Grace Houser | Clarion

Upon returning from spring break, students were greeted with trees in full bloom. Across campus, spring has taken over as students begin their final quarter of the year. However, since the season will soon turn to summer, there are several photogenic spots in the Denver area to take advantage of the spring colors while they’re here.

Being an arboretum, first and foremost is the DU campus itself. On the south side, there are currently white and pink blossoming trees hugging J-Mac. The pink trees are Crabapples, and the white trees are usually a type of pear tree. These trees line the entrance to the hall and are absolutely stunning. With luck, students have a view from their own dorm rooms. Also, as students head to and from class, it is unlikely that they will miss Evans, lined with trees covered in white flowers.

About six miles off campus lies City Park, easy access with a bike or a friend with a car. Although it is not quite as locally famous as Wash Park, it is really popular for people in downtown Denver. This time of year, City Park has cherry blossoms that pop with color. As the trees begin to turn green, they reflect off the pond and visitors can see both the Denver skyline as well as the mountains just above the water.

A personal favorite is the Denver Botanic Gardens. Four miles off campus and conveniently located next to Cheesman Park, it is home to thousands of stunning flowers, blooming trees and paths to explore. Tickets are $9 for students and free for visitors with a participating arboretum membership from across the country. This includes the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco, the Morton Arboretum in the Chicagoland area, the Washington Park Arboretum of Seattle and countless others that form a network of nature membership. Walking around these gardens will easily put visitors in the mood for spring and summer with their sprawling exhibits of nature. They also have indoor greenhouses that make visitors feel they have been transported to the tropics.

For those that want to adventure a little into the mountains, the Boulder flatirons are a beautiful way to experience the season, only a 45 minute drive from campus. For the people willing to take a hike and take advantage of a sunny day, this area offers a few cherry blossom trees, and hundreds of wildflowers sprawling all over their grassy fields as people near the flatirons. It is a popular spot for hikers and photographers alike.

Another hike that is just a 45 minute drive from DU is Maxwell Falls. It offers a four mile round trip hike that leads to a waterfall. Other than the typical mountain wildflowers, these waterfalls can be really stunning when they get enough water as they surely have the past couple of weeks. The trees come to life and there are countless lookouts that visitors can check out on their way through the trail. It is also an all-level hike that is friendly to beginners and more seasoned hikers.

All of these places are perfect to take advantage of one of the most scenic times of year here in Colorado. Grab your camera, walking shoes and perhaps a bike to enjoy nature and all it has to offer to this spring season.