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Genesee Overlook

Genesee is reported to be a Native American term for "shining valley." Cut by I-70, the Park is in two parts. To the south of I-70, Genesee Mountain offers a 360-degree view from its 8,284-foot (2,525 m) summit, with Mount Vernon Canyon below. Bald Mountain, at 7,988 feet (2,435 m), is a prominent point on the north side of the park. On the north, the Park reaches all the way to Clear Creek Canyon, with its lowest elevation of 6,280 feet (1,914 m) at the bottom.

Denver's largest mountain park, Genesee offers diverse visitor experiences, from group gatherings and individual picnicking to bison-watching along I-70 at Exit 254 and backcountry hiking on the historic Beaver Brook Trail. Genesee Park is a park in Jefferson County, Colorado. It is the largest park in the Denver Mountain Parks system, with a total of 2,413 acres (977 ha). Interstate 70 traverses the park between exits 252 and 254 along the Lariat Loop Scenic & Historic Byway. On I-70 just west of exit 254, there are scenic overlooks for both directions for viewing the historic Bison herd, which live on maintained pastures on the north and south sides of I-70. The land for Genesee Park was initially purchased in 1912 and the park area was largely complete by 1926.

The park contains two mountains, Genesee Mountain at 8,284 feet (2,525 m) above sea level and Bald Mountain at 7,988 feet (2,435 m) above sea level. The park also contains forests of ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, and lodgepole pine. The park's bison herd is owned by the City and County of Denver, Colorado. Some of the original bison were acquired from Yellowstone National Park in 1914. Chief Hosa Lodge, designed by Jacques Benedict, was built in 1918 near what is now Exit 253. A historical point of interest, it is currently used as an event facility. The nearby Chief Hosa Campground serves recreational travelers each year between May and September. A large stone picnic shelter near Genesee Mountain was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1939; it is also available for group use by reservation.

Genesee Park was an early focal point in Mountain Park acquisition. Before the Mountain Parks Commission (MPC) was fully organized, private companies planned to log areas of old-growth Ponderosa Pine.

Advocates of the new park system rushed to acquire these lands and held them until the MPC was ready to purchase them. Genesee was the first park in the system, and remains the largest, with new acreage added in 1937 and 2007. In 1914, Denver acquired bison and elk from the herds at Yellowstone Park, and Genesee Park took on a new role in helping maintain these two species, then nearing extinction. Watching the bison herd along I-70 is still a major interest of park visitors. In 1939, a new bison herd was established at Daniels Park; both herds are managed at about 24 adult animals.

Ref: DP656

Gallery: Colorado

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Genesee Overlook

Looking from

 Interstate 70.


United States.