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100 Years of the Magnificent Dream

The first book to feature the 100-year history of Denver’s Mountain Parks is here! Order a copy today—every purchase helps support the Denver Mountain Parks. Thank you!

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More posts about the book here.

From the Introduction:

Part 1: Developing the Mountain Parks, 1910–1940, 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, 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 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 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.


  1. […] 100 Years of the Magnificent Dream […]

  2. Diane Young says:

    Please let me know where I can see this book before I order it. I would very much like to know dimensions and see it in person first.

    • Good questions, Diane! Thank you… I will have to put up a page with these specs, but for the moment, here’s an answer: The book measures roughly 10 x 11 inches, so is coffee-table format, 144 pages. Every spread has color photos, historic photos, or postcards. I’ll email you directly, but depending on where you’re located, the book is available at Tattered Cover (Denver), Costco, Hearthfire Books (Bergen Park), Hiwan Homestead Museum (Evergreen), Red Rocks Trading Post (near Morrison), Amazon, and many more. I’ll get a new page about the book up very soon. We’re confident you won’t be disappointed. Thanks for asking!!

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