“Located less than two miles from the heart of downtown Denver, running this trail feels like an outing in the country.
— David Thurman
No overnight camping allowed.
Birding — Fall Colors — Lake — Spring — Views — Wildlife
This route is quite popular, so come early on the weekends or during the week to avoid slower moving traffic.
This flat trail starts in the parking lot at 21st and Stuart Street. Head north on the path by the lake.
To complete the longer 3.1-mile route, head uphill through the trees at the fork by the next parking lot. Cross the street at Byron Place and continue uphill toward the first of two sets of tennis courts and playgrounds. Don’t miss the faces carved in the tree stumps at the edge of the playground. Continue downhill recrossing Byron Place toward the jetty and boathouse. Take the path out to the end of the jetty. Stop at the farthest point of the jetty to watch the ducks, geese, cormorants, hawks, pelicans, and sometimes even a bald eagle. Head back on the path between the boathouse and the boat docks to see the waterskiers take off.
Stay on the path around the edge of the lake. Near the corner of 17th and Sheridan you'll be running on the former grounds of Manhattan Beach Amusement Park (1881-1914) and current home of the annual July Dragon Boat Festival.
After the path finishes its route along Sheridan and you cross the pedestrian bridge, check out the WWII memorial to the 52 lost US submarines and the Colorado Mile High Diggers, WWII submarine veterans.
On the south side of the lake, take the next fork uphill through the trees along 17th Avenue. Historical interpretive signs will give you a clue to the history of the area and the 177-acre lake, the largest in Denver. The trail passes by the second playground and tennis courts. Sometimes you can see a turtle in the reeds along this part of the trail.
As you continue around the southeast edge of the lake, notice “The Denver” art sculpture. After you pass that, take the path that crosses Lake Shore Drive heading uphill toward Lake Junior High. At the corner of Mead and 20th, stop to enjoy the Frances Melrose Inspirational Garden. Read the engraved flagstone pavers about this great Rocky Mountain News writer.
Head back downhill to rejoin the lake path continuing to the parking lot where you began. Enjoy the magnificent views of the mountains from the east side of the lake and the city scape views from the west. Sunsets are ordinarily spectacular.
Cross country skiing, water skiing, sailing, kayaking, standup paddle boarding, rowing, kite flying, bike riding, fishing, softball, tennis, picnicking, 5Ks, festivals.