Check out these 5 local outdoor reprieves.
Black Friday. You’ve seen videos of people getting trampled, or fights breaking out between little old ladies over a half-priced flat screen. Yes, it’s true–you can get some cracking deals on Black Friday–but aren’t the holidays stressful enough? It certainly doesn’t make you un-American to avoid the lines and stampedes and, instead, find sanctuary in the great outdoors. Here are five ways to do just that.
This is your closest and easiest option in the Denver South area, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in any way. Complete with hiking/biking trails, a swimming area, outdoor grills, and a dog park, Cherry Creek State Park is basically a one-stop-shop for outdoor fun. Yes, Black Friday is usually chilly, but if you’re using your muscles, you’ll be quite comfortable with a hat and gloves. And, if you really want to immerse yourself in nature, the park hosts campsites that are open year-round. So, while the crazy people are waiting in the cold all night outside a superstore, you’ll be sitting by a cozy fire roasting marshmallows and looking out at the mountain silhouettes across the water.
4201 S Parker Rd, Aurora, CO 80014
Roxborough offers incredibly unique sights that will leave your mouth gaping. The park is only about half an hour from the DTC, and it boasts some of the coolest rock formations within hours of the city. Huge, jagged red rocks jut out at an angle from the ground and can be viewed from multiple observation points along the trail system. And you’re almost guaranteed to see interesting wildlife while you’re there, including elk, deer, birds of prey, and much more. Make sure you bring cash for a day parking pass (it’s under $10 per car), and leave yourself time to get back to the parking lot before the park closes at 4:30 p.m.
4751 Roxborough Dr, Littleton, CO 80125
Another state park south of Denver, Castlewood Canyon is home to the historic Castlewood Canyon Dam. In 1933, the dam burst and caused a 15-foot high wave of water to crash into Denver. Visitors can see the remnants of the dam and the historic homestead, providing an interesting combination of geological and local history. The park is also home to a natural amphitheatre, climbing routes, and multiple hiking trails with plenty of rest areas along the way. Cherry Creek runs through the canyon and provides hikers with beautiful waterfalls and scenery. Castlewood is one of the more unique natural areas close to Denver, and it’s worth the trip on Black Friday.
2989 South State Highway 83, Franktown, CO 80116
The most iconic music venue in Colorado is also a top-notch recreation area. Morrison is a quick drive from the city, and it offers awesome hiking/biking trails that weave around the Red Rocks amphitheatre. It’s the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of shoppers and city noise, offering parking, views, and the potential for some premium stair workouts. The good news is there are no events that day, so you’ll be free to explore the whole area without any trouble (especially finding a parking spot). Snap a few photos of the serenity that comes to those who avoid the Black Friday mayhem.
18300 W Alameda Pkwy, Morrison, CO 80465
Instead of competing with the herd to save a few bucks, sit back and watch actual animals behave like animals (and you might see a few bucks. Get it?) Rocky Mountain Arsenal is an awesome wildlife reserve just outside Denver and is home to many different species. It’s open year-round and offers driving tours, so you can stay in the warmth of your vehicle while you creep among a wide range of wild animals. I’d recommend bringing big binoculars or a long camera lens, as you’ll have the chance to get up close and personal with eagles, bison, coyotes, and much more. There’s even a chance you’ll see a bald eagle, so keep your eyes peeled!
6550 Gateway Rd, Commerce City, CO 80022