Enclosed in Cherry Creek State Park, the shores of the Cherry Creek Reservoir are well-developed, dotted with day use areas, swim beaches, covered pavilions, and attentive architecture in a city park within 30 minutes of downtown Denver. Spanning 4,000 acres of park and an 880 surface-acre reservoir, Cherry Creek State Park offers an airfield for hobbyist model aircraft and a shooting range that is open to the public—two unique features that are exceedingly rare for a city park. The park features several day use areas, a marina, and boat ramps.
Among the numerous day use areas here, including Dixon Grove, East Shades, and Cherry Creek, the West Shades Day Use Area includes a covered pavilion for picnicking and a handful of covered picnic tables. With special attention to architectural detail, the covered picnic tables are shaded by concrete umbrellas with grooves that give it the impression of a saw.
The sandy shore is broad and spacious with ample room for children to play or to pitch a shady tarp alongside the waters. Facing east, West Shades Swim Beach lacks the sweeping views of the Front Range, but it compensates with smaller crowds unless you are visiting on a summer weekend. Its waters are open to motorized and non-motorized boats and are accessible from the boat ramps on either side of the lake. The nearby Cherry Creek Marina offers boat rentals.
The day use area includes a fishing pier for anglers, who can drop a line from the shore. Colorado Parks and Wildlife annually stocks Cherry Creek Reservoir with fish, including rainbow trout, walleye, black crappie, channel catfish, and wiper. Check with the park service for current regulations regarding the catch.
The network of trails at Cherry Creek extends for several miles throughout the park, and a trail follows the contours of the Cherry Creek Reservoir to the wetlands at its southeastern corner—a peaceful urban oasis for visitors seeking escape.
Be advised that no lifeguards are stationed at the beach.