Hate to be obvious, but as the city boasts, the Denver Skatepark is the largest free public skate facility in the nation. With over 50,000 square feet full of planters, curbs, rails and a half-pipe, the park was envisioned and designed as a way to lure away the hordes of young skaters who descended on the 16th Street Mall and other city streets every day looking for a fee-free place to grind. It's lit, so the park is open from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. every day of the year. Heck, someone else might even cite it at the next HUD gathering: Best Solution to an Urban Problem That Has Actually Worked.


Tired of guiding your old nag around and around the indoor arena? Then ride him like he was meant to be ridden -- hurtling across field and stream alongside a pack of baying hounds in search of a varmint to shred. Most weekends from October to April, as well as on the occasional Wednesday, the Arapahoe Hunt pursues coyotes across a 22,000-acre spread on the site of the old Lowry bombing range. Now in its 75th year, the hunt is one of the oldest in the West. It was started in 1907, took a short break during World War I, but resumed coyote-terrorizing operations in 1929 and has been going full gallop ever since. Anyone with a horse can join in the fun, as long as he's willing to ride well and follow local customs.
Tired of guiding your old nag around and around the indoor arena? Then ride him like he was meant to be ridden -- hurtling across field and stream alongside a pack of baying hounds in search of a varmint to shred. Most weekends from October to April, as well as on the occasional Wednesday, the Arapahoe Hunt pursues coyotes across a 22,000-acre spread on the site of the old Lowry bombing range. Now in its 75th year, the hunt is one of the oldest in the West. It was started in 1907, took a short break during World War I, but resumed coyote-terrorizing operations in 1929 and has been going full gallop ever since. Anyone with a horse can join in the fun, as long as he's willing to ride well and follow local customs.


This one's for the birds. That's who Wheat Ridge resident and nature-lover Karen Heine had in mind (along with the foxes, squirrels and occasional deer wandering through) as she worked to create a woodland paradise on undeveloped land she purchased expressly for that purpose. Located off 44th Avenue between Parfet and Oak streets, the vacant parcel of land was a trash heap when Heine first bought it; now, after adding hundreds of plants, an irrigation system, sheltering rocks, bird feeders, Girl Scout-built bluebird houses and even a water hole, it's a tiny northwest-metro treasure where Heine conducts tours for schoolchildren. The pice de résistance? Last spring, Heine worked to have the plot designated a Wheat Ridge conservation zone, thereby ensuring its existence for years to come.
This one's for the birds. That's who Wheat Ridge resident and nature-lover Karen Heine had in mind (along with the foxes, squirrels and occasional deer wandering through) as she worked to create a woodland paradise on undeveloped land she purchased expressly for that purpose. Located off 44th Avenue between Parfet and Oak streets, the vacant parcel of land was a trash heap when Heine first bought it; now, after adding hundreds of plants, an irrigation system, sheltering rocks, bird feeders, Girl Scout-built bluebird houses and even a water hole, it's a tiny northwest-metro treasure where Heine conducts tours for schoolchildren. The pice de résistance? Last spring, Heine worked to have the plot designated a Wheat Ridge conservation zone, thereby ensuring its existence for years to come.


When Douglas County and Great Outdoors Colorado purchased a conservation easement on this 577-acre property in December, they acquired the final piece of a twelve-mile-long stretch of open space along I-25 south of Castle Rock. More than 30,000 acres are now preserved on both sides of the interstate, creating a permanent buffer between metro Denver and Colorado Springs. The land is owned by the Colorado Baptist General Convention, which will continue to use it as a camp, but development will be forever precluded. Public access to the property is available during monthly hikes guided by county staff, but the land will continue to be a home to elk, mountain lions, bears and one of two bighorn sheep herds know to live east of the interstate.
When Douglas County and Great Outdoors Colorado purchased a conservation easement on this 577-acre property in December, they acquired the final piece of a twelve-mile-long stretch of open space along I-25 south of Castle Rock. More than 30,000 acres are now preserved on both sides of the interstate, creating a permanent buffer between metro Denver and Colorado Springs. The land is owned by the Colorado Baptist General Convention, which will continue to use it as a camp, but development will be forever precluded. Public access to the property is available during monthly hikes guided by county staff, but the land will continue to be a home to elk, mountain lions, bears and one of two bighorn sheep herds know to live east of the interstate.


Opened four years ago, the Shootist stands out for several reasons. For one, the ten 75-yard lanes are situated underground, so the place stays cool, even in the summer. It's also well-lit, and because the owners used to be in the heating and air-conditioning business, the ventilation is top-notch -- not a small concern when you're burning through hundreds of .357 rounds. Pistols and .22-caliber rifles only; $9 if you buy your ammo there, $13 otherwise.
Opened four years ago, the Shootist stands out for several reasons. For one, the ten 75-yard lanes are situated underground, so the place stays cool, even in the summer. It's also well-lit, and because the owners used to be in the heating and air-conditioning business, the ventilation is top-notch -- not a small concern when you're burning through hundreds of .357 rounds. Pistols and .22-caliber rifles only; $9 if you buy your ammo there, $13 otherwise.


The more Denver grows, the harder it is to find a place to bust up a few clays, sight in your rifle prior to hunting season, or just make a lot of noise with your gun collection. Legally, anyway. Fortunately, there is the four-decade-old shooting center in Cherry Creek State Park. There, within sight of Denver's tallest buildings and its south suburbs' fast-growing developments, city-dwelling gun enthusiasts can discharge almost anything they can buy -- pistols, rifles (25-, 50- and 100-yard ranges) and shotguns, including trap, skeet and sporting clays. The range is open Thursday through Sunday; ten bucks will get you a gun to use, and another ten will cover the fee.

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