Auto Racing

Bandimere Speedway. NHRA Championship Drag Racing takes place on the speedway from April through October. 3051 S. Rooney Rd., Morrison, Colorado, 80465. 303/697–6001;


Coors Field. The Colorado Rockies, Denver's National League baseball team, play April through October in Coors Field. Because it's set in high altitude and thin air, the park is among the best in the major leagues for home-run hitters—and likewise, one of the worst for pitchers. 2001 Blake St., LoDo, Denver, Colorado, 80205. 303/292–0200; 800/388–7625;


Pepsi Center. From November to April, the Denver Nuggets play at the Pepsi Center. The 19,000-seat arena is also the primary indoor venue for large musical acts such as U2 and Justin Timberlake. Tours of the facilities are available several days a week. 1000 Chopper Circle, Auraria, Denver, Colorado, 80204. 303/405–8555;

Bicycling and Jogging

Bicycle Doctor/Edgeworks. This facility just south of downtown repairs road and mountain bikes and rents them for $20 to $70 a day. 860 Broadway, Golden Triangle, Denver, Colorado, 80203. 303/831–7228; 877/245–3362;

Cherry Creek Bike Path. A well-kept path runs from Cherry Creek Shopping Center to Larimer Square downtown alongside the peaceful creek of its name. Cherry Creek, LoDo, Denver, Colorado.

Deer Creek Canyon. Running through forested foothills southwest of Denver near the intersection of C–470 and Wadsworth Boulevard, the Deer Creek Canyon trail system is popular with mountain bikers. C–470 and Wadsworth Blvd., Littleton, Colorado.

Denver Parks Department. With more than 400 miles of off-road paths in and around the city to choose from, cyclists can move easily between urban, mountain, and rural settings. Denver Parks Department has suggestions for bicycling and jogging paths throughout the metropolitan area's 250 parks, including the popular Cherry Creek and Chatfield Reservoir State Recreation areas. Denver, Colorado. 720/913–0696;

High Line Canal. Sixty-six miles of mostly dirt paths through the metropolitan area run along the scenic canal at almost completely level grade. Auraria, Cherry Creek, LoDo, Denver, Colorado.

Matthews/Winters Park. West of the city, paved paths wind through Matthews/Winters Park near both Golden and Morrison. It's dotted with plaintive pioneer graves amid the sun-bleached grasses, thistle, and columbine. South of I–70 on CO 26, Golden, Colorado, 80401.

South Platte River. Twelve miles of paved paths run along the river as it heads into downtown. Central Platte Valley, LoDo, Denver, Colorado.


Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The team that introduced America to quarterback John Elway—the National Football League's Denver Broncos—plays September through December at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Every game has sold out for more than 30 years, so tickets are not easy to come by, but not impossible. 1701 Bryant St., Exit 210B off I–25, Sun Valley, Denver, Colorado, 80204. 720/258–3000;


Non–City Owned Courses

With their sprawling layouts and impressively appointed greens, these four public clubs merit a special look over their city-operated counterparts simply because of their more rural settings. On any Denver-area course, though, out-of-town golfers should keep in mind that the high altitude affects golf balls as it does baseballs—which is why the Rockies have so many more home runs when they bat at home. It's generally agreed that your golf ball will go about 10%–15% farther in the thin air here than it would at sea level.

Arrowhead Golf Club. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., this private course with rolling terrain is set impressively among red sandstone spires. It's 45 minutes from downtown in Roxborough State Park, which means that any members of your group who don't want to golf can hike nearby. The slow-paced play is made up for by allowing more time to spend looking at the spectacular scenery. 10850 W. Sundown Trail, Littleton, Colorado, 80125. 303/973–9614; $110 weekdays, $160 weekends.

Buffalo Run. A Keith Foster–designed private course and the site for the 2004 Denver Open, the bargain-priced Buffalo Run counts wide-open views of the plains surrounding its lake-studded course among its charms, which also include streams running through it and the Bison Grill Restaurant. Some of the greens play fast, and the exposed terrain can mean sloppy conditions after a run of wet weather, so call ahead for an update. 15700 E. 112th Ave., Commerce City, Colorado, 80022. 303/289–1500; $27 weekends, $44 weekends.

Ridge at Castle Pines North. Tom Weiskopf designed this 18-hole course with great mountain views and dramatic elevation changes. It's ranked among the nation's top 100 public courses. It's in Castle Rock, about 45 minutes south of Denver on I–25. One of the course's distinguishing features is its commitment to pace of play; a series of programs have been implemented to help golfers stick to a schedule without cramping golfing styles. 1414 Castle Pines Pkwy., Castle Rock, Colorado, 80108. 303/688–4301; $115 weekdays, $145 weekends. Reservations essential.

