Home » Local Events » Celebrate the Summer Solstice in Denver with These Events & Outdoor Adventures
Summer Solstice in Denver
Local Events

Celebrate the Summer Solstice in Denver with These Events & Outdoor Adventures

The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year, falling on June 20th, 2024. The earth will be at its maximum tilt towards the sun around 3:00 PM in Denver. From a daylight perspective, there are nearly 6 additional hours of sunlight compared to the December solstice! Here are a multitude of ways to kick off the start of the astronomical summer and enjoy the extra sunshine in Denver.

Enjoy the Summer Solstice with These Denver Events! 

From shopping local at the street fair and enjoying an afternoon at the planetarium, to a summer solstice gala dedicated to fighting against food insecurity — these Denver area events are a great way to mark the annual occasion.

Denver Street Fairs (Summer Solstice)

Where? 1005 Galapago Street

This year’s Denver Street Fairs are set to be held on June 22nd and 23rd from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM on Saturday and 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Sunday. Admission, as always, is free! This annual showcase presents 90 local artisans, crafters, and even culinary aficionados from all across the state. Guests can enjoy a variety of food and beverages, as well as peruse a range of apparel and handcrafted goods. Best of all — dogs are welcome! So bring your furry friend on a leash and enjoy free water, delicious food, and a great time spent soaking in the summer solstice! Only handmade vendors can participate in this event, so you’ll know that you’re getting a one-of-a-kind creation when you shop locally at the fair.

PRO Tip: The street fair shuts down two blocks of 10th and Santa Fe, right in the heart of Denver’s Art District. There will be plenty of free parking lots and ample street parking available.

Summer Solstice Gala: From Action to Nourishment

Where? 400 Santa Fe Drive

On June 20th, the annual Summer Solstice Gala will be held at the Space Gallery in Santa Fe from 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM. Denver Food Rescue is celebrating a major milestone this year, as it’s the 10th anniversary of this gala. This decade-long commitment to fighting against food insecurity and raising awareness of environmental sustainability has reduced food waste and promoted sustainable practices within the city. The gala will feature craft drinks from Ratio Beerworks, Tito’s Vodka, and Odell’s Brewing and culinary treats from Konjo Ethiopian Cuisine. The keynote speaker for the 2024 gala will be Adrian Miller — who is an author, historian, and Denver resident!

PRO Tip: In celebration of the summer solstice, this gala provides the unique opportunity to engage with hundreds of community members, including leaders in the fields of health equity, climate action, and social justice. Early bird tickets are priced at $75 and will be increased to $125 through June 20th.

Colorado Skies: The Summer Solstice

Where? 2414 Regent Drive

University of Colorado in Boulder’s Fiske Planetarium is hosting a Summer Solstice talk on Colorado Skies on June 16th and June 22nd at 2:30 PM. Speakers will discuss the longest day of the year, as well as summer constellations and tips on how to spot the Milky Way in the night sky. There will be an opportunity for questions and attendees will receive helpful information on which celestial objects to keep an eye out for (no telescope needed)!

PRO Tip: Adult tickets are priced at $14 and kids, seniors, and veterans can receive a discounted admission of $10.

Day Trip Hiking Trails Near Denver 

With hiking season kicking off in full swing, add these Denver area hikes to the bucket list.

Lake Isabelle

Where? Brainard Lake Recreation Area

Lake Isabelle is a popular hike located in nearby Nederland, Colorado. In total, the loop trail is approximately 6.6 miles and can be considered moderate to challenging. Visitors to Brainard Lake Recreation Area will need to secure a parking reservation to park on the property. Hikers will be treated to waterfalls, mountain views, a pristine glacial lake, and sometimes even a moose! During the spring months, there is an abundance of wildflowers to enjoy and take photos of.

PRO Tip: Cell service can be spotting, so be sure to let family or friends know where you’re headed!

Evergreen Mountain Trail

Where? Alderfer Three Sisters Park

This 4.4-mile out-and-back trail is located near Evergreen and is considered to be a moderate route that’s popular amongst hikers and mountain bikers. The trail takes hikers to the summit of Evergreen Mountain, which is located at over 8,000 feet! There is limited parking at the East Trailhead, so arrive early to ensure you secure a spot. The incline remains fairly steady, with ample shade that keeps it comfortable on hot days.

PRO Tip: Dogs are welcome on the trail — but they must be kept leashed for everybody’s safety!

Odessa Lake

Where? Rocky Mountain National Park

If you’re looking for more of a challenge, you’ll find that near Estes Park at Rocky Mountain National Park. This nearly 9-mile out-and-back route is moderately challenging and popular amongst hikers and backpackers. There is a fee to enter the national park unless you have an annual national park pass or a park-specific pass. Parking can be limited, so check the shuttle schedule provided by the park.

PRO Tip: If you’re looking for a shorter hike that still boasts stunning views characteristic of this Colorado National Park — Emerald Lake Trail, Lake Haiyaha, and Dream Lake Trail are all great options.

Seven Bridges Trail

Where? North Cheyenne Cañon Park

Enjoy the drive to Colorado Springs to experience this unique hiking trail. The Seven Bridges Trail is aptly named, as hikers will cross a total of seven bridges along the 3.5-mile out and back route. Most of the route is shaded and there is a cascading river that’s especially lively in the spring. Dogs on a leash are okay and you’re likely to come across other hikers due to the popularity of the trail.

