Face it: Every so often, running among the alpine splendor, majestic elk and views of the Continental Divide gets, well, boring. At times like those, it's nice to have something civilized to look at. This three-mile stretch of the Highline Canal provides a rare kind of scenery for the jogging voyeur: close-up vistas of the rich and famous. Check out the backsides of 10,000-square-foot mansions! Thrill to six-figure landscaping jobs! They'll never know you were there.


When this thirteen-mile stretch of urban trail opened to the public last summer -- amid cheers from outdoor enthusiasts -- it marked the completion of a fifty-mile loop in the northeast metro area by connecting the Highline Canal in Aurora to the Platte River Greenway in Commerce City. Now you can take the grand tour: Open to anyone or anything without a motor, the spanking new trail hightails it through the old Stapleton Airport; the lazy cottonwood groves and wetlands along its stretch provide homes to all manner of wildlife, such as mule deer, foxes and waterfowl, not to mention a fine swath of good old peace and quiet. Future trail development includes plans for parks, preserved wildlife habitats, interpretive markers and other backcountry amenities. What a way to go.
When this thirteen-mile stretch of urban trail opened to the public last summer -- amid cheers from outdoor enthusiasts -- it marked the completion of a fifty-mile loop in the northeast metro area by connecting the Highline Canal in Aurora to the Platte River Greenway in Commerce City. Now you can take the grand tour: Open to anyone or anything without a motor, the spanking new trail hightails it through the old Stapleton Airport; the lazy cottonwood groves and wetlands along its stretch provide homes to all manner of wildlife, such as mule deer, foxes and waterfowl, not to mention a fine swath of good old peace and quiet. Future trail development includes plans for parks, preserved wildlife habitats, interpretive markers and other backcountry amenities. What a way to go.
Confluence Park
Heading northwest on the Cherry Creek Bike Path out of the Denver Country Club area, you'll dodge bums, baby strollers and bicyclists, then tackle the impressive rise leading to Confluence Park. Take a moment to catch your breath and enjoy the view -- which often includes several neophyte kayakers rolling over onto their heads in the South Platte, as well as all the mind-blowing construction in the Platte Valley. Now head across the bridge and over to the Starbucks at REI: You've earned your latte grande.
Heading northwest on the Cherry Creek Bike Path out of the Denver Country Club area, you'll dodge bums, baby strollers and bicyclists, then tackle the impressive rise leading to Confluence Park. Take a moment to catch your breath and enjoy the view -- which often includes several neophyte kayakers rolling over onto their heads in the South Platte, as well as all the mind-blowing construction in the Platte Valley. Now head across the bridge and over to the Starbucks at REI: You've earned your latte grande.


City Park
From Inspiration Point, at 50th Ave. and Sheridan Blvd. in northwest Denver -- which also happens to be one of the town's best makeout locations, if you still go for that sort of thing -- you can take in the entire Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, without many of those nasty man-made obstacles to mar the view. The sight of all those purple mountain majesties is positively swoon-worthy. Excuse us while we kiss the sky.
From Inspiration Point, at 50th Ave. and Sheridan Blvd. in northwest Denver -- which also happens to be one of the town's best makeout locations, if you still go for that sort of thing -- you can take in the entire Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, without many of those nasty man-made obstacles to mar the view. The sight of all those purple mountain majesties is positively swoon-worthy. Excuse us while we kiss the sky.


You don't need to look at the sundial that's the centerpiece of Cramner Park to know that time's almost up for this great view. Looking west, you see some of Denver's most elegant homes -- but beyond those homes is a hodgepodge of new construction that threatens to block much of the mountain backdrop.
You don't need to look at the sundial that's the centerpiece of Cramner Park to know that time's almost up for this great view. Looking west, you see some of Denver's most elegant homes -- but beyond those homes is a hodgepodge of new construction that threatens to block much of the mountain backdrop.


Cheesman Park
When you gotta go, you gotta go -- and there's no better place in Denver to let loose than the bathrooms at Commons Park. But then, they should look good: Like the park itself, these privies cost plenty. Made of stone, they fit nicely into the Commons' urban setting, with the Platte River in the backdrop and pricey loft project after pricey loft project in the foreground. And unlike many public facilities, these are usually open. Now if only the city could get that year-round water fountain flowing year-round...

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