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The South Platte River Greenway Trail is a huge draw for Denver residents and offers easy pedestrian and bike-friendly access to several city attractions including Invesco Field, Elich Gardens, the Childern’s Museum, and several city parks. The Greenway Foundation, founded in 1974, has poured over $60 million in the last 30 years into restoring the river for recreational use.
This 7-mile out-and-back covers a short stretch of the path between the Denver’s downtown REI and Valverde Park. But the paved pedestrian byway stretches 15 miles north to the border of Adams County and nearly 20 miles south to the Chatfield Resevoir, so there are plenty of options for lengthening your outing or exploring more of the city.
The riverside path is generally flat, wide, and smooth pavement with a few optional gravel sections. On summer days it can be teeming with foot, bicycle, even rollerblade traffic, so stick to the right-hand side of the path, keep hold of small kids, and a tight leash on dogs.
-Mapped by Justin Lesniak
- Distance: 11.4
Location: 39.7550283, -105.0095572
This route begins at the REI flagship store on 1416 Platte Street. From the store’s main entrance, walk 100 feet east towards the concrete walkway that is the South Platte River Greenway and turn right, or south. Other nearby access points: Fishback Landing (south on Water Street), and Skate Park (19th and Little Raven Streets) also have parking.
Location: 39.7520591, -105.0124912
About 0.3 miles from the REI, the path skirts Denver’s Downtown Aquarium on the right as you continue to hike south along the river.
Location: 39.7486219, -105.0159458
This route crosses small trolley tracks near Denver’s Children’s Museum and takes a winding path through the lawn. Be sure to stop at the playgound at Gates-Crescent park up ahead, and to take advantage of seasonal restrooms there as well.
Location: 39.7368089, -105.0179733
There’s a street-level crossing at mile 1.5. Look both ways before continuing south across 13th Avenue.
Location: 39.7299203, -105.0172618
Stay to the left at this Y-junction. The uphill ramp accesses 8th Avenue, but this route follows the lower trail. Turn left up ahead to cross the river toward a rest-stop at Frog Hollow Park (seasonal restrooms and water also available here).
Location: 39.717483, -105.0046408
About 3.2 miles from the REI where this mapped route began, cross another pedestrian bridge.
Location: 39.7138597, -105.0017374
Though the Greenway Path continues south, this mapped route ends at Valverde Park. The ball fields and basketball courts here are slated for a $5 million renovation. If you’re on a bicycle, or have more time, consider continuing on the path before backtracking north.
South Platte River
Location: 39.7547354, -105.0089121
The calm waters of the South Platte River are a draw for families.
Location: 39.7537993, -105.0101057
Look left, across the river, toward Elich Gardens (an amusement park) and the Pepsi Center (home of the Denver Nuggets).
Location: 39.7430261, -105.0168675
The trail also skirts the entrance to Invesco Field, home of the Denver Broncos.
Location: 39.7393776, -105.0179565
The scenery turns industrial as the trail continues south under Colfax Avenue, but alongside the river, it’s still peaceful.
Location: 39.7229065, -105.0127879
One of the many parks along the South Platte River Greenway, Milstein Park is only accessible via the pedestrian and bike path. A lack of cars lends it a peaceful feel. It’s also a great place to catch river views.
River from Milstein
Location: 39.7223123, -105.0114012
Rocks alongside the river in Milstein Park offer great views of the river rolling by.