Highlands Ranch is a 22,000-acre master-planned community located 12 miles south of Denver in Douglas County. Until 1978, it was a working cattle ranch. The first homes in Highlands Ranch were built in 1981 and over the next 30 years the population of Highlands Ranch grew so rapidly that Douglas County was repeatedly ranked the fastest growing county in the United States. Unlike other Denver suburbs, Highlands Ranch is not an actual city. The elected government is the Highlands Ranch Metro District, which provides municipal services, and maintains 25 parks, plus open space with over 70 miles of hiking and biking trails. The Highlands Ranch Homeowners Association operates four state-of-the-art recreation centers providing everything from indoor rock climbing and in-line hockey to racquetball, swimming, and basketball and volleyball leagues. Highlands Ranch lies within the boundaries of the Douglas County School District.
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