Article and photos by Liz Jurkowski
Going to a grave might not be the top item on your “Things to do” list, but for the best view of Denver and the Front Range, Buffalo Bill’s Gravesite and Museum cannot be beat. Lookout Mountain is part of the Denver Mountain Parks system and overlooks Golden, Denver, the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains.
Less than an hour from Castle Pines, take Exit 256 off I-70 and follow the signs to Buffalo Bill’s grave and the Boettcher Mansion. At the gravesite, enjoy the view from the observation deck and then shop for western gifts and trinkets at the gift shop. The buffalo chili is delicious (worth the expensive price), so sit down in The Pahaska Tepee Café for lunch.
A one-mile trail leads to Buffalo Bill Museum and Gravesite to the Lookout Mountain Nature Center (LMNC). The center houses exhibits showing the nature and wildlife habitats of the Front Range. Its mission states, “The Lookout Mountain Nature Center creates awareness, understanding, and conservation of Jefferson County’s open spaces through year-round educational programs and exhibits.”
Guided naturalist-led tours are available, as well as self-guided trails. Call 720-497-7600 to see what programs are available when you plan to visit.
Next to the LMNC is the Boettcher Mansion. Built in 1917 as the summer home and hunting lodge for entrepreneur Charles Boettcher, the building now serves as an elegant meeting place for social and conference events. The public is welcome to walk through the home. The quaint sitting rooms, large patio and rustic chandeliers offer a tranquil setting. The home was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, a few years after Boettcher’s granddaughter donated it to Jefferson County.
Take a road trip to Lookout Mountain and spend the day there. Wander the trails connecting Buffalo Bill’s gravesite to the Boettcher Mansion and Nature Center. Absorb the peacefulness, beauty and wildlife of the Rocky Mountains so close to home.