Since Colorado is known for natural beauty and mountain vistas, many flock here to enjoy the outdoors. The state is sprinkled with city, state and national parks, making it a mecca for picnic locations. Most of these areas are conveniently accessible by vehicle, and feature open grassy areas perfect for laying out a blanket. These 14 best picnic spots in Colorado are just waiting for a blanket and basket full of food.
Betasso Preserve near Boulder makes for a quiet picnic spot with views looking east to Denver. Wander around the preserve to find the perfect spot to set your blanket, or reserve the shelter for a fee. Don’t forget to hit up the scenic hiking trails during your stay.
Lookout Mountain Picnic Area is a great place for a family outing. Located in Golden, Lookout Mountain not only has a picnic area but also a visitor’s center and two short loop hikes. The picnic area is nicely shaded by a grove of Ponderosa pines.
Red Rocks is nationally known as a beautiful concert venue. However, when not hosting top-notch music acts, Red Rocks is a great place to adventure and enjoy a picnic. Located in Morrison, which is about 15 miles west of Denver, Red Rocks actually has an area designated for picnicking. Don’t miss the visitor’s center to learn how this miraculous place was created.
The Maroon Bells area is one of the most photographed places in Colorado. Located outside of Aspen, venture to Maroon Lake during the summer. Both Maroon Peaks will be seen from the lake and don’t be shy to lay your blanket and enjoy a nice meal among the wildflowers.
City Park in Denver is one of the oldest and largest public parks in the Mile High City. This massive park is actually over 330 acres so there is sure to be a grassy space for you to picnic. There are two picnic locations in the park complete with picnic tables and grills.
Cuchara Pass makes for a great picnic area during the summer. Venture into the San Isabel National Forest or simply stop along the Highway of Legends Scenic Byway to picnic with great mountain vistas and open fields.
The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs is a tourist and local favorite. Picnic areas are all over the park, which do have tables. The Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center also has a café, where you can enjoy breakfast and lunch.
Enjoy a picnic among 24 acres of flowers and plant life at Denver Botanic Gardens. The Children’s Garden makes for a great family-friendly eating spot. However tables are available at the Mountain Shadows Pavilion and near the Home Harvest Garden.
Sloan’s Lake Park has lots of grassy spots perfect for a picnic. Sloan’s Lake is actually the second largest park in Denver at 177 acres. Check out the three picnic sites located at this large natural area.
Known as “Wash Park” to the locals, Washington Park in Denver covers 165 acres including five picnic areas. The picnic areas at Washington Park do come with grills, so you can enjoy a hot meal at this local spot. The park has two lakes, tennis and basketball courts, playgrounds, a recreation center and both walking and biking trails.
Civic Center Park in Denver is a popular local hangout during the summer months. Lay a blanket in the park’s grassy expanse or near its many gardens. If you don’t feel like bringing your own food, check out Denver’s hottest food trucks that gather around Civic Center Park every Tuesday and Thursday during the summer.
Head to Estes Park to visit one of Colorado’s national parks, Rocky Mountain National Park. There are a number of picnic areas located in the park, whether you are looking for simply a picnic table or group accommodations. Do keep in mind that group picnic areas in Rocky Mountain National Park may require a fee and reservation.
Piney River Ranch outside of Vail is a great spot to eat, fish and enjoy incredible mountain views. Piney River Ranch is actually the highest lake in Colorado accessible by vehicle. Therefore it is a popular destination for hikers, horseback riders and fishermen.
Located in Vail, the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens has a pavilion full of picnic tables and even a grill. This garden has the highest altitude of any botanical garden in the world. It is truly a magical place during the summer months. Picnickers are even welcome to bring their own horseshoes for the horseshoe pit located on the grounds.