Daniels Park is 1000 acres in size and the only Denver Mountain Park in Douglas County. The park is characterized by its unique sandstone ridge setting, historic ranch, bison herd, and spectacular view of the Front Range. A trip along Daniels Park Road offers a 100-mile view extending from Pike’s Peak to the Mummy Range near the Wyoming border. A herd of bison roams the majority of Daniels Park’s upper elevations of mixed prairie grasslands and shrubby Gambel’s oak. Daniels Park Road traverses the top of the park’s high sandstone mesa along an elevation of approximately 6500 feet, connecting the park’s diverse features. Its alignment follows the original path of one of the first Colorado Territorial Roads, an 1850s wagon and stage road. A prominently placed stone shelter near the southern entrance was designed by J.J.B. Benedict. It overlooks the mesa landscape and is the one feature that easily identifies Daniels Park as a Denver Mountain Park. . The Tall Bull Memorial in the north section of the park is reserved for Native Americans who use the site for ceremonies and activities. The Kit Carson Memorial marks the site of Carson’s last campfire in 1868. Daniels Park is an important landscape within a larger regional open space system of 11,000 acres that protects the unique rimrock landscape that stretches from Sedalia to C470 in Highlands Ranch. The other open space parcels are private and public lands that include the Sanctuary Golf Course, immediately adjacent to Daniels Park on the south. To the west is ‘The Backcountry,’ a private open space managed by Highlands Ranch. South of the park’s undeveloped lands is the Cherokee Ranch, a historic ranch of 3,000 acres protected by a conservation easement that will preserve its open lands in perpetuity.
Daniels Park’s 1,000 acres is split into two parcels by Daniels Park Road on the mesa rim. Most of the park is closed to public use due to the presence of the Bison. Limited visitor access is provided along the road at the shelter and two other viewing areas. Below the mesa rim is a dramatic landscape of canyons, low mesas, and hills covered with dense Gambel’s oak, ponderosa pine, and an understory of grasses and forbs. On the mesa top is rolling mixed prairie grassland that is characteristic of the Colorado Front Range lowlands. Prairie grasses are interspersed with clusters of Gambel’s oak along the east-facing drainages, and an extensive prairie dog colony is evident. The park provides wildlife habitat that attracts many birds, including redtailed hawks and songbirds.
The 2006 Daniels Park Master Plan recommended the realignment and paving of Daniels Park Road to discourage unnecessary vehicular traffic through the park and to reduce erosion, dust, and sediment. The plan recommends improving park facilities including scenic viewing areas and the construction of a new Douglas County regional trail on the east side of the road. Work began in 2008 on the new road alignment and trails. A new trailhead facility serving the regional trail should be completed in 2014.