Colorado is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. The state, including Denver, is particularly well known for its beautiful sunrise and sunset locations, with the sun kissing the mountains.
Why does Colorado have such beautiful sunrises and sunsets? It has to do with the latitude, the high clouds, and the relative lack of pollution…all the things that make Colorado so beautiful. Going out to view the sunset or sunrise from a special place is great for nature lovers, hopeless romantics, and those who want to get good pictures of the sky at its best.
So, what are the best locations in and around Denver to watch the sunset or sunrise? Read on to find out!
Best Sunset Locations in Denver
Here are our favorite locations to watch the sunset:
- City Park. From City Park, the sun descends over the mountains and Denver’s skyline, turning the sky dark blue, orange, and red. It’s also easy to get to almost everywhere in Denver due to its accessible public transportation. It is, of course, a great place for a picnic or a walk around the lake.
- Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. It’s over by the airport, and many people forget it exists, but it’s open from sunrise to sunset seven days a week. This does mean you’ll have to leave right after the sun sets, but you can make a day of it and see local wildlife…potentially including bison (don’t get too close). It’s also free to visit and has a beautiful view of the city in the desert.
- 54thirty Rooftop. If you prefer to view your sunset comfortably with a glass in hand, the 54thirty Rooftop bar is the highest in the city, on top of the Le Meridien Hotel. Enjoy a cozy fire pit and a premium cocktail. Maybe not for nature lovers, but it is worth considering.
- North Table Mountain. If you’re willing to go a bit further, drive up to Golden and then take the moderate 1.5-mile hike to the top of the mountain. Watch for wildlife as you go. It would help if you were reasonably fit, but it’s worth it.
Best Sunrise Locations
To get a good sunrise, you need a clear view to the east, but this is just as easy to find. Our special spots include:
- Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater. Watch the sunrise over the city and peek over the mountains. You can enjoy a peaceful walk in the dim light before the sun comes up. Just double-check…they sometimes have early morning events here.
- Barr Lake State Park. Head out to Brighton to appreciate the wide, open prairie landscape. Because it’s more open and flat, the sun rises a little earlier here, and you can also watch the wildlife wake up to start their day. And if you want to make more of a trip of it, there are great campgrounds here.
- South Table Mountain Park. North Table Mountain for sunset, South for sunrise. The park opens an hour before sunrise, and you can walk the 40-minute Fossil Trail to get to the top. It’s an easy route, and then you can enjoy the park for a while.
- Sloan’s Lake. If you don’t want to go too far, Sloan’s Lake is in northwest Denver, and easy to get to from downtown. Settle down on a bench by the lake and enjoy the views of the city and the rising sun as it sheds light on the shimmering water.
Insider Tips for Denver Sunrise and Sunset Viewing
Here are our tips for the best Denver sunrise and sunset viewing experience:
- Check when your chosen location opens and closes so you don’t end up waiting or having to hustle out too fast.
- Take a jacket or a blanket. Even in the summer, it can get cold right before the sun comes up.
- Check weather conditions. Light clouds and no rain give optimum viewing.
- Make sure to charge your phone and/or take a flashlight in case you find it too dark to get to your preferred spot.
- Bring snacks for sunset or a light breakfast for sunrise.
- If you have a camera, bring it. Or use your phone to capture beautiful sunset and sunrise images.
Do you have any more recommendations? I’d love to hear them! And please share comments about your favorite locations or your own Denver sunrise and sunset pictures!