Before we unpack this contemplative getaway, we gotta address the elephant in the room. Maybe you’ve heard the name “Cheesman Park” before and if that’s the case, it probably wasn’t for the reasons in which we’re talking about it today. The local media has been on a one-beat track talking about how there was once a graveyard located below Cheesman Park. There remains a fascination with how over 120 years ago, the process of moving those bodies to a different location was anything but smooth. Yet for the daily visitor, this is something that rarely crosses their mind. It’s a non-issue. In reality, Cheesman Park is one of the hidden gems of Denver. Located in the heart of Capitol Hill, it is much-lesser known than the famed (and crowded) Wash Park and City Park. In our view, it offers everything that these two parks do not, namely the absence of crowds. The landscape is arguably more diverse as well, with mountain views sweeping in the background as you look out from the Pavilion. The meadows are some of the most expansive in the entire city and help set the perfect environment for contemplation. The sights are plentiful, with 57 different tree species within the park. Cheesman Park can be easily accessed from most neighborhoods in Denver, usually within 15 minutes or less. The increased options for transportation in Denver, namely electric scooters and e-bikes, give us every opportunity to frequent Cheesman Park regularly. Perhaps most remarkably, even on the weekends, Cheesman Park is still lightly trafficked. So let’s get into the good stuff. As we move along in this guide, what follows is a couple spots we’ve curated within Cheesman Park that provide a beautiful refuge.


When you enter Cheesman Park, you can’t help but notice the big wide-open green spaces. Unlike the Pavilion, which is centralized into one place, the meadows expand to the edges of the park. On any given day, you might see someone painting, meditating or lounging back and reading a book. Bringing a hammock is a major-plus, as you’ll see people regularly tying them in-between trees almost every time you enter Cheesman Park. The meadows provide the ideal space to bring a blanket, sit in the shade and journal.



We love views, so the area around the Pavilion tops our list. Beautiful gardens surround the main structure in the middle, with benches situated all around. Some of those spots face the mountains, perfect for bringing your journal and taking in the scenery. Located directly behind the Pavilion is the Denver Botanical Gardens. If you’re short on time and want to access the Pavilion, tons of electric scooters and e-bikes are located in the surrounding areas of Cheesman Park. Simply hop one of these via a mobile app and you can park it at the Pavilion in a matter of moments.




As you’ll discover, Cheesman Park stands in contrast to the often-congested Wash Park and City Park. It’s one of the reasons we’ve chosen to highlight it as one of our Denver getaways. In a remarkable report from Yale University, we learn, “the studies point in one direction: Nature is not only nice to have, but it’s a have-to-have for physical health and cognitive function.” The science is clear: getting at least two hours each week in green spaces is essential for our well-being. The goal of regularly visiting Cheesman Park then, would be to start developing a lifestyle of reflection and contemplation. Long before these scientific discoveries were made, we see Jesus adopting these same rhythms in ancient Israel, often retreating into nature. This would later be coined silence and solitude, just one of the compelling rhythms we see built into his way of life. For Jesus, what happened in the wilderness became the fuel for him to go back out and be equipped to engage the culture around him. You may agree that this has never been more relevant than in modern-day times. When we’re out in nature and captivated by its beauty, it often produces a wonder and heightened awareness of the world around us. How could such a beautiful place exist? That wonder can lead to an awareness of the One who created all the transcendent beauty that surrounds us. And here’s the transformative part — we can allow that awareness to drive us into connection with God. For Jesus, this is what getting away was all about. Being out in nature was about who he connected with whilst he was out there. When we encounter God in these environments of refreshment, we are able to acquire the strength and perspective we need to go back out into the world. We need this to love other people well. To create the change we long to see. To become the truest and best version of ourselves. These rhythms are essential for our well-being. As we see from the science, they are built into the very fabric of our existence. We benefit spiritually, mentally and physically from these environments of refreshment. For much of human history, these were our natural habitats. You could argue that the construction of modern city life is unnatural in this sense, as the constant busyness and distraction prevents us from getting perspective and moments of reflection. So especially living in Denver, modeling this “in-and-out lifestyle” will help us thrive amidst the weariness of 24/7 connectedness. Before you start wandering the magical meadows of Cheesman Park, let us leave you with some practical tips for your experience:

1) Picking a time

Scheduling time to get away is essential. The busy nature of modern-life increases the need for intentionality. So consider where you will regularly visit Cheesman Park and when it's practical do that. Is it before work in the morning? Is it midday during lunch? Which part of the Cheesman Park is most accessible to you?

2) Start small & build

We must define success as simply showing up, nothing more. Habits are also formed by starting small. When we try to start big, we flame out. So maybe try retreating for 30 minutes at least 2-3 times a week. Once you’re in a rhythm, maybe increase that to an hour in Cheesman Park for 2-3 times a week. And so forth.

3) Put your phone on silent

Smartphones breed distraction and will pull you away from being present in the moment. Try putting your phone on silent and resisting the urge to pull it out. Build up your tolerance over time.

4) Consider your wiring

Depending on your personality and temperament, you may want more of an active experience for your contemplative getaways. In this case, consider doing a full lap through the walking paths in Cheesman Park, which offers the opportunity to keep moving, yet still be present in the moment.

5) Bring a blanket

If you like being stationery, consider buying a blanket, particularly for the expansive meadows within Cheesman Park. Get comfortable as you enter a place of contemplation.

6) Bring a journal

Fight against the urge to stuff away your thoughts by actively processing them through this form of feeling prayer. How are you feeling? Why are you feeling that way? Name the emotions coming up - envy, greed, sadness, grief, etc. Like Jesus, our emotions are a place to meet with God.

7) Contemplate scripture

This ancient practice, called Lectio Divina, involves picking a small passage to meditate on. Even if you haven’t read scripture in ages, this could be as small as a Psalm, a Proverb or the words of Jesus in the gospels. Let’s say a verse comes up about humility or loving your neighbor, we then pray for a greater understanding of how to model that in our lives. See what comes to mind. You can pick up a copy of the new Passion Translation here.

8) Practice gratitude

Gratitude is hard for us. Sometimes it feels like we suffer from chronic short-term memory loss, only able to see what we don't have or how our circumstances are less than ideal. And while there might be truth in that, this perspective causes us to miss the precious things of life that are sitting right in front of us each and every day. Take some time to write down prayers of gratitude, even for the smallest of things.

9) Be silent

Some days when you visit Cheesman Park you might find yourself just wanting to be silent. Embrace this. Put up a hammock. Engage your breathing. Listen to the sounds around you. The birds. The breeze.

Whatever you decide to do with your time, take this opportunity to get away from the distractions and enter into the beautiful landscape of Cheesman Park.


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