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Highlands Ranch

Discover the Charm of Highlands Ranch Denver: A Community Guide

February 12, 2024

Exploring Highlands Ranch Denver? This suburb offers a blend of history, outdoor activities, and community events. Discover housing options, parks, schools and more. Find out why Highlands Ranch isn’t just a location—it’s a lifestyle.

Key Takeaways

  • Highlands Ranch has a rich history with a heritage tracing back to Native American tribes and significant 19th-century settlers, and the community continues to preserve its historical landmarks and traditions.
  • The community places a strong emphasis on outdoor activities, with numerous parks, trails, and recreational facilities, including the expansive Redstone Park and the University of Denver Golf Club at Highlands Ranch.
  • Highlands Ranch offers a diverse real estate market with a range of housing options and neighborhoods catering to various preferences, complemented by a vibrant lifestyle and educational opportunities.

A Glimpse into Highlands Ranch’s Past

Highlands Ranch is not just another suburban community; it’s an area steeped in history, called Highlands Ranch. The earliest known Highlands Ranch residents of this land, now known as Highlands Ranch, were Native Americans, including the Ute, Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes. The land’s first homesteader, Samuel Allen Long, established a presence in the late 19th century, known for the Rotherwood house. The Highlands Ranch Historical Society helps preserve and share this rich history with the community.

The property changed hands several times, with each owner leaving their unique imprint. Some of the notable owners include:

  • John W. Springer, who sold it to his father-in-law, Col. William Hughes, who called it Sunland Ranch
  • Waite Phillips, who named it Phillips Highlands Ranch and dedicated it to breeding high-grade horses and cattle
  • Frank E. Kistler, who specialized in dairy and Angus cattle breeding after purchasing the property in 1926

These owners significantly shaped the ranch’s direction and its history.

The modern chapter in Highlands Ranch’s history began when the Mission Viejo Company purchased the lands in 1979, initiating the community’s development. Before its transformation into a suburban hub, Highlands Ranch was characterized by its farms and ranches, evoking a pastoral past. The legacy of these pioneers and their ranch lands continues to resonate in today’s Highlands Ranch, forming an integral part of its charm.

Embracing the Outdoors in Highlands Ranch

If you relish the great outdoors, Highlands Ranch will not disappoint. As one of Colorado’s first planned communities, Highlands Ranch Colorado was intentionally designed with an emphasis on open spaces, showcasing parks and trails as an integral part of the community’s fabric.

Whether you fancy a leisurely stroll, an invigorating hike, a round of golf, or a fun-filled day in the park, Highlands Ranch has got you covered. Let’s explore these outdoor treasures.

Parks and Open Spaces

When it comes to parks and open spaces, Highlands Ranch shines with an impressive portfolio. The Highlands Ranch Metro District manages 26 public parks and four dog parks, offering diverse amenities such as playgrounds, sports fields, and picnic facilities. These parks cater to different recreational needs, providing residents and visitors with ample opportunities for outdoor leisure activities.

Venture into specialized amenities and municipal services such as:

  • Dog parks
  • Community gardens
  • Fishing ponds
  • An equestrian area

These amenities reflect the community’s commitment to cater to a spectrum of recreational interests. Take, for instance, the 55-acre Redstone Park, the community’s largest, which opened its doors in 2000 along with the Highlands Ranch Library, underlining the significance of community infrastructure. With batting cages, a skate park, tennis courts, and ample space for various sports activities, Redstone Park is not just a park; it’s a hub of outdoor action.

Other parks like Dad Clark Park and Foothills Park are equally captivating, featuring basketball courts, community gardens, and water features, making them ideal places for family-friendly recreation. These parks and open spaces are not just about recreation; they are the verdant heartbeat of Highlands Ranch, connecting people with nature and each other.

Trails and Hiking

For those who prefer the path less trodden, Highlands Ranch’s diverse trail system offers a myriad of choices. These trails cater to various interests, including historic sites and nature areas, accommodating outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels. Imagine embarking on a journey of discovery, with every turn unveiling a new vista or a hidden gem in the Rocky Mountains.

Among these trails, the Big Dry Creek Trail stands out. Spanning approximately 8.2 kilometers, it is the longest in the area, featuring a concrete path that links local parks and includes a signaled crosswalk for secure street crossings. Whether you prefer hiking, biking, or trail running, this trail promises an exciting adventure with every step.

In the spirit of embracing the great outdoors, these trails serve as the veins of Highlands Ranch, pulsating with activity and exploration.

Golf Courses and Sports Facilities

Beyond parks and trails, Highlands Ranch steps up its outdoor game with several golf courses and sports facilities. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a beginner, the community offers something to suit your swing.

Take for instance, the University of Denver Golf Club at Highlands Ranch, a semi-private 18-hole course. Offering picturesque mountain vistas, it promises more than just a game of golf; it offers a vibrant experience, a connection with nature, and a chance to challenge and improve your game. These golf courses and sports facilities are not just about sports; they are about community, engagement, and the pursuit of personal bests.

Highlands Ranch Real Estate: Finding Your Dream Home

If you’re considering making Highlands Ranch your home, the real estate market here offers an attractive array of options. From single-family homes to condos, Highlands Ranch has a multitude of housing options that cater to diverse needs and budgets. Be it the charm of an older home or the allure of a modern abode, you’ll find it here.

Highlands Ranch, also known as Highland Ranch, is divided into various popular neighborhoods, each with its distinctive character. Some of the favored locales include:

  • Northridge
  • Eastridge
  • Westridge
  • BackCountry
  • Kentley Hills
  • Rock Canyon
  • The Hearth
  • Indigo Hill
  • Firelight

For instance, Eastridge offers a blend of 3-bedroom family homes and condos, many of which are among the oldest in Highlands Ranch. On the other hand, Firelight, one of the newest and largest subdivisions, features modern homes ranging from 2,000 to 3,500 square feet, echoing the area’s commitment to quality and variety.

