A Denver vacation just might be your thing if you'd like to see some of what Denver has to offer, but you also want to go hiking.
Denver is known as the "Mile High City", and even though it's our biggest city, the mountains are still within easy reach and we have wonderful views of them.
Speaking of the mountains, you might be interested in knowing about some of the animals that live up there. Colorado animals that you might see include elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and marmots, among others. Other animals that live in Colorado but that you are less likely to see include mountain lions, black bears, moose, and bobcats.
One animal that used to roam freely in Colorado (but doesn't anymore) is the American bison. Still, if you'd like to see these big animals during your Denver vacation, there's a place just outside Denver where you can see them. The "place" is called Genesee Park, and to get there, follow I-70 west to exit 254. There's an overlook there from which you will be able to watch the bison.
Then, if that makes you think of Buffalo Bill, you can go visit his grave and the museum that goes along with it. Just hop back onto I-70 and follow it east, get off at exit 256, then follow the signs for Buffalo Bill's Grave.
Before heading to the mountains, a great first place to spend a part of your vacation is the Denver Zoo. It is home to over 4000 animals, and among them are some of the wildlife that you might see in the Colorado mountains. You can learn about Colorado animals like bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, and mountain lions, among others. The bighorn sheep is actually our Colorado state animal.
Another popular Denver attraction is the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. This is another place where you can learn about the wildlife of Colorado, and many other things too. One exhibit that I like is called "Expedition Health". There, you can learn about SuperFoods, participate in a real research project about the genetics of taste, and experience a hike up a 14,000 foot peak, among other things.
If you'd like to take a fun day trip into the mountains, but aren't ready to do any hiking yet, you could spend a day of your Denver vacation driving the Mount Evans Scenic Byway. It will take you up to over 14,000 feet and you'll see mountain scenery, ancient bristlecone pines, and you might see mountain goats and bighorn sheep.
How about a Colorado weekend getaway of hiking? That page will give you some ideas for where you can go hiking if you only have a weekend.
Now, if you've done some or all of those things, and you're ready to "do" some Denver hiking trails, they are definitely out there waiting for you. I've started a page about Denver hiking trails in some of the Denver mountain parks that will also include hiking trails that are within easy reach of the Denver area. My own personal opinion is that hiking is the best way to spend your Denver vacation. :-)