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Cherry Creek

Description: Denver residents appreciate the quick getaway from the urban hubbub. The park on the southern side of the Mile High City features a simple, mostly multiuse 35-mile trail system, with almost half of it paved and heavily trafficked. The paths span through prairies, marshes and deep stands of cottonwood trees. Boaters and anglers flock to Cherry Creek Reservoir, which is home to ramps and marinas. Other amenities include a family shooting range, a model airplane field, stables offering horse rentals and an off-leash area for dogs.

Activities: Hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, boating, water and jet skiing, sail and paddle sports, camping, swimming, cross- country skiing/snowshoeing.

Wildlife: Some white-tailed deer and prairie dogs, many small mammals including coyotes, beavers and muskrats; walleye, bass, trout, crappie, bluegill; bald and golden eagles spotted, pelicans among shorebirds, prairie and woodland songbirds.

Fun fact: In the late 1850s, prospectors flocked to Cherry Creek and made it a center of the Pikes Peak Gold Rush.

Address: 4201 South Parker Road, Aurora, 80014,

Contact: 303-690-1166, cherry.creek.park@state.co.us

Hours: Day use 5 a.m.-10 p.m.

Directions: Take Interstate 25 north to Denver. Go east for a short distance on I-225 and take the exit for Parker Road. Drive a mile south to Lehigh Avenue and turn right to the park entrance.

SETH BOSTER, THE GAZETTE