DU Field Notes: Things We Love About Colorado
In this series, the DU Newsroom introduces readers to the world outside campus by exploring Denver and the near beyond.
Whether you are from Colorado or just getting ready to pack up your bags to move to the Centennial State, there are countless great things about getting to call Colorado home. Just minutes from downtown Denver, the University of Denver is just a short drive from the best that this beautiful state has to offer. Here are a few of our favorite things about calling Colorado home.
The Great Outdoors
With 300-plus days of sunshine each year, Colorado beckons its nature lovers with thousands of miles of trails. Whether it’s biking the extensive trail system that connects the entire city of Denver, hiking up to 14,000 feet or enjoying all the open space Colorado has to offer, there are plenty of places to connect with nature. Check out the top 10 trails in Colorado according to All Trails.
Denver is home to a vibrant art scene with galleries, museums, public art and buildings that double as canvases. One of the most recognizable landmarks in downtown Denver is a 40-foot blue bear peeking into the Colorado Convention Center. This famous ursine tourist was created by the late Lawrence Argent, a longtime DU art professor with public art installations all over the world. Just a few minutes away, the Art District on Santa Fe offers the largest concentration of art galleries in Colorado with more than 30 options. And keep your eyes open for the works of Austin Zucchini Fowler, coach of DU’s Hilltoppers club swimming team and a prolific muralist who created several works this summer to honor health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
You won’t have to look too far to see wildlife in Colorado. On a typical drive or hike through the mountains, you may well see bighorn sheep, bear, elk or moose. Heading from campus to the airport? Make a pitstop at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge and drive through the 11-mile loop to see bison, bear and more. At the Wild Animal Sanctuaryjust an hour from DU, you can see lions, jaguars, wolves and other animals rescued from illegal or abusive situations. It’s home to nearly 40 tigers formerly owned by Joe Exotic, the “Tiger King” of Netflix fame.
Diverse Mix of National Parks
Colorado is home to four national parks with drastically different landscape. Rocky Mountain National Park is the most visited with more than 350 miles of hiking trails, nearly 150 lakes and the chance to spot moose and elk. A trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park feels like you’ve traveled more than just a few hours away with its massive, rolling sand dunes. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park boasts dramatic canyons and you can walk along some of the steepest cliffs in North America. Mesa Verde National Park was established to preserve Pueblo heritage and has some of the best-preserved archaeological sites in the United States.
If you’re a beer fan, you’re in luck. Colorado ranks in second place for most craft breweries in the United States. It’s home to around 425 different breweries that produce more than 1.5 million barrels of craft beer each year. Several University of Denver alumni are in Denver’s craft beer scene. Check out alumni-owned breweries and restaurants on the Crimson & Gold Trail.
The Best Slopes
Colorado is known as one of the country’s best destinations for skiing. Colorado’s mountain towns dominate Forbes’ list of North America’s top 10 ski resorts. Most of the state’s iconic slopes are just a two-hour drive from DU, making it easy to hit the slopes in the morning and be back to the city for dinner plans.
Still need some convincing? Check out why “Colorado is the Most Magical State in America.”