PRO Tip: Most hikers choose to head back the way they came after the seventh bridge, though if you keep going the path will connect to other trails.

Huron Peak

Where? Collegiate Peaks Wilderness

For many native Denverites, hiking a 14er is a rite of passage within the Colorado outdoor community. Located in Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, approximately 130 miles from Denver — Huron Peak presents a challenge for many. Sitting at an elevation of 14,012 feet, this hike requires endurance, training, and a high-clearance 4WD vehicle to reach the trailhead. Inexperienced hikers should not attempt this route and as always, check the weather beforehand and pack more than enough water.

PRO Tip: In exchange for braving the hike to Huron Peak, hikers will be treated to stunning views and bragging rights.

Weekend Camping Destinations Near Denver

If you’re a weekend warrior when it comes to summertime adventures, check out these nearby campgrounds that are perfect for enjoying the views and taking advantage of the summer season.

Cherry Creek State Park

Distance from Denver: 15 miles

Keep things local and make the short trip to Cherry Creek State Park for a weekend camping excursion. The summer camping season runs between April 1st and October 31st and the weekends are prone to filling fast — so consider an off-peak trip or make plans well ahead of time. Campground amenities include shower and laundry facilities, a dump station, and a selection of basic tent sites and deluxe full hook-up sites.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Distance from Denver: 70 miles

The summer camping season in the Rockies kicks off on May 23rd, with the East side of the park hosting three campgrounds (Aspenglen, Glacier Basin, and Longs Peak) and the West side featuring Timber Creek Campground. Keep in mind that Rocky Mountain National Park has shifted to cashless payments at entrances and campgrounds for all fees. Campground fees range from $30-$70 within the park.

Cheyenne Mountain State Park

Distance from Denver: 80 miles

Campers get the best of both worlds when planning a trip to Cheyenne Mountain State Park. Choose from an onsite cabin rental or bring your tent or RV and enjoy access to 20+ trails and city amenities in nearby Colorado Springs. Campgrounds are open all year, with 501 full hookup sites and 10 basic tent spots. There are showers and a coin-operated laundry facility on the property.

Explore New Outdoor Hobbies with the Extra Daylight

If hiking and camping aren’t your jam, that’s okay! While it may feel like everyone in the city loves to climb 14ers and spend the night sleeping on the ground — there are a multitude of other ways to get outside and enjoy the beautiful summer weather that Colorado is known for.

Mountain Biking with Denver Adventures

Where? 26267 Conifer Road Unit 105

Want to get your foot in the door of the mountain biking community around Denver? Check out the Denver Adventures mountain biking tour! Eager participants will want to bring comfortable hiking shoes, sunglasses, and a hat, as well as a small backpack or fanny pack and a light windbreaker. The tours range from beginner to intermediate to advanced — so you can select your skill level and meet new people who are learning at the same speed. Each tour includes all mountain bike equipment, including a helmet, a small snack, water, and Gatorade.

Horseback Riding with 12 Mile Stables

Where? 5547 South Parker Road

Have you always wanted to experience a horseback trail adventure? 12 Mile Stables operates in Cherry Creek State Park in nearby Aurora, with 1-hour Prairie Rides starting at $55 and 2-hour Cowboy Rides being priced at $85. Little ones aged 3-5 years old must ride with a parent. 12 Mile Stables also offers a Sunset Dinner Ride, which is catered by Famous Daves and includes BBQ brisket, baked beans, and potato salad.

Running with Denver Run Club

Where? 2219 West 32nd Avenue

Every Wednesday at 6:30 PM, the Denver Run Club hosts a social run. The club does four mile loops through historic Denver neighborhoods and afterward, heads to Highland Tap & Burger for drinks and food. If you’ve been wanting to get active outdoors via running, this is a great way to meet new people and stay motivated. Participants of all levels and speeds are welcome and the club is always happy to see new faces.

PRO Tips for Getting Outdoors This Summer (Safely)! 

When exploring the great outdoors in Colorado, there are some key safety tips and fundamental wilderness lessons that everybody should adhere to! Whether you’re well-versed in camping and hiking or you’re just getting started, brush up on these top safety tips before your next trip.

  • Check the Weather Forecast: Particularly at higher elevations, fierce thunderstorms can be commonplace during the summer months. Temperatures can fluctuate significantly from morning to afternoon, so bring the correct layers and plan to be off the summit by no later than noon.
  • Remain on the Marked Trails: Going off trail may seem fun and “spontaneous” at times but keeping to the marked path is the best way to protect the delicate ecosystem while keeping you from getting lost. Avoid the search and rescue party and stay on the designated trail.
  • Slather on the Sunscreen: Keeping sunscreen on you throughout any outdoor adventures is highly encouraged. Opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen and apply a generous amount to all exposed skin. Reapply per the bottle’s instructions.
  • Wear Appropriate Clothing: This includes footwear as well, which is especially important if you plan on hiking more difficult trails. Proper ankle support can make or break the experience. Wear lightweight layers to protect your skin and keep you from suffering from exposure to the elements.
  • Follow Wildlife Guidelines: Whether you’re in bear country or you’re in an area where a mountain lion was recently spotted, pay attention to local guidelines. Many campsites require food and other scented items to be stored in specialized lockers and may encourage campers to keep bear spray on them.