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Parker, Colorado
Mainstreet in downtown Parker
Mainstreet in downtown Parker
Location of Parker in Douglas County, Colorado.
Location of Parker in Douglas County, Colorado.
Country United States
State Colorado
County Douglas
Incorporated May 1981
 • Type Home rule municipality
 • Total 22.21 sq mi (57.52 km2)
 • Land 22.20 sq mi (57.49 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2)
5,869 ft (1,789 m)
 • Total 58,512
 • Density 2,634.49/sq mi (1,017.18/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
ZIP codes
80134, 80138
Area code(s) Both 303 and 720
FIPS code 08-57630
GNIS feature ID 0185051
The third most populous Douglas County town

Parker is a home rule municipality in Douglas County, Colorado, United States. As a self-declared "town" under the home rule statutes, Parker is the second most populous town in the county; Castle Rock is the most populous (the community of Highlands Ranch, with a population of over 100,000, is an unincorporated CDP). In recent years, Parker has become a commuter town at the southeasternmost corner of the Denver metropolitan area. As of the 2020 census the town population was 58,512. Parker is now the 19th most populous municipality in the state of Colorado.


Parker is located in northeastern Douglas County at 39°31′10″N 104°45′57″W / 39.51944°N 104.76583°W / 39.51944; -104.76583 (39.519488, −104.765833). Its northernmost border follows the Arapahoe County line, and the city of Aurora touches the town's northeast border. The center of Parker is 23 miles (37 km) southeast of downtown Denver. Castle Rock, the Douglas County seat, is 15 miles (24 km) to the southwest. Unincorporated communities that border Parker are Dove Valley to the northwest, Stonegate to the west, and The Pinery to the south.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 20.5 square miles (53.1 km2), of which 0.02 square miles (0.04 km2), or 0.08%, is water. Cherry Creek flows through Parker on its way north toward Denver.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1990 5,450
2000 23,558 332.3%
2010 45,297 92.3%
2020 58,512 29.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 23,558 people, 7,929 households, and 6,525 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,615.2 people per square mile (623.4/km2). There were 8,352 housing units at an average density of 572.6 per square mile (221.0/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 92.60% White, 1.71% Asian, 0.45% Native American, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.88% from other races, 1.01% Black, and 2.33% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.80% of the population.

There were 7,929 households, out of which 52.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 71.8% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.7% were non-families. 13.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 1.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.96 and the average family size was 3.27.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 34.0% under the age of 18, 4.9% from 18 to 24, 43.4% from 25 to 44, 15.0% from 45 to 64, and 2.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $74,116, and the median income for a family was $77,384 (these figures had risen to $80,679 and $89,154, respectively, as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $52,070 versus $35,700 for females. The per capita income for the town was $27,479. About 1.7% of families and 2.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.2% of those under age 18 and 2.1% of those age 65 or over.


The Cherry Creek Trail runs along Cherry Creek, north and south through Parker. Bicycling, hiking, nature walks, and cross-country skiing are all popular uses.

The Rueter–Hess Reservoir is located west of town and is not yet open for recreational use. Nevertheless, planned activities there include fishing, hiking, and non-motorized boating. No natural streams flow into the reservoir, instead water rights owned by the Parker Water and Sanitation District provide water delivered via Cherry Creek and a local canals. If filled to capacity, surface size would be 1,140 acres.


This climate type is usually found in the outskirts of true deserts in low-latitude, semiarid regions. It has a cooler, wetter winter resulting from the higher latitude and mid-latitude frontal cyclone activity. Annual precipitation totals are greater than in tropical and subtropical desert climates. Yearly variations in amount are not as extreme as in the true deserts but are nevertheless large. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "BSk". (Tropical and Subtropical Steppe Climate).

Climate data for Parker, Colorado
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 43
Average low °F (°C) 15
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.3
Source: Weatherbase


The town currently maintains about 250 acres of developed parkland and more than 900 acres of open space.

The Wildlife Experience, now part of CU South Denver, is an art and natural history museum located in Parker.

