The Ten Best Places for Denverites to Photograph the Perfect Sunrise

Pikes Peak, where you can watch the sun rise over the clouds.
Pikes Peak, where you can watch the sun rise over the clouds.
Mark Byzewski/Flickr

An E.M. Forster quote comes to mind when I think about why so many people live in Denver: "What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives?" 

The beauty that Colorado offers is endless, a photographer's dream. While catching a good sunrise shot can be a challenge, with the snow melting and the passes opening, spring is the perfect time to try. Here are our ten favorite places to shoot a sunrise, chosen for proximity to Denver (none is over two hours away, and most are within an hour), listed in alphabetical order.  Set your alarm, and then enjoy the view. 

Barr Lake State Park, where postcard sunrise photos are made.EXPAND
Barr Lake State Park, where postcard sunrise photos are made.

10. Barr Lake State Park
13401 Picadilly Road, Brighton

Barr Lake State Park in Brighton has something for everyone, from fishermen to arborists to hikers — and it's close to Denver. A sunrise photo is the perfect way to start a day at Barr Lake.

Sunrise at Boulder Flatirons is reason for a morning run.EXPAND
Sunrise at Boulder Flatirons is reason for a morning run.
David Dean Instagram

9. Boulder Flatirons
50 Baseline Road, Boulder 

Boulder's Flatirons attract the runner, the rock climber, the in-shape and get-in-shapers alike, which means the area is often crowded. Going at sunrise is a great way to enjoy this landmark in a more zen setting. 

Brainard Lake is a local favorite.EXPAND
Brainard Lake is a local favorite.

8. Brainard Lake
Brainard Lake Road, Ward

Wonderful trails, hiking, fly-fishing and pure serenity make Brainard Lake a gem. The sight of the sunrise reflecting off the lake is unreal, a reward for getting there early...and inspiration for staying all day.

The best sunrise in Denver is at City Park, just a bike ride away.EXPAND
The best sunrise in Denver is at City Park, just a bike ride away.

7. City Park
2001 Colorado Boulevard 

City Park is a challenging place to catch one of the best Denver sunrises, which includes both the Rocky Mountains and Denver's skyline if you catch it from the right angle. Be prepared for morning traffic, since some commuters head downtown early. 

Sunrise at Garden of the Gods features drool-worthy lighting and color.EXPAND
Sunrise at Garden of the Gods features drool-worthy lighting and color.

6. Garden of the Gods
1805 North 30th Street, Colorado Springs

Sunrise at Garden of the Gods is well worth the drive to Colorado Springs. You'll see rocks, rabbits and rays hitting the rocks all around the park, creating colors of orange you've never seen before.

Keep reading for five more spots to see the sunrise.


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