Do you have a fearless kid who can’t seem to get enough of adventure? This guide was made with your little thrill-seeker in mind, take a look at our ultimate guide to adventurous kid activities in Denver.
Skiing & Snowboarding
What kind of list would this be if we didn’t include skiing and boarding? We live in a state that is home to some of the finest skiing anywhere in the world, including lots of options within an easy drive from Denver (weather permitting!). Check out some of the closest options below if you’re looking to teach your kid how to ski or ride. It’s best to get them started early, you’d be shocked at how quickly kids go from complete beginners to total shredders! Keep in mind, the minimum age for lessons is usually 3-4 years old, and potty training is always required. Full-day lessons also include lunch!
Distance from Denver: 1.5 hours
Arapahoe Basin is a Colorado favorite and is home to the longest ski-season in Colorado! Usually opening in November, A-Basin can stay open as late as July. If you’re looking to get away from the resort-style crowds of many of the big Colorado ski areas, A-Basin is a great mountain to hit. They offer a variety of ski lessons for people of all ages, including their Flex 4 Discount Pack that can be used by 4 different people of any age and include lift passes.
Distance from Denver: 1 hour
Loveland is the closest ski area to Denver and hosts 1,800 acres of terrain and plenty of snowfall every year. The Loveland Valley is a separate base area that is great for beginners, hosting wide open & easy terrain and ski school lessons. They offer both private and group lessons for kids and adults of all ages!
Distance from Denver: 1.5 hours
One of the most popular resorts in Colorado, Keystone offers world-class skiing as well as a beautiful resort and base area that make it a very popular option for tourists coming from out of state. That being said, the massive size of this mountain assures that there is always plenty of room on the slopes. Their “little rippers” ski and ride lessons are top-notch and assure a fun & educational day for kids. Classes are separated into different age groups (3-4, 4-6, 7-14) to assure the best learning experience. They also offer private lessons and 4-person semi-private lessons for a higher rate.
Distance from Denver: 1.5 hours
Voted the #1 ski resort in North America by USA Today, Winter Park is another highly-popular destination resort within close proximity to Denver. They host over 3,000 acres of amazing terrain, as well as a fantastic resort area that offers world-class dining and shopping as well as a multitude of fun events for the whole family. Winter Park offers private and group kids lessons, as well as a 4-week program where your kid can build friendships and really sharpen their ski or ride skills!
Distance from Denver: 1.5 hours
Eldora is a great choice for family skiing near Denver, and you get to avoid the infamous 1-70 skier traffic! Eldora is about an hour and a half from Denver, but only 25 minutes and roughly 20 miles from Boulder. Nearest lodging is located in Nederland a few miles away, making this mountain primarily a day-trip area. Kids can enjoy all day lessons here while parents can enjoy hitting the slopes.
Distance from Denver: 1 hour
This small but mighty mountain is the closest ski area to Denver, and by far the cheapest you’ll find in all of Colorado. The terrain is not as intense as what you’ll find deeper in the mountains, making this a great resort to learn. Echo Mountain does not offer private or group lessons, but if you’re already an experienced skier or rider, this is the best and cheapest option to teach your kids yourself. At the time of writing this guide, adults can purchase a foot pass for only $20 which can allow you to access the slope to give your kid lessons. Children 5 and under access the mountain for free!
Indoor Lessons in Denver
Looking for a cheaper and easier option to learn how to ski or ride? Denver is home to two state-of-the-art facilities that can teach kids and adults alike how to ski and ride before they ever touch the slopes. Ski lessons can be expensive when hitting the resorts. We love these methods of learning so your kids can waste no time having fun on the mountains this winter.
Located in Centennial, this facility offers various lessons on their treadmill-like slopes that gives you a realistic ski or ride experience that is no different than hitting the mountains. The added advantage of the treadmill system is the continuous motion it provides. No wasting time getting on the magic carpet or walking back up the slope like at a resort!
Shredder Ski is the only place where you can bring a kid under 3 years old to learn how to ski. They welcome kids as young as 10 months to learn how to ski in a fun and safe environment. Kids up to the age of 10 can learn to ski and ride here in classes that range from 45 minutes to an hour. Shredder has locations in Lafayette, Wheat Ridge, Boulder and Frederick!
Since the inception of the sport, Colorado has always been on the forefront of rock climbing innovation. Some of the best-quality routes anywhere in the country are found in our state, and many professional climbers live right here in Denver and surrounding cities. The Denver area hosts many indoor climbing gyms (including the largest one in the entire country) that host a variety of lessons and kid-friendly options. If you have a little monkey who climbs on everything they see, a trip to the rock climbing gym might just instill a life-long passion for climbing in them. Rock gyms are also great for birthday parties!
Earth Treks offers two locations in Colorado, Golden & Englewood. Their Englewood location is famous for being the single largest climbing gym in the entire United States! Both locations offer a variety of kid-friendly programs including family intro classes, day care options, and after school programs for various age groups. They also have large areas of the gym specifically for kids only. Earth Treks also offers select outdoor classes for the ultimate rock climbing experience! One of the many cool options you can find in the guide to adventurous kid activities in Denver.
