Denver Mountain Parks

100 Years of the Magnificent Dream

We’ve officially sold-out of our book. Look to your local library for a copy to read!

Denver Mountain Parks: 100 Years of the Magnificent Dream presents for the first time in a single volume an authoritative history of the mountain parks from their beginnings to the present day, plus a guide to visiting the parks. With a foreword by Thomas J. Noel, a letter of support from Mayor Michael Hancock, 72 new John Fielder photographs, and 26 Then-and-Now images of Red Rocks, Lookout Mountain, Genesee, Daniels Parks, and more.

We Won!

Not to toot our own horn, but…  In case you missed it, on June 13th, 2014, we were awarded the Colorado Book Award. Read more!

Part 1: 

Developing the Mountain Parks, 1910–1940

The book begins with the early history of the park system. In the years around 1910, men such as John Brisben Walker, Kingsley A. Pence, and Warwick Downing worked to rally public support for municipal parks in the nearby mountains. After passage of the Mountain Parks Charter Amendment in the city election of May 1912, Denver commissioned a comprehensive development plan from the nation’s top landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. The story continues through three decades of dynamic development as parklands were acquired, roads built, lodges and amenities constructed. By 1940, the Denver Mountain Park system was largely complete, from the historic Lariat Trail, built in 1913, through the last mountain park the city would develop, the Winter Park ski area.

Part 2: 

Defending the Mountain Parks, 1941–2012
Man with bison

Part Two continues the story through the development of the new master plan, outlines the struggles to maintain the far-flung parks in the face of dwindling budgets, and highlights the triumphs of these later decades. In 1955, the discontinuation of dedicated funding for the parks marked the beginning of decades of financial challenges. Yet, in spite of budget difficulties, World War II, and other challenges, the parks continue as a prized resource for Colorado and beyond.

Part 3: 

Discovering the Mountain Parks

Map showing park locations

Part three presents up-to-date, detailed information on the 22 developed parks so both first-time and regular visitors can make the most of their visit. Park locations, hours, and amenities such as hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, historic sites, camping information, and more are explained in an easy-to-use format. A map accompanying this text appears inside the front cover.

Part 4:

The Future of the Mountain Parks
Sunrise over a Denver Mountain Park

Part Four considers what the parks will need to thrive in their next one hundred years. The same visionary leadership that inspired them will be necessary to maintain, develop, and improve the parks in the 21st century. Important questions about funding sources and management will need to be addressed. Denver’s mountain parks need our advocacy and renewed commitment to remain the irreplaceable resource they are today.