When people think of Denver, they think of the Rocky Mountains. But the truth is, Denver is flat. And dry. Super dry. It’s the high plains, after all. Although Denver is the west’s water tower, it’s tough to find water. Just ask the engineers who built the High Line Canal and the series of ditches around Denver. Water is scarce. But there are several neighborhoods with great lakes that invite wonderful walks, ranging from one mile around to over six.
Here are five great places to take a walk around a lake (and ALL are dog friendly.)
Be sure to click the links for maps and more details about the parks.
In the Berkeley neighborhood, which originally watered the alfalfa of John Walker’s farm, you’ll find Berkeley Lake in Berkeley Park. It’s also got a great dog park next to it. Although leashes are required around the lake, your pup can run free in the dog park. A lap around the lake clocks about a mile. You’ll be joined by other dog walkers and baby strollers as you make your way around the lake, catching great Rocky Mountain views to the west. See a video about the park.
Be sure to stop in on the hip Tennyson neighborhood for a quick bite and cold craft. The Tennyson neighborhood in Berkeley has cute little shops and boutiques, a fabulous bookstore, and yummy eats to treat yourself. I love the delicious sunflower risotto at VitalRoot. You can’t go wrong!
Need a good pair of boots? Get them at REI where you can return them for up to a year. I wear these boots. Free Shipping at REI! EVERYONE gets U.S. standard free shipping on orders of $50 or more!
Find Berkeley Lake at 5031 W 46th Ave, Denver, CO. There’s plenty of parking in the lot.
Rocky Mountain Park Lake
Next door to Berkeley is Rocky Mountain Park, which is loaded with cedar, oak, pine, birch and cottonwood trees. Not to be confused with Rocky Mountain National Park, Rocky Mountain Park and its small lake offer up great views of the front range. Also a mile around and dog friendly (on leashes), you can finish your walk with a game of tennis! See a video about the park.
Rocky Mountain Lake, just a mile from Berkeley Lake, can combine to make a wonderful 4’ish mile loop for a double lake loop. And the entire time, you’re enjoying Rocky Mountain views. Would could be better?
If you need another suggestion for good eats nearby, grab a Wojapi and Fry Bread at Tocabe.
Find Rocky Mountain Lake Park at 3301 W 46th Ave, Denver, CO. There’s plenty of parking in the lot.
Need a great pack? Try an Osprey. The perfect backpack for your next adventure
Always bustling with skaters, riders, walkers, joggers, and strollers, the 3-mile lap around Sloan’s Lake offers picturesque views of the front range as well. You’ll often find different boating activities happening on this historic lake, including dragon boat races and sail boat regattas. From the historic Manhattan Beach, which housed circles acts, ostrich-drawn Cinderella sleds, elephants, and even flying human cannons, to pleasure boats that cruised the lake yet ultimately sank, Sloan’s Lake has invited Denverites to its shores for over a century. Now the banks have sail boats, paddle boats, and if it ever gets cold enough again for the lake to freeze for consecutive days, ice skating. Plenty of benches and playgrounds encircle the lake and in the spring and summer, you can seek out budding rose gardens. See a video about the lake.
You can’t enjoy Sloan’s without stopping at the Joyride Brewery for a foamy Bear Paw Oatmeal Milk Stout.
Find Sloan’s Lake Park at 1700 Sheridan Blvd, Denver CO. There’s plenty of parking in the lots.
Of all the gear I love, Patagonia tops the pile. FREE Shipping at Patagonia.com on all orders of $75 or more!
Not only will you find lots to do in City Park, including playing in the water fountains, meandering through the rose gardens, and playing tag in the open fields, but you can do the mile-walk around Ferril Lake, named after Denver’s Poet Laureate. In the summer, rent paddle boats or kayaks and float your way to the aviary in the center of the lake to watch geese and cormorant thrive. Be sure to find the Six Legs statue! See a video about the park.
Great treats surround City Park. I love the fact that they have not one, but two, choices in a vegetarian burger at The Goods.
Find City Park at 2001 Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO. There’s plenty of parking in the lots.
With several choices of lakes to circle, including Smith’s Pond, Grasmere Lake and Lily Pond, you can walk over 6 miles around Wash Park if you round all the choices. In addition you’ll find formal and informal gardens, fireplaces, a new playground, and even summer volleyball tournaments. Thriving with activity year round, be sure to stay in the proper lane when traveling throughout the park, as there are well-designated lanes for walkers, runners, and bikers.
Wash Park is always jumping as is the areas around it to eat as well. If I need a nice hot tea to grab before a walk, I’ll go to Wash Perk. But if I’ve got an appetite for some yummy chow, I’ll stop in at Vert Kitchen to preview their seasonal menu.
Find Wash Park at 701 S Franklin St, Denver, CO. There’s plenty of parking in the lots.
Walking around a Lake in Denver
Walking around a lake in Denver isn’t easy. Certainly you can walk around a stream or river such as the Platte or the Cherry, but lakes are few and far between down here in the prairie. I can think of a few more, like those out at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge, can you? Regardless, when you go, always using the best practices of hiking. Wear a hat, bring a jacket, carry water, grab a snack, and pick up after your puppy. It’s what all good Denverites do.
What is your favorite lake to walk around in Denver? Post your pictures and tag them with #denverbyfoot so I can see them!
See you on the trail,
PS If you’d like to see more videos about the parks, subscribe to my YouTube video channel where I review over 150 parks!
Walking Denver’s Lakes and Supporting Denver By Foot
If you’ve enjoyed this information, maybe you’ll enjoy some other walks curated by Denver By Foot. Get the 52 Hikes 52 Weeks Denver Calendar, which recommends a hike a week, subscribe to the YouTube Channel to hear about weekly hiking suggestions in Denver, and buy access to the Denver By Foot Challenge. The Challenge is 30 activities in Denver to do by foot where you’ll uncover treasures throughout Denver. It’s a great thing to do with friends and family.
See you on the trail!