Riverdale Golf Courses. It's two golf courses in one: Riverdale has the Dunes, a Scottish-style links course designed by Pete and Perry Dye that sits on the South Platte River and offers railroad ties, plenty of bunkers, and water; while the Knolls has a more gnarly, park-inspired layout. Both courses are shaded by plenty of trees, and you can't beat the price for this public facility maintained as pristinely as a private one. While you're here, be sure to peruse the on-site Colorado Golf Hall of Fame showcases. 13300 Riverdale Rd., Brighton, Colorado, 80601. 303/659–4700; Knolls $26 weekdays, $29 weekends for 18 holes; Dunes $39 weekdays, $48 weekends.

City-Owned Public Courses

Eight courses—City Park, Harvard Gulch, Evergreen, Kennedy, Overland Park, Wellshire, and Willis Case, along with Aqua Golf, a water driving range—are operated by the City of Denver and are open to the public. Green fees for all range from $25 to $37. For advance reservations golfers must use the City of Denver Golf Reservation System (on the Web or by phone) up to seven days in advance. For same-day tee times you can call the starters at an individual course. Reservations can be made up to 14 days in advance with a Denver Golf Loyalty card, free by visiting any Denver golf course location.

Aqua Golf. Two 18-hole miniature golf courses and a water driving range make this a fun spot for families and those looking to spend some time practicing. There are loaner clubs, as well as table tennis for those who don't golf. The clubhouse has a small snack bar, but you're also allowed to bring in your own food. 501 W. Florida Ave. , Overland, Denver, Colorado, 80223. 720/865--0880; $8 for 18 holes of miniature golf; $6 for 50 balls.

City Park. Since 1920, City Park's tree-lined public course at the north end of the park has been a popular go-to for an urban golf experience. The fairways are narrow but easily navigated, with welcome city skyline and mountain views from many of its mostly short, flat holes, primarily at the east end of the course. The Denver Zoo and Denver Museum of Nature & Science are almost within putting distance, so those in the group who don't want to golf have options. 2500 York St., City Park, Denver, Colorado, 80205. 303/295–2096; $27 weekdays; $37 weekends.

Evergreen Golf Course. Situated 30 minutes from Denver and at an altitude of 7,220 feet, this public course offers golfers even more bang for their buck in terms of yardage–-but they may feel the extra exertion of walking along this rolling, public 18-hole executive course, as well. With its setting along Bear Creek in the midst of a pine-heavy forest, the course is a favorite byway for elk. 29614 Upper Bear Creek Rd., Denver, Colorado, 80439. 303/674–6351; $25 weekdays, $36 weekends.

Harvard Gulch. For golfers on a time crunch, this 9-hole, par-3 beginners course–-the longest hole is 110 yards–-in South Denver is ideal. Low-key, walkable and completed in about an hour, the course features mountain views and tidy greens. If you're serious about golf etiquette–-including wearing appropriate attire, replacing divots, and yelling "fore"–-this is probably not the right course for you. Most folks here are just learning, but it's hard to beat the price and the convivial atmosphere. 660 Iliff Ave., South Denver, Denver, Colorado, 80212. 303/698–4078; $9.

Kennedy Golf Course. The sprawling, rolling hills of this course feature magnificent mountain views and plenty of putting practice on the greens. Technically located in suburban Aurora southeast of Denver, the 27-hole regulation course has quite a bit of variety, with the short, tight Creek nine; longer, wider West nine; and a combination of both in the Babe Lind nine–-any two of which can be combined to make up your 18 holes. Miniature golf is on-site, as well. 10500 E. Hampden Ave., Aurora, Colorado, 80014. 720/865–0720; $27 weekdays; $37 weekends.

Overland Park. Touted as the oldest continuously operating golf course west of the Mississippi–-it was once the Denver Country Club–-Overland Park has appealing city and mountain views as well as narrow but open fairways; small, easily read and well-bunkered greens; and fast play. The course is peppered with trees but sports only one water hazard, and the flat terrain makes for a fairly effortless walk. 1801 S. Huron St., Overland, Denver, Colorado, 80223. 303/698–4975; $27 weekdays; $37 weekends.

Wellshire Golf Course. Designed in 1926 by Donald Ross and famously played by Ben Hogan, Wellshire Golf Course is known for its classic layout; small, slightly elevated greens; and intermittent mountain views. The foliage-heavy course is mostly flat and contains a handful of water hazards; fairways are narrow and sometimes run parallel to each other. The Wellshire has retained some of its old-time country club charm in the clubhouse and restaurant. 3333 S. Colorado Blvd., South Denver, Denver, Colorado, 80222. 303/692–5636; $27 weekdays; $37 weekends.

