As cyclists who frequently road bike around Cherry Creek State Park, we got a great new perspective and felt like the park got a whole lot bigger. (There are 12 miles of paved paths, but 36 total miles of multi-use trails! See a detailed trail map here.)
Before entering the park at the beginning of the ride, there are some lovely beginner mountain bike trails. They were thoughtfully designed and have many "features" like rocks and logs, but in every instance you have the choice to simply bike around. We skipped many of them but couldn't resist the teeter-totter ramp!
The park was strikingly beautiful in late October with all the fall colors, and you get views of the water, the mountains and downtown Denver.
We saw many birds and animals from Pelicans to bunnies and prairie dogs. (The park website says the unique ecosystem in the park attracts various raptor species including bald eagle, red-tailed hawk , northern harrier and ferruginous hawk, and more than 40 mammal species roam through the park, including eastern cottontail rabbit, coyote, beaver, muskrat, raccoon, weasel, ground squirrel, mule deer, white-tailed deer, and scampering black-tailed prairie dogs.)
Cherry Creek State Park has a shooting range, and the route will take you close to this area. We personally never love to hear and be close to gun shot sounds.
We biked this in the Fall and some of the single track trails were quite narrow and had high/overgrown grass and bushes that scratch your legs. We felt safe biking this in the cooler temperature, but we imagine when it is warm, there might be snakes to look out for.
On the southwest side of the Park, there is some new road construction going on. It wasn't disruptive to the route itself, but it does effect the enjoyment of beauty and nature in that area.
Do this ride if you want a short, fun and relatively easy ride not too far from downtown Denver on a large variety of trails from single track, double track, crushed gravel paths and paved bike trails. You'll enjoy views of the reservoir, the mountains and the city of Denver.
You can park in the Kennedy Park Baseball Fields Parking Lot where there is plenty of parking and a port-a-pottie. It is right on the Cherry Creek bike path which goes to downtown Denver, so you can easily make this a longer ride (with more pavement) if you want. (It adds 10 miles each way, or a total of 20 miles from Downtown.)
Cyclists and pedestrians do not have to pay a fee to enter the Cherry Creek Sate Park if you are biking or walking in. Keep in mind that if you want to start this ride from inside the park, cars are required to pay.
There are plenty of bathrooms throughout the state park all along the route.
Please use proper trail etiquette: bikers yield to hikers, all yield to horses.
You'll definitely want to download and follow the route on a bike computer. Some of the single track trail turns are hiding in tall grass and can be easy to miss if you aren't aware they are there.
Part of the route (the 12 Mile Trail) goes through the park's unleashed dog park. Bikes are allowed here, but if you are uncomfortable around loose dogs, you might want to look at an alternative way around. (Weekends and evenings are very busy with lots of dogs and people, so week days and mid-day are preferable.)
There aren't any places to get food or water on the route, so make sure you plan accordingly and take enough supplies. In the summer months, you can stop at the Pelican Bay Pub at Cherry Creek in the Marina, but in the Fall it is closed for the season.