Running and Walking in Denver’s Historic City Park

Located just west of Denver’s historic Park Hill neighborhood, Denver City Park Denver is one of the best running locations in Denver. There is a phenomenal crushed granite trail along roadways on the inside of the park as well as a sidewalk/dirt trail along 17th Avenue, Colorado Boulevard, 23rd Avenue and York Street. Spanning 330 acres and including just the inner loops and the circumference, one can easily run 6-7 miles without covering the same area twice. This park is also home to the Denver Zoo and the magnificent Denver Museum of Nature and Science, but is developed in such a way that the park itself is never impacted by the traffic inherent to these two gems. The park, having existed for more than 130 years, is covered with large grass fields and trees as well as scattered statues and monuments that seem almost to keep guard over the majestic and peaceful landscape. Facing west from many points in the park, one can’t miss the iconic view of downtown Denver – about 2.5 miles straight down 17th Avenue.

But the best part of running and walking in City Park is using the wide roadways that wind through the inner fields of the park. The vast majority of these (still well-maintained) roadways have been closed to traffic for many years and are, therefore, always available for foot traffic. There is a signature 5K loop that goes along the roadways, starting and ending at the pavilion, located roughly in the south-central portion of the park.

The writer of this post grew up in Park Hill, attending historic East High School, located directly across 17th Avenue on the southwest end of the park. Indeed, I would walk from my home in Park Hill directly across City Park each school day from autumn to spring. And I would run, train and just spend quiet time in the park almost daily.

Feat on the Street hosts the City Park Winter Running Series; 7 organized, timed and holiday-themed run events in City Park, taking place annually from November through March. Each event begins and ends at the pavilion and provides a marked 5K course on the park’s roadways, looping twice to create a 5K and 10K course. The beauty of this course is that it provides an excellent training ground for runners and walkers of all abilities. Many recreational and competitive runners use this series to maintain their race readiness throughout the winter. And one of the many benefits of the specific course is that it allows one to work on a consistent split training program, focusing on creating a negative-split scenario within the first and second 5K loops. This aspect of the course and races, coupled with the ability to compare recorded running times and competitive place in the races, provide a runner the opportunity to work toward very specific pace, speed and competitive goals. The overall attendance of the series is more than 10,000 participants, with the largest participant base for the traditional Christmas Carol Classic 5K/10K in December and the grand finale Lucky Laces 5K/10K in March – not to leave out, however, the Park Hill kick-off event in November, the Resolve 5K/10K in January and the Valentine themed event in February, Le Cours de l’Amour (the Course of Love.

So lace up the shoes, get on the gear and join Feat on the Street for Denver’s premier running events in the City Park Winter Running Series!