Sloan Lake Trail
Sloan Lake Trail

Sloan Lake Trail

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Sloan Lake Trail

Sloan Lake Trail

Distance: 2.6mi
Elevation: 13ft
Time: 1h

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The Sloan Lake Trail is a charming nature walk in Denver’s city centre. Escape the hustle and bustle of the state’s capital and hike the perimeter of the lovely Sloan Lake. Level and accessible to wheelchairs and strollers, this epic adventure is a popular lunchtime and weekend destination for Denverites. Walk amongst the locals as you venture to the scenic park.

Sloan Lake Trail Map

Getting there

The Sloan Lake Trail is in Denver’s City Centre. Find the parking lot and trailhead off West Byron Place.

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Backcountry Campground


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Pets allowed

Yes - On Leash

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Sloan Lake Trail
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Sloan Lake Trail Description

Sloan Lake is a shimmering lake situated in the northwest corner of Denver. This large lake is a calm oasis amongst the busyness of the city. The well-maintained path and epic vistas attract many locals and tourists alike, notably in the warmer months. If you are in search of a secluded nature walk, then you may want to consider another hike. Lunch time and weekends are especially busy as city-goers flock to the nearby park to reconnect with nature and relax by the lake’s shore. In the last few years there has been an increase of blue algae in the water, so best not to let your dog(s) drink the water. It is also worth noting that the perimeter path is entirely exposed, so dress according to the forecast!

The Sloan Lake Trail is an awesome destination for relaxing, reconnecting with nature, and leaving the stressors of the real-world in the rear-view mirror. The picturesque path will guide you along the shore’s edge while revealing stunning sights of the Denver skyline and the mountainous wilderness that hems the horizon. Perfect for families, the terrain is easy to navigate and well-maintained. It is even stroller and wheelchair accessible! Surprisingly, this hike is also an ideal spot for birdwatching. Penny Island, which is a small, barren island in the middle of the lake, has a manmade osprey nesting structure, where they can often be observed! Not to mention the dozens of ducks, geese, pelicans, and seagulls that swarm the lake. Ultimately this hike is a must-add to your Denver itinerary, whether you choose to sit along the shoreline or venture the perimeter, you will be impressed.

The Sloan Lake Trail can really be started from anywhere along the lake as there are many connecting paths, but for clarity’s sake, we departed from the trailhead and parking lot off West Byron Place. From here, you can choose to complete the perimeter hike from either direction, but we recommended trekking counterclockwise. From the trailhead at the picnic area, you will want to merge onto the Sloan Lake Trail and track south. As you walk along the west side of the lake, you will be rewarded with expansive views of the skyscrapers and tall buildings that compose the Denver skyline. Hike along the path, admiring the cityscape, and eventually you will cross a small bridge.

From the bridge, the route will curve east past basketball courts. Follow the path, passing a playground, and you will get an up close and personal view of Penny Islands, keep an eye out for ospreys! The route along the south shore will pass tennis courts before guiding you north. Continue hiking this path and you will get another close view of the island. As you track along the east shore you will be dumbfounded by the sights of the snow-capped Front Range peaks that line the horizon in the west. Eventually the path will curve you west, revel in the scenery of the shimmering lake that sits in the city centre. Soon, the path will deliver you back to the picnic area and parking lot, marking the end of your lakeside adventure.

Trail Highlights

Sloan Lake

Sloan Lake, sometimes known as Sloan’s Lake or Sloans Lake is a body of water located in the northwest of Denver, Colorado. The Lake is situated within the bounds of Sloan’s Lake Park, which is the second-largest park in the state’s capital. Adjacent to the neighborhoods of Sloan’s Lake, Edgewater, and Lakewood, the trail that rings the lake is a popular nature destination. Make people walk, jog or bike around the perimeter, and few actually boat the waters. This scenic lake also hosts the Denver annual Dragon Boat Race, a celebration of Asian Heritage!

Though the history of Sloan Lake is unknown; many speculate it is not naturally occurring. Instead, it is rumored that in 1861, Homesteader Thomas M. Sloan tapped into an underground aquifer to irrigate his farm, and overnight the lake spread over 200 acres. Now this lake is a natural oasis amongst the hustle and bustle of the city, perfect for a lunch hour reset.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you swim in Sloan Lake?

No, swimming is prohibited at Sloan Lake as it is within Denver’s city limit.

Are dogs allowed at Sloan Lake?

Yes, dogs are permitted on the Sloan Lake Trail if they are on-leash.

Is boating permitted in Sloan Lake?

Yes, Sloan Lake is the only lake in Denver to permit the use of motorized boats and non-motorized boats like kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes. Note that jet-skis and motorized personal watercraft are prohibited.

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