The Road to Commons Park: A Cycling Tour of Northwest Denver
It’s not complicated — where cycling is concerned, there are a handful of Denver parks that garner most of the attention. Washington. Cheesman. City Park. Sloan Lake. These are the places you go to get in your laps, free of street traffic and full of elevated heart rates.
In the far northwestern city limits, however, there are a string of smaller Mile High lakes and green spaces just waiting to be explored. While it may be true that none of these are noteworthy enough to warrant a ride out on their own merits, when strung together they make for an undeniably unique city cycling tour.
Check out our suggested route map and riding info below, then get out there and discover these underappreciated gems for yourself.
CROWN HILL PARK
Not many city parks encompass a National Urban Wildlife Refuge within their borders, which is one of the reasons Crown Hill is so appealing.
At 242 acres, there’s more than enough room to stretch out and explore; which is handy, since the park includes a lake, a pond, and over 6 miles of hard-surface trails to ride. For uninterrupted pedaling, we’d recommend sticking to the 1.2-mile path around its titular central lake.
On paper, you might not think of Berkeley Park as an ideal cycling destination. After all, its entire northern border is paralleled by I-70.
A little noise pollution notwithstanding, however, the 1.1-mile trail that circles Berkeley Lake is both underutilized and surprisingly scenic. Enjoy the Front Range views to the west as you ride along the well-paved pathway, passing both the park’s dog park as well as its rec center. All in all it’s an easy, enjoyable ride.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN LAKE PARK
Rocky Mountain Lake is, for all intents and purposes, the eastern fraternal twin to Berkeley Park.
Both offer mile-long paved trails and picturesque mountain views, and both also suffer from the incessant roar of traffic on I-70. This becomes significantly more noticeable along the lake’s northern banks. Still, with plenty of sports fields, playgrounds, shaded grassy areas and lakeside scenery to take in, you can’t really go wrong with an exploratory loop here.
Sandwiched in between the South Platte River and Denver’s LoDo neighborhood, Commons Park is a gathering place for downtown residents in search of a little green grass and blue sky.
The cycleable pathways here are more for recreation and commuting than exercise, which fits in with the overall laid-back feel of the area. In recent years, Commons Park has come under fire for its growing number of transients and congregating pot smokers, but don’t let that deter you from appreciating the beauty of this beautiful urban greenspace.
Originally published at www.spinlister.com on December 15, 2016.