Parker is also home to the Parker Arts, Culture, & Events Center (PACE). It is a venue that hosts art exhibits, art classes, theater productions, and concerts. It is the official home of the Parker Symphony Orchestra, a community orchestra established in 1994, that offers a full season of orchestra concerts annually. The Parker Symphony was formerly the South Suburban Community Orchestra.

Additional resources

  • A Folk History of Parker and Hilltop, by Sandy Whelchel, Parker Distributing\Paintbrush Press
  • Parker, Colorado: An historical narrative, by Ruth Miller, Parker Area Historical Society
  • The Cherokee Trail: Bent's Old Fort to Fort Bridger by Lee Whiteley
  • A Guide Book to Historic Sites in the Parker Area by F.B.Mclaughlin


Parker is served by Douglas County School District. Douglas County School District has among the highest level of students in Colorado. Students have scored, on average, 12 to 19 percent above the state average. The district was rated 9th in the state in 2009. The Pine Lane Elementary School had the largest student enrollment in Parker until Mammoth Heights Elementary opened in January 2007 and took the overload.

Two of the three principal high schools in the area, Ponderosa and Chaparral High School, have a cross-town rivalry and compete annually for The Pride of Parker trophy. Legend High School opened in 2008, as Douglas County's ninth high school.

Private schools in Parker include:

  • Ave Maria Catholic School (PK-8)
  • Southeast Christian School (PK-8)
  • Lutheran High School Parker (9–12)
  • Parker Montessori Educational Institute (PK-K)
  • Montessori Academy (PK-K)

For other Parker and Douglas County school information:

  • Pine Lane Primary
  • Frontier Valley Elementary School
  • Pine Lane Intermediate
  • Pine Grove Elementary School
  • Mammoth Heights Elementary School
  • Cherokee Trail Elementary
  • Iron Horse Elementary
  • Prairie Crossing Elementary
  • Legacy Point Elementary
  • Gold Rush Elementary
  • Pioneer Elementary School

Parker Secondary Schools

  • Sierra Middle School
  • Sagewood Middle School
  • Cimarron Middle School
  • Legend High School
  • Ponderosa High School
  • Chaparral High School

Parker also has six public charter schools:

  • American Academy (annual lottery)
  • Challenge to Excellence Charter School (annual lottery)
  • North Star Academy (annual lottery)
  • Parker Core Knowledge Charter School (students selected through a wait list; application at birth strongly recommended in order to gain entry for kindergarten)
  • Leman Academy of Excellence (K-8)
  • Parker Performing Arts School (K-8)

College classes:

  • The University Center at Chaparral
  • Arapahoe Community College (Parker campus)
  • University of Colorado South Denver Campus (Located at the old Wildlife Experience on Lincoln Ave.)

Post-Secondary Education:

  • Rocky Vista University - College of Osteopathic Medicine

Notable people

Notable individuals who were born in or have lived in Parker include:

  • Josh Adams (born 1993), basketball point guard
  • Hayden Dalton (born 1996), basketball player for Hapoel Holon of the Israeli Basketball Premier League
  • Kellen Damico (born 1989), tennis player
  • Scott Elrod (born 1975), actor
  • John Grant (born 1968), singer-songwriter
  • Milan Hejduk (born 1976), former ice hockey player for Colorado Avalanche. Won his lone Stanley Cup in 2001.
  • Michael "Ffish" Hemschoot (born 1973), animator, film director
  • Hal Koerner (born 1976), distance runner
  • John C. Malone (born 1941), billionaire media magnate
  • Chris Martinez (born 1970), soccer defender
  • Bob McCord (1934–2016), ice hockey player
  • Dana Perino (born 1972), White House Press Secretary
  • Scott Petersen (born 1970), golfer
  • Mark Scheffel (born 1959), Colorado state legislator
  • Cal Turner Jr. (born 1940), billionaire retail executive
  • Derrick White (born 1994), NBA player
  • George Brauchler - attorney, former district attorney for Colorado's 18th Judicial District

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See also

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