Photos: Ten best parks for doing just about anything in Denver and beyond

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Contrary to the impression left by many local and national news broadcasts, not every park on the Front Range was badly damaged by recent flooding. Indeed, some of our favorites either sustained little or limited damage or are already coming back strong. With that in mind, we've dipped into our huge Best of Denver archive to find great destination suggestions in the city and within easy driving range for running, cycling, skateboarding, fishing and more. Look below to see ten photo-illustrated picks from the 2013 edition. Then get out there and enjoy Colorado.
Best Park for Cycling — City Park

"Yes, construction and goose poop pose constant challenges, but its 7.5 miles of bike paths make City Park a clear favorite for cyclists of all bents — especially the ones who don't want to brave the hordes of "serious" cyclists at Washington Park. Great views of the skyline, water features, creature features, and quick access to Uptown restaurants, a vibrant slice of East Colfax and the quiet streets of Park Hill (not to mention the zoo and the museum) add to the allure of this heart-of-the-city ride." Best of Denver — 2013

Best Park for Running — Washington Park

"Washington Park is like the Studio 54 of running: Anyone who's anyone jogs there. But there's a good reason for its popularity: miles of wide and well-kept trails. The bounty of fellow runners also means it's easy to eavesdrop on personal conversations, which is always entertaining. Plus, running sucks, and it's comforting to be among other people who are suffering as much as you are." Best of Denver — 2013

Best Park for Sledding — Stapleton Central Park

"One of Denver's newest neighborhoods, Stapleton was specifically designed and laid out with modern families in mind. And at the heart of that foresight is the eighty-acre Central Park, Denver's third-largest, which includes a stage, a playground, lakes, paths, and a giant hill that turns into a winter wonderland for kids after a storm. The slope rises about thirty feet, but the grade isn't that steep in most places, so parents don't have to panic about their little ones picking up too much speed. Now if only it would snow more often." Best of Denver — 2013

Best Skate Park — Erie Community Skate Park

"Pro skater Rob Dyrdek, founder of the Street League Skateboarding series, stopped by in March to inaugurate the new $1.2 million, 16,800-square-foot Erie Community Skate Park, the first Street League-branded public facility. The skate park, which officially opened in January of this year, has already become a mecca for street skaters. A minimalist masterpiece, it was built by California Skateparks in partnership with SITE Design Group, with an emphasis on street-inspired ledges and rails (rather than bigger and badder bowls). The mirrored design allows equal access for goofy-footed and regular-footed approaches, and the park's features suit beginners and pros alike. A second phase of construction scheduled for this summer is expected to add more beginner-friendly terrain and bring the total square footage to 25,000." Best of Denver — 2013

Best Dog Park — Foothills Community Dog Park

"Tucked away in Boulder's north end, this modest two-acre retreat has much to recommend it, pooch-wise — including separate fenced areas for large and small dogs, great surrounding scenery, and a less chaotic vibe than larger parks or the sprawling off-leash areas at the reservoirs. Recent upgrades at Foothills Community Dog Park, including shelters and water lines, make this an even more ideal retreat for you and your Boulder-ready, bandanna-wearing canine." Best of Denver — 2013

Continue for more of the ten best parks for doing just about anything in Denver and beyond.

Best Mountain-Bike Park — Trestle Bike Park at Winter Park

"Winter Park's Trestle Bike Park puts the resort so far ahead of other ski areas wrangling to offer off-season adventure that it might just as well be dubbed Summer Park. The bike park is open daily from mid-June through late September, with up to three chairlifts spinning during peak hours to service a vast network of singletrack trails, downhill bombers and terrain-park features all but guaranteed to push your bike, body armor and helmet to the limits. No, seriously: Pad up. Bob Holme, a former Winter Olympic Nordic ski jumper who is also responsible for the resort's winter ski and snowboard terrain parks, is the man behind the madness, and Trestle Bike Park events like the Colorado Freeride Festival have helped move the sport so far that Mountain Bike Slopestyle will make its debut as an X Games medal event this summer at in Munich." Best of Denver — 2013

Best Terrain Park — Breckenridge

"The Breckenridge Park & Pipe crew dug in early to roll out the white carpet for the Dew Tour's Ion Mountain Championships in December, then rocked it all season long with five different terrain parks and an Olympic-sized 22-foot superpipe. Some of the park's features are first-timer-friendly, offering a safe progression toward the bigger and burlier elements. The biggest and burliest of them were designed with the Breck Pro Team, a group of 26 top-tier sponsored athletes, in mind." Best of Denver — 2013

Best Park for a Picnic — Confluence Park

"Confluence Park, on the banks of the South Platte River, may be better known for sunbathing, people watching and kayaking, but this urban park rises above the rest for one important reason when it comes to picnics: the distinct absence of goose poop. While many of Denver's other green spaces are blanketed in the stuff, Confluence doesn't suffer from the same fowl problem." Best of Denver — 2013

Best Denver Mountain Park — Summit Lake

"How many major cities can offer a stroll in the tundra, 12,840 feet above sea level? Only one. High on Mount Evans, Summit Lake is the jewel of Denver's century-old mountain-park system, offering spectacular views to photographers and a highly manageable trail for youngsters and elders. Summer this high in the Rockies is all too brief, but that's all the more reason to enjoy the drive (the U.S. Forest Service charges a fee for access) and the brilliant wildflowers." Best of Denver — 2013

Best Park for Fishing — Bear Creek Lake Park

"Good fishing close to home can be hard to come by in landlocked Colorado. But Bear Creek Lake Park is an exception. For $7 per vehicle, anglers both new and experienced can try their hand at catching rainbow trout, perch, smallmouth bass and saugeye during the summer or winter. And if your family and friends aren't into sitting around and waiting for the fish to bite, Bear Creek Lake Park also has a swim beach, boat rentals, a water-ski school and horseback-riding stables." Best of Denver — 2013

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