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Let’s Walk! One Family Gives the Scoop on Embarking on The Big Dry Creek Trail

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One of the bright spots of Colorado’s Safe at Home mandate is the easy access to abundant, inspiring outdoor spaces. In fact, everyone is encouraged to get outside for sunshine, exercise, and even a little adventure — a long as the safest practices are followed. 

Chances are you’ve walked around your own neighborhood many, many times. No matter where you live, you and your kids might be craving a change of scenery. With a little research and planning, you can take your daily walks to a whole new level without traveling beyond the recommended 15-mile radius of your home. For example, JeffCo has 244 miles of trails. The City of Westminster, alone, has 150 miles of trails, featuring wide open spaces, urban experiences, opportunities to spot animals, and sweeping views of the Rocky Mountains. To compare, famously outdoorsy Boulder County has 110 miles of trails. This isn’t a competition, of course, but it’s good to know you don’t have to go far for beautiful, challenging, and quirky walks with your kids. 

A good place to start is Westminster’s Big Dry Creek Trail. Designated as a National Recreation Trail, Big Dry Creek winds through over 1000 acres of open space and parks. It’s 12-mile length snakes from the eastern edge of Standley Lake Regional Park to Thornton, beyond I-25. The trail includes a mix of paved and unpaved stretches.

Many of our walking adventures have featured different sections of the Big Dry Creek Trail. Our family is going to eventually visit the entire length of the trail over the coming weeks. Here is a snapshot that might inspire you to branch out and explore what other neighborhoods in the metro area have to offer. We began at Standley Lake Regional Park, which is technically just west of the trailhead. It’s a great landmark to kick off getting to know the area.

This large body of water is home to numerous recreational activities, including camping, paddling, kayaking, hiking, picnicking, and fishing. There is also a bald eagle viewing area (and live eagle cam!) At this time, many of these activities are on hold, but as restrictions begin to loosen this will change. For now, everyone is welcome to walk the 14 miles of trails around Standley Lake, including sections of the Rocky Mountain Greenway Trail. There are three miles of shoreline to explore, too. 

Step up your family walking (or biking) game with sandy shores, soaring eagles, wildflower-bordered paths, and relatively uncrowded conditions. It’s easy to social distance, get some sun, hear waves lapping on the sand, and see a magnificent view at Standley Lake Regional Park. As usual, bring water and snacks, hats and sunscreen, and give yourself time to explore the wide-open wonders right in your own backyard. 

Next week: As we head east on the trail, things get more urban with quirky, Instagrammable murals and a donut break! 


Gretchen White
Author: Gretchen White

Gretchen is a mom of nine careening toward 50 in Colorado. She writes about the people, places and things she loves.

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