Willis Case. Out of Denver's city-owned golf courses, arguably the best mountain views can be found at Willis Case, whose old-growth-covered, beautifully landscaped, gently rolling terrain can be found right off I–70. The first tee feels as if you are aiming straight for the Rockies, and the sloping fairways, guarded greens, and strategically placed bunkers make for moderately challenging play. 4999 Vrain St., North Denver, Denver, Colorado, 80212. 720/865–0700; $27 weekdays; $37 weekends.


Barr Lake State Park. The 9-mile, multi-use Lake Perimeter Trail at Barr Lake State Park (about 24 miles northeast of Denver) circles the lake and passes by several wildlife viewing stations and the park's wildlife refuge. More than 350 species of birds have been spotted in the park, including bald eagles. 13401 Picadilly Rd., Brighton, Colorado, 80603. $7 for a day pass.

Green Mountain. Part of Jefferson County Open Space and a piece of William Frederick Hayden Park (City of Lakewood), Green Mountain is the first named foothill as you head west from Denver toward the mountains. The easy, mostly exposed trails here afford panoramic views of downtown Denver, Table Mesa, Pikes Peak, and the Continental Divide from the top (895 feet in elevation gain). There are multiple trails from several trailheads, including a 6½-mile loop and a 3-mile loop. You must share the experience with bikers and dogs (as well as other critters). Lakewood, Colorado, 80465. Open daily 5 am--10 pm.

Mount Falcon Park. Looking down on Denver and across at Red Rocks, this park is amazingly tranquil, laced with meadows and streams, and shaded by conifers. The trails are well marked. Aurora, Colorado, 80465.

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. Fifteen miles southwest of Denver, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is a breathtaking wonderland of vaulting oxblood-and-cinnamon-color sandstone spires. The outdoor music stage is in a natural 9,000-seat amphitheater (with perfect acoustics, as only nature could have designed). Visit even when there's no show. The 5-mile scenic drive offers a glorious glimpse of the 868 acres of sandstone, and there are picnic and parking areas along the way for photos and a rest. If you're feeling particularly spunky, follow the locals' lead and run the steps for a real workout. The Trading Post loop hiking trail, at 6,280 feet, is 1½ miles long and quite narrow with drop-offs and steep grades. 17598 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison, Colorado, 80465. Open daily (non-show days) one hr before sunrise to one hr after sunset.

Roxborough State Park. An easy, wheelchair-accessible 2-mile loop trail in the park goes through rugged rock formations; there are also myriad harder hikes that offer striking vistas and a unique look at metropolitan Denver and the plains. Littleton, Colorado, 80125. $7 for a day pass.


Colorado Avalanche. This wildly popular Denver-based National Hockey League team won the Stanley Cup in 1996 and beat the New Jersey Devils for an encore in 2001. It continues to be beloved by locals and plays October to April in a packed 19,000-seat Pepsi Center arena. 1000 Chopper Pl., Auraria, Denver, Colorado, 80204. 303/428–7645;

Horse Racing

Arapahoe Park. Horse racing takes place June through August at Arapahoe Park. 26000 E. Quincy Ave., Aurora, Colorado, 80016. 303/690–2400; $3.

Stock Shows

National Western Stock Show. Thousands of cowpokes retrieve their string ties and worn boots and indulge in two weeks of hootin', hollerin', and celebratin' the beef industry during the National Western Stock Show each January.

Whether you're a professional rancher or bull rider, or just plan to show up for the people-watching, the Stock Show is a rich, colorful glimpse of Western culture. The pros arrive to make industry connections, show off their livestock, and perhaps land a few sales. The entertainment involves nightly rodeo events, presentations of prized cattle (some going for thousands of dollars), and "Mutton Bustin'." The latter is one of those rowdy rodeo concepts that usually has no place in a genteel metropolis like Denver: kids, ages 5–7, don huge hockey-goalie helmets and hold for dear life onto the backs of bucking baby sheep. At the trade show you can buy hats and boots as well as yards of beef jerky and quirky gift items.

The yearly event is held at the Denver Coliseum. Just be sure to call first and ask for directions; although parking is plentiful it can move around based on volume and livestock needs, and the Coliseum, usually home of straightforward sporting and entertainment events, becomes a labyrinth of lots and shuttles during the Stock Show. Daily admission prices depend on the day's events. Denver Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt St., Elyria, Denver, Colorado, 80216. 303/295--6124; 866/464--2626; $10--$19.


Denver Parks Department Tennis Courts. The city has 33 parks with 109 tennis courts available for play. For information, call the Denver Parks Department. Denver, Colorado. 720/913–0696;

Water Sports

Chatfield marina rents sailboats, powerboats, and Jet Skis June–August.

Chatfield Marina. Fifteen miles south of downtown and on the fringes of the Rocky Mountains, Chatfield Marina attracts wakeboarders, water-skiers, stand-up paddleboarders, and tubers. Chatfield State Park, Littleton, Colorado, 80125. 303/791–5555;