100 Years of Denver Mountain Parks

The Denver Mountain Parks are a natural, scenic, and historic destination in the foothills west of Denver. Explore the Mountain Parks System, from its beginnings in 1910 to today, through our interactive timeline.

Denver's Mountain Parks system—more than 14,000 acres of scenic "pleasure ground in the mountains" just west of Denver, Colorado, USA—awaits your exploration! Find hiking, picnicking, sightseeing, and historic lodges and museums in the Rocky Mountains and foothills. From grasslands to glaciers, bison to Buffalo Bill—you'll discover great mountain destinations and experiences for the whole family within an hour of Denver. Visit MountainParksFoundation.org for more information.

1911-06-14 07:06:12

First Flag Day

The Peace Pipe Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution celebrates its first flagraising on Genesee Mountain.

1912-05-21 00:00:00

By a vote of the people

A one-half mill levy property tax was passed "by a big majority" of Denver voters to initiate a system of Mountain Parks in the foothills to the west.

1912-07-17 00:00:00

Planning the new parks

F.L. Olmsted Jr. hired to assess potential parklands, submits initial report July 17th

1913-04-01 18:14:31

Governor signs Mountain Parks bill

Before Denver could own and manage land outside its city limits, a new law had to be passed by the State Legislature.

1913-08-27 22:58:45

Tour and Dedication

The parks were officially opened in a ceremony at Genesee Park attended by park superintendents from around the country. After touring from Lookout Mountain to Genesee Park, they returned to Denver via Bear Creek Canyon and Morrison.

1914-01-06 00:00:00

Recommended acquisitions

Olmsted's final report and map listed more than 41,000 acres he recommended Denver acquire, creating a chain of parklands.

1914-08-24 16:30:50

Congressional Act Enables Parks

Act of Congress makes 7,047 acres of federal public land available to Denver.

1914-09-15 19:12:38

Mountain Parks Advisory Commission Formed

Commissioner of Property Otto Thum asks Joint Committee of the Commercial Bodies to act as Mountain Parks Advisory Commission.

1914-11-01 18:14:31

City holds dedication

City officials held an "auspicious celebration" on Genesee Mountain, raising state and national flags to dedicate the Mountain Parks.

1914-12-11 19:12:38

Mill Levy Funds immediately in contention

City Commissioners refuse to make funds from mill levy available, instead levying one-quarter of the amount. Advisory Committee files suit.

1916-08-14 18:14:31

Lookout Mountain Park

Lookout Mountain Park was deeded to the City of Denver by the Lookout Mountain Park Development Co.

1917-05-31 23:51:36

MacFarland Gateways built

Automobile dealer Findlay MacFarland donates stone pillars built at the Lariat Trail and Morrison entrances to DMP.

1917-07-08 00:00:00

Chief Hosa (Genesee) Shelter

The shelter was designed by J.J.B. Benedict and completed for the 1917 season.

1919-05-31 23:51:36

Dedisse Park acquired

Enter story info here

1920-02-28 03:13:35

No more billboards

The Colorado Mountain club has started a campaign for the elimination of advertising signs thru-out the Denver Mountain Park system.

1920-12-31 02:45:43

Daniels Park donated

The first 40 acres of Daniels Park was donated by Charles Willcox and Florence Martin in 1920. The shelter, designed by Jacques Benedict, was built the following year.

1921-08-15 23:51:36

Echo Lake Park acquired

Enter story info here

1922-03-27 18:14:31

New parks from Forest Service

US deeds 509.14 acres to Denver

1924-10-28 18:14:31

More parks from Forest Service

US deeds additional 1906.59 acres to Denver

1926-04-29 04:13:30

Site of Evergreen Dam acquired

With Dedisse Park already owned by Denver, the site for the dam was purchased for $10.

1926-05-28 18:14:31

Evergreen Golf Course acquired

Troutdale Hotel & Resort deeds 17.87 acres to be used as golf course.

1926-07-01 10:19:48

More Forest Service lands

Additional lands acquired from Forest Service include Bergen Peak, Berrian Mtn, Flying J, Hicks Mtn, Mt Judge, Pence Mtn, Snyder Mtn, West Jefferson School, and Yegge Peak.

1928-04-29 04:13:30

Red Rocks Park acquired

The purchase of Red Rocks Park's 640 acres was completed after litigation.

1931-03-21 00:00:00

First History of Mountain Parks

Warwick Downing writes history of the early years of the system.

