Sloan’s Lake – something for everyone
By Lisa Nicklanovich; photo courtesy of Andrew Nicklanovich
Just west of downtown Denver is Sloan’s Lake Park, which covers 290 acres of water and green space. In addition to boating and fishing on the lake, the surrounding park offers hiking and biking trails, sports fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, picnic areas and multiple playgrounds. In fact, just about the only thing a visitor can’t do at Sloan’s Lake is swim in the lake itself.
At 177 acres, the lake is Denver’s largest body of water. The lake is named after the first landowner, Thomas M. Sloan, who used the land for agricultural and farming purposes in the 1860s. It is said Sloan dug a well on the land and accidentally tapped into an underground aquifer, flooding his farm and creating Sloan’s Lake or “Sloan’s Leak” as it would sometimes be called.
From 1881 to 1908, an amusement park known as Manhattan Beach operated on the shores of the lake. Now, Sloan’s Lake Loop, the 2.6-mile paved trail that circles the entire lake, is very popular for walking, running and cycling. Canoes, paddleboards, and kayaks can be launched lakeside. In the park, children scramble on the playgrounds, dogs sniff and explore (on leashes), and the park attracts birdwatchers too.
Sloan’s Lake hosts the annual Dragon Boat Festival, which includes dragon boat racing, culture, arts, entertainment and food. While the event is typically held in July, it is currently scheduled for September 25 and 26 this year.
Apartment buildings and restaurants have sprung up with sweeping views of the lake, the mountains and the Denver skyline, but the views can be enjoyed lakeside too. The neighborhood surrounding the lake has a mix of architecture; brick bungalows built in the 1920s next to newly remodeled townhomes.
In addition to the many restaurant choices surrounding the lake and the option to picnic at the lake, the Edgewater Public Market is close by. The Edgewater is a collective of local food stalls, retail shops and rotating events. Choosing a meal from one of the many stalls can be a challenge; there are crepes, burgers, empanadas, Ethiopian and Venezuelan food, to name just a few. Tables are available inside and outside, but either way, it is a very lively atmosphere. Visit Happy Cones for a unique fruit-infused ice cream cone for dessert.
Sloan’s Lake truly has something for everyone.