A Walk in the Park
We have more than a few parks in Lakewood – 113 of them! The newest one is right next to our Southern Gables neighborhood. Peak View Park opened this past week and we took a walk.
All those parks cover a lot of land: 7,200 acres. That’s almost the size of all of our neighbor city Littleton. Over a quarter of Lakewood is dedicated to parks. The biggest one, of course, is Bear Creek Lake Park, with 2,600 acres right there.1 Our smallest park is the 1-acre Bonvue Park on Holland Street. Coming in at about 60 acres, our newest park finally opened this past week. It has been five years since the City of Lakewood bought the large parcel of open space from the estate of the late Vernon and Ann Taylor, and promised to keep it open for public use as a park. A naming contest gave it the name Peak View Park. It is a park of the “wide open spaces” kind, preserving the natural beauty of the rolling prairie landscape while allowing public access on trails for walking and biking.
Years have gone by with the intersection at Wadsworth and Morrison Road being dominated by construction vehicles and “do not enter” signs, and grading of the berm running south on the east side of Wadsworth. Little else could be seen of the work going on inside the area. With the opening of the park, we can now see what all that work has accomplished. It’s good: thoughtfully designed paths and trails to access the natural beauty, with the natural beauty left in its prime condition.
We took the occasion of opening day to go to the new park and check it out. In order to enter the parking lot at Wadsworth & Morrison Road, I was mindful of the “no left turn” restriction from southbound Wads. I came out of our Southern Gables neighborhood to the west, turned left on Garrison, and then left on Morrison Road. You can enter the park that way, straight-in eastbound on Morrison, or with a right turn off northbound Wadsworth. The alternative for southbound Wads would be a U-turn at Yale. Arriving at the park, there is a parking lot paved with gravel, seemingly about a foot deep as our little car struggled to wade through it. I suppose it will pack down soon enough.
The parking lot is well situated as an overlook itself, and the main path for walking and biking starts from there. The path is eight feet wide, and a sign tells us the round-trip length on the main path is a little over three quarters of a mile. You can have a longer walk by venturing out to the two overlooks connected by gravel-paved spurs off the concrete path, or by taking one of the natural-surface trails that connect to the main path. Wherever you are in the park, the views are superb. It is good to know, though, if you are endurance-limited, that the first part of the trip from the parking lot is an easy walk, all downhill. Easy-walking or coasting smoothly along, you will at some point come to the realization that when it comes to elevation, what goes down must surely have to climb back up.
Any way you do it, it’s a good walk. You can get a printable copy of the park map here.
- Hayden Park on Green Mountain has 2,400 acres, so those two giants account for most of our 7,200 acres. Bear Creek Lake Park is currently the subject of a study by the Corps of Engineers to reduce the usable land area by increasing the reservoir capacity. The case for preserving the park in its current state is presented here: Save Bear Creek Lake Park.