If you are looking for an adventure and a day you will never forget, try riding your bike to a northwest Denver neighborhood called Berkeley. This area is full of quaint shops, charming homes and plenty to explore!
My 17-year-old son Nathan and I set out to do this ride in the Spring of 2018, but a couple of geese decided to “fowl” up our plans by parking themselves in the middle of the trail under a shady bridge. The rider in front of me stopped too abruptly, forcing me to slam on my brakes, fly off my bike and break my shoulder! A year later, once I was healed and knew to slow down when approaching an underpass, we decided to try again. This time it was Berkeley or bust! Strike that. Berkeley and no bust!
Most everyone in Denver has access to the beautiful Platte River Trail, which is where our ride began. The path is flat most of the way, but I don’t recommend it for families on the weekends! It can become a dangerous freeway full of racing bikers, skaters, distracted kids on tricycles, walkers with dogs, loitering geese…you get the picture. The path is best during the weekdays and early in the mornings. When my two kids were toddlers, I used to cover some serious territory by piling them in the bike trailer with an ample supply of snacks and suckers. Doing this ride with little ones is most definitely possible!
We live in Highlands Ranch, so we started the ride at Platte River Park next to the Carson Nature Center at 3000 W Carson Dr, Littleton, CO 80120.
The ride is 36 miles round trip, but there are plenty of parks, popsicle stops, and fun sights to break up the journey. If I lost you at 36 miles, don’t stop reading! At the end of this article, I will give you two more options with less mileage. Hudson Gardens is a gorgeous spot to get your kiddos an icy treat. Nixon’s right by the river will be there waiting for you on your way there or on your way back. https://www.nixonscoffeehouse.com/
After a few more miles if you need a potty spot or a break from the bike trailer, Grant-Frontier Park is full of rustic fun! It is located at Evans Ave. on the east bank of the South Platte River and is sure to bring out the imagination in your little adventurers! This park looks as if all the equipment is made from logs and it has many picturesque places to sit and enjoy the river.
From the park, you will ride six more miles until you see the Broncos Stadium on your left. Cross the railroad tracks and ride around the stadium. Be sure to take a photo by the majestic bronze bronco herd and pay tribute to past Bronco greats like the gentlemen who have worn jersey number seven.
Head west on W 17th Ave/Dick Connor Ave toward N Federal Blvd. Go 1.8 miles to Meade St where you will see lovely Sloan’s Lake. Jump on the Sloan’s Lake bike trail going right and partially around the lake. Look for Tennyson St. and take another right. This will take you straight into the heart of Berkeley. You will pass the old Elitch Gardens merry go round structure right before you get there.
Once you arrive, you will be faced with a difficult decision. Do you stop at the Cozy Cottage or Wendell’s for breakfast?
The Cozy Cottage
The Cozy Cottage, located at 4363 Tennyson St. is a darling breakfast spot where you can sit on the patio and listen to the trickle of a fountain while enjoying the surrounding gardens and Clematis covered pergolas. The menu features unique items like eggs with pulled pork and avocado, over a grilled parmesan English muffin finished with a signature garlic rosemary cream sauce. https://www.cozyupdenver.com/menu
If you prefer to try out the “pancake of the week,” Wendell’s Diner also has a serene outdoor patio area.
High Point Creamery
If breakfast is too much of a commitment with little ones, you could also consider making your destination The High Point Creamery with ice cream flavors like Basil Blackberry Swirl, Earl Grey and Shortbread or Coconut Crème Brulee. https://www.highpointcreamery.com/menu
Denver Cat Company
If you aren’t into food at all, but really into cats, you can visit a purrrfect spot the kids will love! Visit the Denver Cat Company. https://www.denvercatco.com/visit-us Kids one and up are $10. This fee helps support the Cat Company’s mission to give rescue cats a place to settle and to let their prospective owners get to know them before adoption. You can stay as long as you like and enjoy snacks and drinks in this paws-itively precious place!
If all this sounds like a lot of fun, but riding 36 miles with kids in tow does not, there are other places you can start. Here are the route distances from the previously mentioned landmarks.
Hudson Gardens: 30 miles round trip (6115 S Santa Fe Dr, Littleton, CO 80120)
Grant Frontier Park: 18 miles round trip (2300 S Platte River Dr, Denver, CO 80223). If you decide to take the Berkeley Cottage, Creamery and Cat Company adventure please comment and post photos!