Sloan’s Lake Park is a cultural and recreational epicenter of the city that’s situated at the western edge of Denver; neighboring Wheat Ridge, Edgewater, and Lakewood. While Colorado is admired for its boundless potential for recreational opportunity, it’s not renowned for having an abundance of water. Sloan’s Lake is an urban oasis in this sense, and it draws droves of boaters, stand-up paddleboarders, fishermen, and people looking to spread a blanket and soak it all in.
If you’re more of a dry-land goer, the 2.6-mile paved trail around the lake is extremely popular with runners, and it is a safe place to run in the city if you’re going it solo. It’s very flat, well maintained, and well marked. Bikers, rollerbladers, and dog walkers frequent the trail as well. There’s hardly a better way to get a view of Denver’s energetic skyline than as you’re gazing across the placid lake.
Shady trees along the edge of the trail on some stretches help to manage the temperature on hot days, and, once finished, you’l be within steps of the cool, calm lake for toe dipping. In addition to the sweeping Denver skyline, there are also myriad bird species to spot around the like while traveling on the trail. The most common birds spotted at Sloan’s Lake are Canada geese, barn swallows, seagulls, and nighthawks who perform aerial acrobatics at sundown in quite the theatrical fashion. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife agency stocks the lake with black crappie, carp, and trout, which draw cormorants and herons. Watch the lake’s muddy flats for long enough and you could spot the two semi-aquatic rodents most often seen at Sloan’s Lake: native muskrats and non-native nutria. Though they’ll rarely risk an encounter with a human, coyotes live in the area and pray on small game in the park after sundown.
Note that during sunny weekends it can be difficult to find a parking spot; likewise, it can be a bit of a challenge to navigate the congested trail without constantly moving over for bikes or dodging pedestrians. For most, though, the added people watching enhances the experiences and serves as an interesting sampling of the surrounding community.