after the event.

Make a night of memories as the lanterns are launched in a beautiful golden glow across the water, illuminating messages of hope, love, and light.

(10698 Garfield Street Thorton, CO 80233)

Fun Outdoor Activities in the Winter

11Leash Up Your Sled

dog sledding denver
Dog Sledding Denver

If you are looking for a new way to experience winter adventure in Denver, try jazzing up your typical snow plans to include dog sledding.

Good Time Adventures, located close to the city of Denver can provide you with that opportunity. 

For $150 per person, you and up to 6 of your friends can pack on the layers and get ready to mush along for around a 6-mile sleigh adventure with an expert guide.

Remember to dress warmly; while the huskies have a natural coat, you’re going to need to bring one!

(6061 Tiger Road Breckenridge, CO 80424)

10Ice Skating at Skyline Park

Skyline Park Skating
Skyline Park Ice Skating – Courtesy of Kent Kanouse @ Flickr

Skate the Sky for under $10 per person at Winter in the City. Bundle up and enjoy the festive downtown Denver area where you can get in the holiday spirit with a variety of decorations, music, and festive foods on offer between November and February.

See the sights through a new glittery lens as you take to the rink in your skates. 

(1601 Arapahoe Street Denver, CO 80202)

9Blossoms of Light at the Botanic Gardens

Blossoms of Light at Denver Botanic Garden
Blossoms of Light at Denver Botanic Garden – Courtesy of Michael Levine-Clark @ Flickr

While the Botanic Gardens are an amazing place to spend time no matter the season, the scene is particularly lovely to view during the winter months when the lush gardens are bedecked with thousands of holiday lights.

Grab some holiday treats and a warm beverage as you wander through the York Street location in a dazzling winter wonderland.

Be sure to make your reservation well in advance to ensure entry into this awesome outdoor attraction in Denver.

(1007 York Street Denver, CO 80206)

Adventure Activities to Do in the Spring

8Hike Mount Galbraith

Mount Galbraith Hike
Hiking Mount Galbraith – Courtesy of Jess J @ Flickr

This cool hike about 20 minutes outside of Denver offers incomparable canyon views and sweeping scenes of Denver and the city of Golden.

Drive west outside of Denver towards Mount Galbraith Park (off I-93) and park in the gravel lot off Golden Gate Canyon Road. 

The Cedar Gulch Trail is about a 4-mile loop that circles around Mount Galbraith.

The loop takes about 2 hours, so remember to pack sunscreen and water bottles for hiking to fully enjoy the rock formations, wildlife spotting, and wildflowers along the trail.

Also, it doesn’t evolve any scrambling while hiking so you can bring your children too.

(21992 Golden Gate Canyon Rd, Golden, CO 80403)

7Take a Trip Down Some White Water

White river rafting at Clear Creek, Colorado
White River Rafting at Clear Creek – Courtesy of Kent Kanouse @ Flickr

If you’re looking for nature things to do, what better way to spend a day than out in the sunshine white water rafting.

The Colorado River and its tributaries flow with snow melt in the spring, perfect for jumping on a raft and splashing through the spray.

There are several rivers in the greater Denver area, but some of the best rafting near the city is found along Clear Creek. 

(Various Locations)

6Lariat Loop Byway

Lariat Loop Byway
Courtesy of delfcenteno @ Flickr

If you’re looking to get a glimpse of the great outdoors while staying comfortably in your car, the Lariat Loop Byway is an awesome option to get the views that Denver has to offer without the additional stress or strain of a hike in the wild. 

Take note of the amazing crimson formations out your window, and the lovely evergreen-spotted foothills of the grand Rockies around you, and keep your eyes peeled for dinosaur tracks when you pass Dinosaur Ridge.

You never know exactly what your drive will provide, from wildlife to weather, so bring your sense of adventure to this mini road trip.

(Golden, CO – Various Locations)

5Zipline Tour

zipline Rocky Mountains

Head away from the hustle and bustle of Denver and escape into the mountains for an awesome chance to experience the grand Rocky Mountains via Zipline.