Evo is a huge gym with a family-friendly vibe. They offer climbing routes for people of all ages, and sizable kids-only areas. They also offer fantastic lessons for kids as young as 2 years old as well as childcare services. Evo also hosts a variety of indoor & outdoor climbing clinics and summer climbing camps!
Übergrippen is located in East Denver and offers 12,000 square feet of climbing walls with routes that range from total beginners to world-class climbing level. Their Alcove family-friendly area features 4 auto-belay systems, 15 lanes of top-rope climbing and a kids boulder area with a slide! They offer youth camps, lessons and after school programs for kids of all ages. One of the many cool options you can find in the guide to adventurous kid activities in Denver.
Movement Climbing + Fitness offers two locations in Denver in the neighborhoods of Rino and Baker as well as a location in Boulder. They are a family-friendly facility that offers a variety of youth camps + programs, along with lessons and daycare for kids of all ages. Their Team Movement program uses climbing as a method of youth development that inspire kids to work hard to achieve their personal goals.
One of the most thrilling activities you can have indoors! Indoor skydiving is a relatively-new experience that offers guests the thrills of skydiving without the hassles, risk and guts it takes to jump out of a plane. Located in Lone Tree, iFly is Colorado’s only indoor skydiving destination. Guests ages 3 and up can experience the wonders of flying in a safe and fun atmosphere. iFly is also a great spot for small-birthday parties and other special events! Flight experiences start as low as $59.95 for two flights total.
Water & Adventure Parks
A day at the theme park is great for the whole family, as there is truly something for everyone to enjoy. Adventurous kids can truly put their fearlessness to the test on a high-speed roller coaster or water ride, while more mellow ones can have fun on less speedy attractions. Denver is home to some fantastic parks that young thrill seekers will love!
This unique and classic park has been open since 1890! Located in Downtown Denver, this park is open from April to November and offers thrills for visitors of all ages. This park offers thrill rides, family rides, kid rides, and a water park with a variety of water slides and attractions. They also offer a variety of entertainment including live shows, concerts, “dive-in” movies in their wavepool, and a Fright Fest in October! One of the many cool options you can find in the guide to adventurous kid activities in Denver.
Water World is only about 15 minutes from downtown Denver and highly regarded as one of the best and largest water parks in the country! They host over 46 features that range from relaxed lazy rivers to extreme body slides that are sure to satisfy even the biggest of thrill-seekers. Water world is generally open from late May to early September, making it the perfect Denver summer attraction.
Located on a beautiful lake in Denver, this amusement park has been open for over 100 years! A great place for easy-going rides and family outings, this park also hosts some thrill rides for the adventurous ones! Their Cyclone Coaster is a high-speed experience that is sure to excite all who ride. They also have a Loop-O-Plane that will spin you upside down and a Zoom Drop Tower which will bring you up high for great views before plummeting straight down towards the ground!
Most all adventurous spirits have their roots set in nature and exploration, and we are very lucky to be living in quite possibly the best state in the country for hiking, camping, and everything outdoors. A guide featuring all of the great hiking spots that are close to Denver would be big enough to fill an entire book (in fact, there are many books on this subject exactly). We tried to narrow it down to a few of our favorite hikes that are sure to excite and challenge kids and adults of all ages.
Special shoutout to hikingproject.com where we pulled much of this info from, a great resource for finding awesome hikes!
Red Rocks Trading Post Loop
The Trading Post Trail at Red Rocks Park in Morrison is a very popular loop trail that is rated as Easy and perfect for young kids and families alike. This is a great trail to get beautiful views of the mountains and the whole city of Denver as well. Exploring the beautiful and unique red rock formations will be sure to inspire all who visit. Make sure to visit the Red Rocks Amphitheater after your hike, you can even climb the notoriously steep seats for an extra workout!
Length: 1.6 Miles
Elevation Gain: ~320 feet
Mount Galbraith Loop via Cedar Gulch Trail
If you’re looking for a bit more of a challenge, one of our favorite moderate hikes near Denver is located in neighboring Golden and is perfect for kids who get bored on easy trails. With an elevation gain of over 900 feet you will surely get a workout in, but at only 4 miles as a loop trail this is a relatively short moderate hike. You will find breathtaking mountain views, wildflowers, wildlife (watch for rattlesnakes!) and cool rock formations on this awesome trail! One of the many cool options you can find in the guide to adventurous kid activities in Denver.
Length: ~ 4 Miles
Elevation Gain: ~900 feet
Mount Bierstadt Summit Trail (14er!)
For the ultimate adventure, bag one of Colorado’s most popular 14ers that is also one of the closest to Denver! A 14er is a mountain that is over 14,000 feet in elevation, and Bierstadt makes the cut standing at 14,065 feet above sea level. Don’t let the height scare you too much. Although this is rated as hard, it is one of the easiest 14ers to climb, offering very well-kept trails and relatively easy elevation gain. Beginner hikers and kids alike can summit this mountain with some effort. Make sure you bring plenty of water (2+ liters per person) along with rain gear and sunscreen. The views from the summit of this mountain are as breathtaking as they are rewarding!
Location: Guanella Pass (near Keystone)
Length: 7.2 Miles
Elevation Gain: ~2,500 feet