Friday, December 26, 2014

Daniels Park

My favorite stone picnic shelter, designed by J. Benedict in 1922
Some of the Denver areas best mountain views are found in the older Denver Mountain Parks.  Daniels Park, south of Denver keeps this promise, providing an unlimited view of the entire front range, from north of Longs Peak to the south at Pikes Peak.
Denver Mountain Parks began as an idea in 1909-1910 by John Brisben Walker and Robert W. Speer, Denver's mayor.  The idea not only included parks, but roads to connect them, so everyone could travel to the parks easily.  Over many years it grew into the huge park system we now know, including Winter Park and O'Fallon Park.  The famous landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, was hired in 1912 and he planned the system of mountain roads and parkland of 41,310 acres. Genesee Park was the first to be developed, Red Rocks Park among the last in 1927-1928.  There is much history here, and a few of the great, local auto-tours to enjoy also.
The best picnic is from the picnic table on the edge of the bluff

One of my favorite stone picnic shelters is here, designed by J.J.B. Benedict in 1922.  It's use of native stone and timbers is wonderful.  While they have sealed up the fireplace, it is still nice to sit on the old stones and ponder the view.
The bison (native buffalo) herd here is also pretty neat to watch.  It was transplanted here from the herd in Genesee Park in 1939.  You can see how huge these animals are.
Looking north along the front range to Wyoming.  Bring your telephoto lens for mountain close-ups.

The view goes on forever.  The day we were here there was no wind at all, not even a breeze.  That is unusual, as it is almost always very windy here.
Hiking in the park is available as trails along the bison fence and the views above the bluffs.  It is still very pleasant here, a nice diversion from the fast pace slam of the Interstate.  It is a good place to rest and look out at the geologic wonder of the front range of Colorado.
To get to Daniels Park, go south on I-25 from Denver, exit at #188, Castle Pines.  Travel west on Castle Pines Parkway, turning right onto North Daniels Park Road.  The picnic shelter is on your left at Wildcat Point, bison are in  the fields to your right.

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