Home Airport Spotting Guide Spotting at Denver International Airport

Spotting at Denver International Airport

by Matt Falcus
spotting at denver
spotting at denver

By Bamsb900 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Denver is the largest airport in Colorado, and one of the busiest in the USA. It plays host to a large number of movements by Frontier and United Airlines. It also has services from all other main US airlines, and a number of international airlines.

Denver is the largest airport in the USA by area, covering 53 square miles of flat land to the east of the city. It was built to replace the crowded Stapleton Airport, and opened in 1995. It is known for having six runways, all of them 12,000ft (3,658m) long, apart from the 16,000ft (4,877m) 16R/34L. Given the airport’s altitude, long take-off runs are often required, necessitating these long runways. It has three terminals – A, B and C

Terminal A hosts Frontier and is the best terminal for spotting. Inside, walk to the end of the terminal where there are large glass windows. This overlooks the commuter aircraft, and across to the United gates. This is the best spot for covering most movements, although the airport is so big and has so many runways that it is impossible to cover everything.

Terminals B and C also both have large windows at their gates, which offer views of aircraft moving around.

United 737 in Star Wars livery

There are a few other spotting locations around the perimeter:

  1. Valley Head St
    At the southern end of the airport, a small parking area is close to aircraft shortly before landing on runway 35L, and has (more distant) views of aircraft approaching 35R. To reach the spot, turn off Pena Blvd before it turns towards the terminals, onto Jackson Gap Rd. Follow this and take the first right then keep going until you reach a T-junction and turn left onto Valley Head St. The parking area is on your right.
  2. 114th Avenue
    When on Pena Blvd heading towards the airport, turn off onto Tower Road heading north. Follow this to 96th Ave East and turn right. The road will turn left, then right before reaching the approach path to runways 34L/R. Aircraft will pass you at close quarters when arriving or departing.

F9 A320/A321 N336FR/N712FR

Denver Spotting Hotel

Westin Denver Airport
8300 Peña Blvd, Denver, CO 80249 | +1 303 317 1800 | www.westindenverairport.com
A new hotel near the main terminal building. High floor rooms at either end of the building look out over the nearer parking stands and runways, and you can see movements elsewhere at a distance. This is a large airport, so it’s hard to catch everything.


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Kevin Sanders April 21, 2009 - 10:33 am

As you rightly say due to the sheer size of the place I found the best place for spotting was the car park,cant remember which on but as you approach the terminal area it is the one to your left.This gives views over half of the Frontier terminal and you should be able to read off arrivals and departures from three runways.
Upon arrival have a word with the police and let them know what you are doing.You may get a visit but they are friendly.
Also,dont forget about the preserved Learjet (N10BD) in concourse three.

DenverAviation February 6, 2017 - 1:20 am

There is a spot that overlooks the northern runways. On 114th avenue, there are many pulloffs, so you can get shots from any angle and any lightning. This only works when aircraft are landing on the northern runways. I have personally never gotten a visit from police, but I have heard that they are friendly, and at most might just ask you to leave. Good luck spotting!

Matt Falcus February 6, 2017 - 10:41 am

Thanks for the tip!

Paul Turner June 23, 2019 - 12:33 pm

Hello, does anyone have any reports on what views are available from the Westin hotel?

Eli October 12, 2020 - 4:39 pm

Hey, I am a local in Colorado and I have been plane spotting at DIA many times with friends and such. The best place to go is the Final Approach cell lot. It is the closest you can get to a runway and I have gotten many good shots and videos of airplanes there.

Matt Falcus October 12, 2020 - 6:52 pm

Thanks Eli, that’s great!


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