You don’t have to be on top of a mountain to experience the important effects of the outdoors, you just have to go outside. The trees, grass, clouds, streets, benches and parks don’t have emotion or anxiety. They simply exist in their space and recognizing that seems to have a profoundly positive impact on stress and happiness for people.
A lot of us live in the city because while we love the outdoors, we also love the energy a city exudes; and our jobs are here. For us we love the night life, trying new bars, restaurants, coffee shops, parks, boutiques and we thrive on social opportunities. Having said that, taking a daily brain break from this lifestyle can be as necessary as sleeping at night. It is easy to write off the idea of taking a hike during the week because we live in a city, however; there is an option, and it’s called Urban Hiking.
What is an urban hike?
An urban hike is just like a mountain hike, but in the city. You can walk, run, skip, dance or move through the hike however you want. It’s your hike and you’re in the outdoors with trees, grass, birds, squirrels, lakes, creeks, buildings, billboards, benches, cars, bicyclists, and life. The goal is to be outside and recognize that all of these inanimate objects exist without judgment. They exist simply because they do. The beauty of an urban hike is there are no rules. You can think about whatever you want, you can meditate, you can listen to music, talk on the phone, laugh, cry, yell (maybe be careful with this one) or sing. It is your hike and your time. Give yourself a brain break and let the outdoors do what it does best. Exist.
Our favorite Urban Hikes around the Denver Metro Area:
East to West with Wash park in the middle
We love Wash Park because growing up it was a staple for summer night picnics and it is close to where we live, however; it has the propensity to get very crowded. So, our favorite Wash Park Urban Hike actually covers both neighborhoods on the east and west side as well as a small jaunt through the actual park. This is ideal because you get to experience the architecture of old Denver, the trees and lakes at the park, an owl if you’re lucky, and be in the outdoors. This hike is more like scrambling, because you can choose lots of different zigs and zags depending on what you want to explore.
Tennessee & Downing to Cheeseman Park through the Country Club Neighborhood:
This was a go to “running” Urban Hike for me before we had kids. The beauty to this this hike is how much you can see on one adventure. The first part of the journey takes you through the north end of Wash Park where you can see Smith Lake, Geese and the old boat house. You will exit the park onto Marion Parkway where a crushed gravel path lined with Oak Trees takes you about six blocks to the Denver Country Club Golf Course. Follow the sidewalk, head north over the Cherry Creek trail and make sure to watch for ducks on the creek. Another block or two and you end up in one of Denver’s oldest most historic neighborhoods. At this juncture you can chose your adventure by exploring different avenues adorned with the turn of the century mansions. Once you have had your fill keep heading north over 6th avenue and you will find yourself in Cheeseman Park. This gem is bordered by the Denver Botanic Gardens to the East, encircled by a crushed gravel path and filled with what seems like a thousand acres of crisp, green Kentucky Blue Grass. At the top of the park you will find a grand structure that looks like it should be in Rome instead of Denver. Through the columns you will see a piece of the Denver skyline and the famous cash register building in our logo. This urban hike is about 6 miles round trip includes lakes, paths, trees, cars, streets, mansions and photographic vistas. It is unforgettable.
We will continue writing about various urban hikes, but please contact us anytime to let us know about your urban adventures. We would love to hear from you. You can email our founder Jeremy Dougherty at JeremyDougherty@MaroonBell.Com
- Jeremy Dougherty