The real estate landscape in Highlands Ranch is continuously evolving. The 100-acre Central Park development by Shea, announced in 2017, added apartments, single-family homes, a health extension campus, shops, restaurants, and fitness studios to the mix, further enhancing the variety of real estate options available, including the sought-after Highlands Ranch Mansion.

In essence, whether you’re looking for a cozy starter home or a spacious family residence, Highlands Ranch’s real estate market offers a plethora of choices. Coupled with the community’s:

  • rich history
  • outdoor recreation opportunities
  • quality education
  • vibrant lifestyle

As an unincorporated community, it makes for an ideal place to call home.

Education in Highlands Ranch: Public and Private Schools

A community is only as strong as its education system, and Highlands Ranch, located in northern Douglas County, stands tall in this regard. The Douglas County School District, which oversees the public schools in Highlands Ranch, is committed to providing quality education to its students.

In addition to public schools, Highlands Ranch also offers a variety of private educational options, including elementary and secondary schools. This comprehensive education system ensures that every child in Highlands Ranch has access to quality education, laying a solid foundation for their future.

After all, a community that invests in its education invests in its future.

Getting Around Highlands Ranch: Transportation Options

Highlands Ranch’s connectivity is another feather in its cap. The area is served by RTD’s bus services that connect to train lines, offering around 94 services weekly. From affordable ticket pricing options to efficient connectivity, Highlands Ranch has made commuting within and outside the area a breeze.

The opening of the C-470 highway in 1985 significantly enhanced the accessibility of Highlands Ranch to the broader metro area. Whether you’re commuting to work, heading out for a day of fun, or planning a weekend getaway, the well-connected highway system ensures a smooth journey.

For those traveling to and from Denver International Airport, there are multiple options including:

  • Buses: The average journey to Denver Airport using public transportation takes approximately 1 hour and 38 minutes by bus, with the cheapest trip costing between 2 to 15 euros.
  • Trains: [No information provided]
  • Taxis: A taxi ride takes about 39 minutes, albeit at a higher cost.
  • Driving: [No information provided]

Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, getting around Highlands Ranch is convenient, efficient, and stress-free.

Dining and Shopping Experiences in Highlands Ranch

One of the joys of living in or visiting Highlands Ranch is the diverse dining and shopping experiences it offers. Here are some highlights:

  • Cozy cafes
  • Top-rated restaurants
  • Quaint boutiques
  • Bustling shopping centers

There’s something for everyone.

For food lovers, Highlands Ranch is a culinary paradise. The area boasts a variety of dining options, including recently opened establishments like Postino Wine Bar, Prost Brewing, and Lazy Dog. Diverse flavors await, ranging from traditional Indian cuisine at Highland’s Indian Cuisine to pan-Asian dishes at Little Holly’s Asian Cafe, European-inspired crepes at Zell’s Mountain Creperie, and classic Irish pub fare at Lansdowne Arms.

Beyond dining, shopping in Highlands Ranch is a delight. The community offers several shopping centers that provide a range of retail experiences for every shopper’s needs. So whether you’re in the mood for a culinary adventure, a shopping spree, or both, Highlands Ranch has you covered.

Community Life in Highlands Ranch: The HRCA Covenant and Special Events

Community life in Highlands Ranch is vibrant, inclusive, and guided by a set of shared values. The Highlands Ranch Community Association (HRCA) manages a community covenant that outlines strict guidelines on home decoration, fencing, and supporting communal amenities like libraries and recreation centers. These guidelines ensure that Highlands Ranch remains a safe, beautiful, and harmonious place to live.

In addition to the HRCA covenant, special events and communal gatherings contribute to the vibrant community life in Highlands Ranch. Some of these events include:

  • Concerts in the Park
  • Movies in the Park
  • Farmers Market
  • Fourth of July Parade and Celebration
  • Highlands Ranch Beer Festival
  • Oktoberfest
  • Holiday Tree Lighting

Civic Green Park, with its fountains and ample space for events, serves as a community hub, hosting a variety of events that bring residents together and foster a sense of community. These events, coupled with the HRCA covenant, create a strong sense of community, making Highlands Ranch more than just a place to live; it’s a place to belong.


From its historical roots to its modern amenities, Highlands Ranch offers a unique blend of charm, community, and convenience. Its rich history, vibrant outdoor life, diverse real estate options, quality education, smooth transportation, varied dining and shopping experiences, and strong community spirit make it a desirable destination. Whether you’re planning to visit or considering making it your home, Highlands Ranch welcomes you with open arms. Come, experience the charm of Highlands Ranch; it’s more than a community, it’s a lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Highlands Ranch a good neighborhood?

Highlands Ranch is a well-regarded neighborhood, named one of the best places to raise families in Colorado and recognized nationally for its desirability. With a strong community feel, beautiful landscapes, and a safe environment, it’s an excellent choice for families and outdoor enthusiasts.

Is Highlands Ranch a suburb of Denver?

Yes, Highlands Ranch is a suburb of Denver and is located 30 minutes south of the city. It is considered one of Denver’s most vibrant and upscale communities.

How rich is Highlands Ranch Colorado?

Highlands Ranch, Colorado has a median household income of $134,041, making it a wealthy area.

Is Highlands Ranch expensive?

Yes, Highlands Ranch is considered to be one of the more expensive cities in the US, with a median home price of $625,000 and a cost of housing estimated to be 128.8% of the national average.

Who were the first residents of Highlands Ranch?

The earliest known residents of Highlands Ranch were Native American tribes such as the Ute, Cheyenne, and Arapaho. Their presence in the area dates back to ancient times.

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