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Pack a picnic and grab your bike for this city adventure

The Cherry Creek bike path through Denver offers a way to adventure through the city, see plenty of art and a place to relax in the shade with a picnic.

DENVER — As we venture into month five of life during a pandemic, many Coloradans are buying outdoor gear and – with encouragement from Gov. Jared Polis – spending a lot of time outside. 

I'm no different. I bought a used 10-speed bicycle off the Nextdoor app a few weeks ago and have brought some city exploring on wheels back into my life after more than a decade. 

If you find yourself in the same boat (or should I say bike?), try this little city adventure solo or with the family. 

The Cherry Creek bike path is an oldie but a goodie, and I recently stumbled upon the path down to Confluence Park and now find myself there a few times a week.

>> This story is part of our special GET OUTSIDE! series for #9Neighborhoods. Join us on Instagram on Friday for more photos and videos! 

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Cherry Creek bike path

This paved bike path is actually 40 miles. It starts at Confluence Park and follows Cherry Creek southeast to Cherry Creek State Park and eventually ends in Franktown.  

According to VISIT DENVER, most of the bike path is sunken below Speer Boulevard – which makes for a peaceful ride – but there's easy access to the path from various roads and ramps and to city parks like Sunken Gardens, Alamo Placita Park and Four Mile Historic Park.

Things to know:

  • Bring water: It's an easy ride but can get hot!
  • Most of the path is divided to separate traffic direction, so you'll be sharing with pedestrians and people on scooters. The last stretch of the path near Confluence Park splits so wheels are on one side and foot traffic is on the other. 
  • Bring/wear a mask: Most people wear face coverings while on the path, and if you plan to walk around at Confluence Park I'd recommend bringing one for that.

>> Click on locations on the map below for photos and more information

Art

Credit: Dacia Johnson
Murals on the Cherry Creek bike path.

One of my favorite parts about the ride through Denver is the art – there are dozens of bright murals along the walls, under bridges and up ramps to main roads. 

While I don't recommend stopping in the middle of the path, there are plenty of places to pull over and get out of the way to enjoy the colorful creations. 

RELATED: New mural on Cherry Creek bike path honors first African-American world cycling champion

Confluence Park

Located at 2250 15th St.  and where Cherry Creek and the South Platte River meet and mingle, is Confluence Park.

Credit: Dacia Johnson
Looking down from the bridge at Confluence Park.

The Cherry Creek bike path ends here, but take the bridge over the South Platte River to continue onto the South Platte River Trail.

In the grassy area at Confluence Park or on the steps along the river is where I park my purple 80s speedster and pull out a picnic to enjoy the fresh air, the brave souls tubing and panoramic views of downtown Denver. 

So seriously, pack a picnic, a blanket and spend the afternoon here. There are places to lock up bikes if you want to venture on foot across the bridge to the north side of the South Platte to check out REI or the Denver Trolly.

And consider yourself warned, the area can be very crowded on weekends when families bring tents and hang by the water. It's much less crowded on weekdays. 

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Credit: Dacia Johnson
Picnic at Confluence Park.

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