Sunday, August 23, 2009

Crown Hill Park in Lakewood/Wheat Ridge Colorado

The Crown Hill Park located in Lakewood and Wheat Ridge Colorado was created in 1979 and has 242 acres of wilderness and over 6.5 miles of hiking trails. The park is located on the east side of Kipling Street between 26th and 32nd Avenues. The main parking lot is located on 26th Ave, east of Kipling, where there are restrooms, picnic tables, drinking water, and wheelchair access to the trails. There is also some smaller parking areas across the street from Wheat Ridge High School on 32nd, and if you continue on 32nd east towards Wadsworth, there is another area about a half mile from the school.
My favorite part of the workday is walking over to Crown Hill Park for lunch, and taking some time to walk through the park and on the trails near the lake. As a Midwesterner originally, I love water and lakes of all kinds, so this park is close to my heart in that I can be near the water! I can watch people fishing (fishing with a license is enforced), see the ducks and geese playing in the water, and watch the fish jump and it all reminds me of back home!

The park has incredible mountain views from every angle as well! You can see as far north as the Flat Irons, and as far south as Green Mountain and a little beyond. On a clear day, you can see the big snow covered peaks above the front range mountains and on those days, I am so thankful I live in such a beautiful state!

There are two main loops in the park, a 1.2 mile loop around the lake, and a 2 mile loop around the perimeter of the park. Bicyclists, horses, and walkers are welcome on most trails, and the two main trails are paved. There are multiple smaller foot paths and natural trails throughout the park which adds to the mileage significantly if you want to roam through them. There is also a fitness loop on the south end of the park near 26th Ave with multiple fitness stations to change up your workout if you'd like!
Here is a map of the park:

One very unique part of this Park, there is a wildlife sanctuary and pond as part of the park which only hikers are allowed into. (no dogs in there either!) You can walk through the preserve and see even more animals than within the park itself.

I drive past this park to work everyday, and I often see animals in the park such as squirrels, rabbits, deer, and coyotes. I have seen several coyotes in this park, mostly in the mornings, and even saw two running together one time, and another carrying a dead rabbit in it's mouth. This is definitely a nature preserve in an urban setting, so practice caution as when you hike at all times, but specifically dawn and dusk when animals are most active.

This park is known for it's sunsets, as the sun sets over the mountains you can sit on a park bench and watch the colors in the sky reflect over the lake!

Park Quick Facts: (rated 1 - 3) To see the Criteria click here
Difficulty - (1)
mostly paved trails
Distance (driving) - (1)
within 10 minutes from my house near the Mills Mall
Crowded (2) - This is a fairly crowded park and there are always lots of people using the trails in this beautiful setting!

Amount of Trails (2)-
There are 6.5 miles of trails within the park.
Length of time - You can walk around the lake loop in as little as 30 minutes, or you can spend several hours roaming the inner trails and large 2 mile outer loop.
For the dog lover - With all the traffic, horses, and bikers, it is best to keep your dog on a leash. I have never seen dogs playing in the water either, it may be enforced to keep them out of the water.
Bathrooms? There are restrooms at the 26th Ave parking lot, which are very nice, and they are not port-o-pots.

(you can click on map, zoom in and out, and get directions to Crown hill)

View Larger Map

(Mouse over photos to read captions and stop slideshow)

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