And there in the blue air I saw for the first time, far off, the great snowy tops of the Rocky Mountains. I had to get to Denver at once.

Jack Kerouac, American Novelist

Zipping through the trees is one of the most fun things to do outside in any location, but especially in a setting as gorgeous as this.

With many options to choose from, you can sign up for a tour to take you by bus out of the city and into the skies.

Bring an adventurous attitude, a strong stomach, and your desire to see something absolutely stunning as you swiftly move through the fresh alpine air.

(Various Locations)

Fun Things to Do Outside in The Summer

4Yoga on the Rocks

Red Rocks Amphitheater Yoga
Yoga at Red Rocks Amphitheater Yoga – Courtesy of Harsha Lanka @ Flickr

A trip to Denver is never complete without a trip to the nearby Red Rocks Amphitheater.

Nothing compares to this stunning open-air space set in geologically magnificent red rocks, and a yoga class is one of those awesome seasonal activities you can do on-site. 

Roll out your yoga mat and begin your day melting stress away in the Colorado sun.

At only $17 a session, this is an affordable option to not only increase your heart rate but experience one of the best outdoor attractions near Denver.

(Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, CO)

3Explore the City on a Scooter

Using a segway in Denver
Courtesy of Todd McCann @ Flickr

If you’re looking to stay urban, consider renting a scooter or a segway to tour the city of Denver. You can arrange for an organized tour, or pick up one of the bikes, scooters, or segway options from rentals around the city. 

If you’re on a solo trip to Denver, scootering around is a great way to spend a day outdoors within familiar areas.

Take some time to window shop, try some new restaurants, mingle with the locals, or just gather your bearings as you blast through the city on wheels.

(Various Locations)

2Hot Air Balloon Rides

Hot Air Balloon Rides near Denver
Hot Air Balloon Rides near Denver – Courtesy of Bugeater @ Flickr

Take flight high above the Denver skyline by participating in a Hot Air Balloon Ride. Enjoy the serene space inside the basket as you get a birds-eye view of the enormous Rocky Mountains in the distance. 

Every year I go to Denver, usually between June and August. I hire a car and head up to the Rocky Mountain National Park, about a three -hour drive. It’s my idea of heaven on earth and just talking about it puts me in a good mood

Gavin Esler, Jounalist, TV Presenter and Book Author

The cost of roughly $275 per adult is absolutely worth it for the Denver adventure of a lifetime, especially if you spring for a package that includes complimentary champagne!

(Various Locations)

1Paddle on Sloan’s Lake

Paddle Boarding Sloan's Lake
Paddle Boarding – Courtesy of Scott 97006 @ Flickr

Escape to the outdoors without leaving downtown with a day spent paddling on Sloan’s Lake. Rent a paddleboard or kayak and head to this urban oasis that remains serene because motorized boats are not allowed on this lake.

This fun outdoor activity is one of the most convenient outdoor experiences if you’re staying in downtown Denver.

Trains to Denver arrive at Union Station in the heart of downtown, and Sloan’s Lake is just three miles west of the Union Station area.

(1336 Sheridan Boulevard Unit 108, Denver, CO 80204)


What Is Something You Can Only Do in Denver?

Since Denver is the Mile High City, you can stand precisely one mile above sea level by heading to the steps of the State Capitol in Denver. The 15th step is engraved “One Mile Above Sea Level,” proving your new 5,280-feet elevation.

How Can I Have Fun in Denver?

One of the biggest keys to having a fun time in Denver is to bring your sense of adventure. Be brave enough to head outside of the city to try a new hike or explore a small town, and keep an open mind within Denver, too.

Whether it’s cannabis or white river rafting, there’s always something new to try.

What to Do in Denver When You’re Broke?

One of the greatest things about the great outdoors is that many options to explore are entirely free! Many of the outdoor activities in Denver are extremely cost-effective; Red Rocks Amphitheater, the Cherry Creek Trail, and many, many hikes are free to experience and priceless to remember.