Denver has greatly expanded its off-leash options for canine lovers in the past year, but Greenway Park wins high marks for security, cleanliness and doggie good vibes. Amenities include several hydrants, plenty of plastic bags and shaded benches, but it's the community feeling of the place that makes it work. It's a great place for residents to become neighbors.
Chatfield's off-leash area was originally intended for people who wanted to train hunting dogs in an outdoor environment. In fact, last year there was some question as to whether the dog-training space would remain open at all: Hunters and horseback riders had complained that the number of off-leash dogs was interfering with their use of the park. But right now there are no plans to close the dog-training area to any of its users, which means that you and your pooch can still enjoy acres and acres of open space, wooded coves, two lakes more than big enough to swim in and a creek running through the entire park. There are paved pathways as well as dirt trails weaving in and around the area, restrooms, bag stations for cleanup (you might want to bring some extras) and all the space that Rover needs for roaming.
What's the point of living in Colorado if you don't take advantage of wide-open spaces and mountain views every once in a while? This fenced five-acre park has separate real estate for shy and small dogs, and there are benches for two-legged visitors to recline while the dogs romp. You'll need to bring your own water and poop baggies — but the community feel of this park is a definite asset. As a special-use park on City of Arvada land, the West Arvada Dog Park is operated by volunteers, and upgrades are funded by donation, so slip a buck or two into the donation box and help a pup out.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.