graffiti art at Carpio Sanguinette Park

Carpio Sanguinette Park

Recently I’ve been exploring different parks and open spaces in and around Denver to give my dog Annie a change of scenery.  Today I visited Carpio Sanguinette Park, Heron Pond Nature, and Heller Open Space which connect to make up 83 acres.

I selected Carpio Sanguinette Park for a variety of reasons.  First, it is only 15 minutes away from my house.  Second, based on the map it looked like it featured a large green space with a potential to walk on a natural trail through Heller Open Space.  Finally, located in an industrial area, I hoped it would be quiet so Annie had freedom to run.

To my surprise, the area exceeded my hopes and expectations.

Carpio Sanguinette Park

Carpio Sanguinette Park is a 14 acre park located near Globeville and just north of the National Western Complex, where the Stock Show takes place. Despite construction in the area, it didn’t take me long to reach.  The giant parking lot was empty with exception of a man who I believe lived in his truck.

The Carpio Sanguinette Park used to be called the Northside Park and stands on the site of a 1930’s sewage treatment plant that has been closed for over 30 years.  Uniquely, many parts of the old plant have been incorporated into the park.  Trees now fill sand filtration pits.  Graffiti covers water raceways.  Different sayings and children’s quotes line the sidewalks and aqueducts.  And finally, the curved edge of an old settling pond is now used as a bench.

The structures outline green spaces used as sports fields which Annie had a ball running across especially when a flock of geese flew over to land on the nearby Platte River.  After succumbing to her prey instinct briefly, she fortunately recalled before she reached the bicyclists on the Platte River Trail.

Heron Pond Nature Area

Luckily, she got most of her energy out on this absolutely spectacular afternoon before a family of four with five dogs came to enjoy the park as well.  By then I head to the Heron Pond Nature Area to check out the trail.

The trail begins to the south of the pond and heads north past some industrial companies.  This portion is paved, but as it turns the corner to the west it is dirt.  Ducks, geese, and a single heron enjoyed the small body of water as we strolled along the fenced area to Heller Open Space.

Heller Open Space

The very undeveloped Heller Open Space is mostly a large field of tall grasses and small mounds that might be fun for those on bikes though I’d be wary of sticker burrs.  A coyote made the grasses home, but trotted off as we neared. 

It is possible to loop all the way around to Carpio Sanguinette Park, but I retraced my steps to let Annie sniff around.  Despite being in nature, it is not the most peaceful area, as the beeps of big trucks reversing chime in the distance.  On the flip side, the park is not very busy, so the solitude is a treat in a big city.  ETB 

Other Articles About Open Space Near Denver

A Walk in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

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Published by

Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned travel photographer and blogger.

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