By Allen Cowgill
With summer on the horizon, Denverites love to get outdoors.
Especially with just shy of 5,000 residents already taking advantage of Denver’s e-bike rebate program, there are plenty of places to explore. Whether you’re on an e-bike or conventional bike, here is a list of some newer trails, bike lanes and destinations to ride to as it gets warmer.
39TH AVENUE GREENWAY
Denver’s newest trail, the 39th Avenue Greenway, was completed in 2020 as part of a flood mitigation project and features new public art installations and a meandering trail through some of the historic industrial areas of the Clayton and Cole neighborhoods. It runs from Franklin Street to Steele Street. Families should be sure to check out the Nature Playground at 39th Avenue and Williams Street.
The west end of the greenway at Franklin Street features a Dutch-style shared street or “woonerf,” complete with swinging benches, where Nowhere Coffee serves coffee Wednesday-Sunday mornings out of an Airstream trailer. Stop by the giant red public art megaphones near Clayton Street, where you can talk to a friend across the floodway.
How to get there by bike: Take the South Platte Trail north from Confluence Park to 38th Street, go east on the sidewalk path on the north side of the road. After you go underneath the railroad overpass take a left on the sidewalk up toward Blake Street. Take a right on the Blake Street bike lane, and then a right on 40th Street, which will lead you to the Greenway.
ARKINS PROMENADE AND RINO ART PARK
One of the newest parks and libraries in Denver lies along the east bank of the South Platte River in the Five Points neighborhood in the Rino Art District. The former industrial area has been turned into a park and recreational area for both kids and adults.
Climb the gangway ramp to 30 feet above the ground, where you can admire the views of the river or cross the cargo net high above terra firma. Meander your way over to the lawn at the adjacent Rino Art Park where, families can enjoy the playground or adults can relax on the lounge chairs overlooking the lawn. Before you go, stop by the Bob Ragland Library, Denver’s newest branch open Tuesday-Saturday, or the nearby Alto Gallery, open Tuesday-Saturday.
How to get there by bike: Take the South Platte Trail north from Confluence Park to 38th Street. Make a hard right, doubling back into the Park.
GATEWAY SEGMENT OF THE PEAKS TO PLAINS TRAIL
This is a great option for riders who want a longer ride. Opened a couple years ago, one of the newest trails in Jefferson County winds 1.75 miles through Clear Creek Canyon. The trail starts on the western edge of Golden and gently climbs up between the canyon walls following the beautiful Clear Creek, crossing over the creek several times on new bridges built for the trail.
For the adventurous who want to stretch their legs with a quick hike, climb the steep stairs to walk along the Welch Ditch’s historic wooden water flume. On the way back, stop for lunch and beverages at the Tributary Food Hall and Drinkery in Golden, opened in 2019.
How to get there by bike: Take Meade Street north in the Regis neighborhood just past West 54th Avenue to the new serpentine path that connects to the Clear Creek Trail. Take the Clear Creek Trail about 12 miles west all the way to and through Golden to the start of the Gateway Trail.
LAKESHORE DRIVE AND WEST BYRON PLACE IN SLOANS LAKE PARK
In the spring of 2020, West Byron Place between Vrain Street and Stuart Street, along with Lakeshore Drive between Raleigh Street and West 17th Avenue, were closed to cars. They make for the perfect spot to teach young kids to bike, and you’ll often see young families doing just that on the weekend. Lakeshore Drive has also turned into a favorite spot for people who rollerblade or roller skate.
Afterward, stop by the rooftop patio at Odell’s Brewhouse at the corner of West 17th Avenue and Perry Street for pizza and view of the lake, where there is plenty of bike parking out front. How to get there by bike: Take the newly finished Perry Street neighborhood bikeway that runs from West 46th Avenue to West 20th Avenue.
Or if coming from the east, take the newly finished West 17th Avenue protected bike lane, or the West 23rd Avenue bike lane and neighborhood bikeway, which has recently been extended to the west of Lowell Boulevard.
WASHINGTON PARK AND THE MARION PARKWAY PROTECTED BIKE LANE
While Washington Park has been around for a while, the Marion Parkway protected bike lane was recently completed. The concrete protected bike lane running along Marion Parkway provides a much safer and comfortable connection between the Cherry Creek Trail and the Park.
Just recently the city installed a dedicated bike and pedestrian crossing light at East Virginia Avenue to make crossing into and out of the park easier. The park has also closed off more of the biking and walking loop to cars, making it more comfortable to bike around for people of all ages.
Families, be sure to stop by the new Washington Park Playground, opened in 2019. Bring a flat slice of a cardboard box so your kids can enjoy sliding down the artificial grass hill. How to get there by bike: From Confluence Park, take the Cherry Creek trail east to Downing Street. Take the Downing Street ramp up and turn left going south on the multi-use path. From there take a left on the Marion Street Protected Bikeway south into Washington Park.
Allen Cowgill is the City Council District 1 Appointee for the Denver DOTI Advisory Board.