Get to Know Your Greenway
Bear Creek Park and Natural Area
By: J.J. Clark
SPREE Staff Writer
Other Get to Know Your Greenway Articles on left
The Bear Creek is a tributary of the South Platte River. This means that the water from the Bear Creek flows into the South Platte River. The confluence of these two waterways is located on the west side of Santa Fe just south of Hampden. The Bear Creek trail is a great place to find thick brush and quiet bike rides or jogs right in the city. If you follow the Bear Creek Trail west you will arrive at
Bear Creek Lake Park, which offers camping and swimming. For more information on camping and activities at Bear Creek Lake Park, visit the city of Lakewood's website: Bear Creek Lake Park Information.
On the Bear Creek trail just east of Sheridan Ave. sits Bear Creek Park, home of the famous sombrero slide. The sombrero has been at its current location since the early 70's, and it was beginning to show signs of age and wear. With a bit of sandblasting and painting it is once again the centerpiece to a wonderful park space along Denver's waterways.
Visible from highway 285 (Hampden) the new playground offers a water feature, brand new playground equipment, a climbing wall, and the sculpted knees and boot of a fabled giant cowboy. As the inscription on the stone adjacent to the sculpture says, "On the plains of Colorado roamed a giant cowboy...He traveled across the land, herding cattle from town to town...."
The Bear Creek is a natural oasis in the city. The sculpted playground sits just across the concrete bike path from the Bear Creek itself. On one side the park the playground, soccer field, shade structures, and picnic areas. On the other side of the creek is the largest undeveloped natural area within the city limits of Denver. Exploring you will find signs of beaver such as downed trees, dams, and dens. The natural area is filled with diverse plant life. You will see: Cattail, Blue Grama (the Colorado state grass), Wheatgrass, Brome, Wild Rose, Cottonwood, Box Elder, Mullein, Rabbit Brush, and many more.
Whether you are looking for a picnic and play afternoon, or a hike through a bit of wild land, Bear Creek Park has it all.