1931-04-29 04:13:30

Indian Concession House built

This Pueblo Revival structure in Red Rocks Park was designed by Rosche and built by the City in 1931.

1931-06-01 02:17:57

First nature trail in Colorado

Trail constructed along Chimney Gulch and Beaver Brook Trails

1935-04-29 04:13:30

Katherine Craig Park acquired

This 56-acre park near Genesee was donated by former school superintendent Katherine Craig.

1935-06-30 12:38:16

Civilian Conservation Corps at Morrison

Camp SP-13-C occupied by Co. 1848, a junior company from Durango, Colorado.

1936-05-09 12:38:16

Co. 1848 begins work on Amphitheatre

All other camp projects suspended to work on building of the amphitheatre in the Park of the Red Rocks.

1937-03-30 02:45:43

Daniels Park expanded

An additional donation of 960 acres by Florence Martin enlarged the park to its final size.

1937-05-09 02:17:57

Alameda Parkway built

Alameda Parkway was extended to become a new gateway to Red Rocks Park.

1937-05-15 10:31:45

CCC Company 1860 at Morrison

Veterans Company 1860 occupied Camp SP-13-C at Morrison.

1938-09-20 05:56:24

O'Fallon Park acquired

Martin J. O'Fallon donates 860 acres in Bear Creek Canyon for parkland.

1939-05-09 02:17:57

Newton Park donated

The 425-acre property along Foxton Road was donated by Quigg Newton.

1941-06-15 18:14:31

Red Rocks Amphitheatre dedicated

Rotarians hold formal opening of Red Rocks Amphitheatre during their international convention.

1943-01-21 23:12:00

CCC Camps turned over to Denver

On this date the War Dept. officially turned Camps SP-13 and SP-14 over to Denver.

1947-04-06 18:14:31

First Easter Sunrise Service at Red Rocks

This event launched an annual tradition, but was complicated by parking issues when some 15,000 people attended.

1948-11-30 07:51:00

Manual of Operations

DMP Superintendent Albert Stromberg develops manual describing personnel, procedures, table of parks

1955-05-17 00:00:00

Parks Department created

City Charter amended to prevent sale of designated park property without approval of Denver voters.

1965-03-25 01:55:53

Park Service designates Summit Lake

Summit Lake Park was designated as a National Natural Landmark because of its rare arctic/alpine plant communities.

1965-12-01 07:51:00

Boy Scouts leave Katherine Craig

Pat Gallavan writes memo about Katherine Craig Park; describes overview and proposed uses after Boy Scouts. (Exact date uncertain.)

1977-06-15 12:58:38

Agreement creates Tall Bull Memorial Grounds

In June, a 70-acre parcel in Daniels Park is designated and managed for the use of the Tall Bull Council. A pow-wow is held there annually.

1978-06-30 18:42:21

CCC Alumni return to Morrison camp

A CCC alumni group, Mile High Chapter 7, begins meeting at the Morrison camp during the summer months. They also help restore the run-down buildings.

1990-05-18 12:58:38

Red Rocks Park & Mt. Morrison CCC Camp receive historic status

The first "historic district" in the Mountain Parks was designated to the National Register of Historic Places on this date.

1990-11-15 12:58:38

Eight more parks designated to NRHP

In Nov-Dec, Lookout Mtn, Colorow Pt., Genesee, Bergen, Dedisse, Corwina, O'Fallon, and Pence Parks were listed on the National Register, along with the Lariat Trail and Bear Creek Scenic Mountain Drives.

1995-02-24 02:43:23

Four more parks listed on NRHP

Echo Lake, Summit Lake, Fillius, and Little Parks were added to the National Register of Historic Places.

1995-06-30 18:42:21

Daniels, Starbuck, Katherine Craig receive NRHP listing

These final parks were added to the National Register, bringing the total parks designated to 16 of the 22 developed Mountain Parks.

1997-01-01 05:10:47

Forest Service implements Mount Evans fees

Fees help US Forest Service protect natural resources in Mount Evans area.

2003-04-16 16:48:41

City adopts "Game Plan"

Parks & Rec's strategic plan called for protecting historic structures and for "revitalizing" the Mountain Parks.

2003-05-15 06:04:12

Completion of Red Rocks Visitor Center

The grand opening of the new $26-million Red Rocks Visitor Center was celebrated on this date.

100 Years of Denver Mountain Parks

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