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Let’s Walk! A Place to Honor and a Place to Play

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The Big Dry Creek Trail has taken us from Standley Lake’s scenic shores to eye-popping underpass art. We walked buzzy Butterfly Pavilion-skirting trails and feasted on more cool murals, all in the name of exploratory walking. The next sliver of the trail features an opportunity to honor. With Memorial Day in the rearview mirror and Independence Day on the horizon, consider visiting Westminster’s Armed Forces Tribute Garden as part of your family outside time. 

Six branches of the armed forces are honored in this contemplative space just off the Big Dry Creek Trail. Normally, there is a large fountain flowing. Striking statuary rests on top, depicting the bond between soldiers as they mourn their lost. Flags flap in the wind. It is a place to quietly honor those who have served. 

After paying your respects, continue on the trail to the north, toward the Westin Hotel. You’ll see a large silver fish spinning in the sun, reflecting the ecosystem of the creek and ponds in the area. Here, the trail forks. If you go to the left, you will find yourselves at the Promenade Terrace. This also features water, which is currently turned off until further notice. Even without water, the terrace is picturesque, with steps and rocks blending into the hillside. Plenty of trees provide ample shade on hot days. The Promenade Terrace has that lovely hidden feeling that makes you forget you are in a city. 

Onward! This particular walk finally kicks into high gear once you return to the trail. You have a few options. Return to the fish, or merge onto a trail at the top of the terrace. Either way, journey east toward Westminster’s massive City Park. It boasts over 200 acres of fields, 18-hole disc golf, a playground, pond, more trails, an amazing sledding hill (bookmark in your brain for this winter!) and more. The Trail snakes along the northern edge, taking you toward Sheridan Blvd. 

Once the City Park Recreation Center is open to the public, it could be a fun day to walk The Big Dry Creek Trail with swimsuits and towels in your backpacks. On top of the hill and up about 4000 stairs, visit the indoor swimming pool and terrace, either to cool down or warm-up. 

This walk wraps up at Sheridan Blvd. At this time, there is no mural art on this underpass, mostly because of the rocky nature of the surroundings. This is where we turned around and headed back to the Armed Forces Garden and our car. The distance of the walk isn’t long — about 2 miles, but it is long on meaning, variety, and opportunity to have spontaneous fun on the wide lawns of the massive field. 

Parking: Christopher Fields Baseball/Softball fields have plenty of parking near the Armed Forces Memorial Garden. Access off 104th Avenue. The Garden is easily spotted from the street. 

Nearby: Restaurants, shopping, a movie theater, Butterfly Pavilion (check for status on opening)

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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