United States

Denver, CO: Central

Our Guide to Running in the Downtown Denver Area. See Also Our Guides to Denver: Suburbs, Boulder, & Summit County

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At the foothills of the Rockies, the ‘Mile-High City’ is graced by 300 sunny days a year. there’s a great variety of running in Denver. Centrally located, near downtown, there’s the iconic Cherry Creek Path and Platte River trails. East of downtown, we’ve stitched together numerous routes involving City Park, Cheesman Park, and Washington Park and some lovely adjacent residential neighborhoods. Other great places to run in Denver are the Highland area (Sloane Lake, historic neighborhoods), and numerous longer paths and gentler trail running options west of town. We’ve also included some routes in popular suburbs such as Englewood and out near the Airport. As you get into the foothills west of town, there are some great opportunities for trail and hill running, before things get really serious in the mountains.

Runners should be aware of Denver’s combination of altitude and heat. Denver has an improving public transport system (the RTD), consisting of buses and a light rail system. However, the city’s sprawl is vast and you’ll need a car once you get outside central Denver.

Editor's Picks

Some of our favorite runs in Denver, CO: Central

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  • Iconic Routes
  • Weather & Climate
  • Where To Stay
  • Stores & Group Runs
  • Events

Denver’s weather is generally dry, windy, and sunny. There are greater extremes between day and night than many other cities. Summers are hot but not oppressive, with frequent afternoon thunderstorms. In winter, it’s very cold at night but warms up during the day. It can snow but it doesn’t usually stick around that long. It can be quite windy downtown. The city itself is fairly flat but gets hilly to the west.denver-climate

Denver is a sprawling city, particularly if one includes the vast suburbs and the ridiculous distance to the airport. But many of city’s running highlights are all within the downtown area, in the area south of I-70 and north of 1st Ave., east of I-25, and west of Colorado Blvd. There are a lot of hotel options downtown and near the convention center, with good access to the Cherry Creek and South Platte River Trails. City Park and Cheesman Park are about 2.5 miles from downtown. Sloan Lake is 3 miles west.denver-stay

Running Stores

Surprisingly, there’s not much in the way of running stores right downtown. There are outlets of some major chains — REI is probably your best bet. There are clusters of running stores in the Cherry Creek Mall area and south of Cherry Creek State Park. Also in other major suburban locations: Aurora, Lakewood, etc.

Downtown
REI Store. Not exactly a running store — but, it’s REI and the location, near Confluence Park, can’t be beat.

Tribella Women’s Multisport. A women-centric store geared toward triathletes…so they have running stuff. Beautiful store. Near Cherry Creek Trail in Capitol/Art Museum area.

Runners Roost. Not really downtown, but 2.5 miles from Washington Park. Group Runs Wednesday 6pm. Other locations in Quebec Square, Lakewood, and Aurora.

Cherry Creek Mall 
Boulder Running Company. Good location in mall area near Cherry Creek Trail, south of downtown. Also stores in Littleton and Boulder.

Westminster

Road Runner Sports. Iconic family owned running store to the north of Denver. Second location in Lone Tree. 

South
Just south of Cherry Creek State Park in the Aurora area, there are Road Runner SportsRunners’ Roost (second location in Quebec Square), and Boulder Running Company stores.

Run Clubs/Group Runs

Rocky Mountain Road Runners. The major run club in the Denver area. Very comprehensive site with photos or running areas in Denver. Multiple events each week, track workouts, etc.

City Running Tours. Great themed group runs, meeting at locations downtown.

Get the guide to the best races in this area from our friends at RaceRaves! You can sort by highest rating, date (i.e. ‘upcoming’), or race name.

Browse RaceRaves in Denver, CO: Central

Comprehensive race calendar kept by Rocky Mountain Runners. CALENDAR

Another good calendar kept by the folks at Run Colorado. CALENDAR

Rock N Roll Half Marathon. October. Also 10k and 5k events.

Colfax Marathon. Two Days. Seven Races. Named as one of Runner’s World’s 10 Races to Run.

Runnin’ of the Green Lucky 7-K (March). St. Patrick’s Day blowout pulls in 3,000 runners for a 7-K through “LoDo,” Denver’s trendy lower downtown area.

Cherry Creek Sneak (April). Billed as “the country’s largest 5-mile race”: 13,000 runnsers. Also a “Sneak Shortcut 5-K.” Cool T-shirt features ambulatory cherry bombs, and the postrace party is nonpareil (cherrycreeksneak.com).

Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half-Marathon (Aug). One of Running World’s s 25 top half-marathons. 40 miles west of Denver. Good opportunity to experience hills.

Mile High City Marathon (Sept). Newer race starts at the state Capitol, winds through all three major city parks (Washington, City, and Cheesman), and finishes with a run up the 16th Street pedestrian mall; 5-K and half-marathon options.

Boulder BOULDER. December. One of the country’s largest 10k races. Famous. Boulder is an hour drive from Denver and this race (and the running in Boulder) is worth the trip.

Platte River Half Marathon. April. Also a great relay race