Get to Know Your Greenway
By: J.J. Clark
SPREE Staff Writer
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Located on the east side of Denver, and immediately adjacent to the Cherry Creek Trail, is Cook Park, an adventure filled space with a lot of everything. In addition to a recreation center with a swimming pool and gym, the open spaces in the park are a diverse collection of different landscapes. The middle of the park is dominated by large soccer fields and a rugby field near the recreation center, but the side of the park adjacent to Monaco has a forest of established trees, a creek with multiple bridges passing over, and benches everywhere you might want to sit and enjoy the view for a while.
This park is large enough that if you do not make an effort to see it all, you could miss some incredible hidden secrets. The recreation center and playground are apparent, but if you walk to the west side of the park, you will find a small creek flowing through incredible large trees. If it is warm enough, you can jump in and look for crawdads beneath the rocks, but if it is too cold, then you can walk along the creek and cross the water using the small bridges. On your walk along the creek, you can stop by a few benches and listen to the water flowing by, or follow the water downstream to where it goes beneath Cherry Creek Dr. and into the Cherry Creek itself.
A walk around the entire park is well worth the effort. The park is so large that the many areas feel like independent parks, making Cook Park a prized open space along one of Denver’s urban waterways. If you ride your bike, keep an active eye out for the park to the south of the trail, despite its size, it is easyto speed past when you are peddling along. If you drive, take some time to go visit the Cherry Creek. In this part of town, it is freed from the concrete channel that characterizes the Cherry Creek from Downing into Downtown. Trees and vegetation dominate the banks, while sandbars and skipping rocks make for great exploring.
There are picnic spaces with shade structures and grills that can be permitted for events, and a large playground situated next to seasonal bathrooms. If you are looking to do an organized event, spend some time exploring with kids, or just need a space to walk, think, or take a few pictures, Cook Park will have what you are looking for.