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22 June 2003

Colorado Capitol Walk Denver, Colorado

By Mike Green -


The Rocky Mountain Wanderers have the honor of being the host walking club for the 2003 AVA Convention, in historic downtown Denver, Colorado, on Sunday June 22, 2003.Founded in 1859 as a gold mining camp, Denver is one of America’s youngest cities - and one of the most exciting. Today, this booming metropolis has a population of 2.4 million and is the largest city in a 600-mile radius. The Mile High City entertains over 8.8 million visitors a year with people coming to enjoy the city's outstanding cultural attractions, museums, shopping, dining and night life. Denver is a walking city and the best way to appreciate the architecture, parks and history of the downtown area is on foot. Walk number three, the Downtown Denver Capitol Convention Walk certainly fits the bill.

The 10-km and 5-km trails start at the Metropolitan State College campus and continue on cement and paved trails through downtown Denver. Some unevenness of curb heights and the numerous stairs encountered on the Millennium Bridge (although, an elevator is available to the right of the stairs) earn both walk distances a 1+ rating.

During this varied walk you will see the city’s major sports facilities such as Coors field and the Pepsi Center as you wander along Cherry Creek, the Platte River, and Confluence Park, where in 1858 Denver's first gold was discovered. Today the park at the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek is an integral part of the city's bike path network. Confluence Park offers a manmade white water kayak chute, an operating trolley and access to the nearby attractions including Six Flags Elitch Gardens, and the Denver Children’s Museum. Next you will walk through Larimer Square, Denver’s oldest street, featuring a Victorian block of shops and cafes, and the carefully restored gateway to the Historic Lower Downtown District. Also known as LoDo, its 20 blocks of hundred-year-old warehouses and buildings have been converted into antique stores, galleries, clubs, restaurants, stores and offices. Entering the 16th Street mall, in the heart of the city, walkers will find a mile long pedestrian promenade lined with trees, cafes, street performers and cart vendors. Denver's 16th Street Mall is closed to traffic as buses transport people along the mall for free. At the Colorado State Capitol Building, walkers will stand a mile high on the 15th step on the west side. This step is exactly 5,280 feet (1,609 m) -- one mile -- above sea level. Built in 1908, Colorado’s State Capitol Building is best known for its brilliant dome, which is covered with 200 ounces of 24K gold leaf. Legend has it that specks of gold used to accumulate at the base of the downspouts after a good rainstorm. The really priceless material however, is the Colorado onyx that was used inside as wainscoting. The entire world’s supply of this unusual rose-colored stone was used in the building, and no more has ever been found. After standing on the steps of the Capitol, the route continues past colorful and historic buildings then through our performing arts complex before returning to the start/finish area. The walk will give you a great taste of the city and is almost entirely flat and easy to walk. Daytime temperatures can become quite warm in mid-June, and with evening temperatures cooling rapidly after sunset, it’s always wise to layer your clothing for high altitude walks. Tennis (athletic) shoes will suffice, sunscreen, hats and water are a must.

Denver, the Rocky Mountain Wanderers, and Rambling the Rockies look forward with great anticipation to the 2003 AVA convention and meeting fellow volkssporters from around the world. We hope to see you at the convention.