view of snowcapped mountains from Prairie Gateway Open Space

Prairie GateWay Open Space

Post knee surgery, my activities have been limited.  While I can sort of handle being cooped up in the house, Annie, my high energy Doberman cannot!  Despite hiring a dog walker and having awesome friends who have taken her on hikes, she needs to run. 

As a result, I have been scouring Google Maps for less populated Open Spaces and Parks near Denver.  Today, I found Prairie Gateway Open Space in Commerce City.  What a find!

Prairie Gateway Open Space

I don’t know how I’ve missed it for so many years.  The Open Space is located across the street from Dick’s Sporting Goods Park where the Colorado Rapids play and is adjacent to Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City, only 11 minutes from my Denver home!

dicks sporting goods park across from Prairie Gateway Open Space

I’ve been to both of these venues more than once.  In fact, I always thought the Prairie Gateway Open Space was part of Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.  I’m so happy to find out otherwise, as I love visiting the refuge and have wished I could bring Annie or ride my bike around it.

Prairie Gateway Open Space affords me both opportunities.  The 190 acre park with spectacular views of the snowcapped mountains to the west, including many 14er’s, features a gazebo, pit toilets, benches and a 2.4 mile soft surface perimeter trail.

When I visited on a Friday morning around 9:30 am, there was hardly a soul.  I only saw six people during my short 30 minute stay.  Being limited on walking distance by my orthopedic surgeon, I only strolled from the shelter to an area just past the small gazebo.

shelter at prairie gateway open space

This area was away from streets and visitors, so I broke the leash law and let Annie sniff around.  Fortunately, she didn’t find any prairie dogs, deer or coyotes; all common sightings at the refuge.  I suspect if we arrived early in the morning or visited for a spectacular sunset, the story would be different.

Annie at Prairie Gateway Open Space

Also, near this area, is a fenced section and a dirt road.  The fence keeps the buffalo in the refuge.  They weren’t nearby while we visited, but they would be an added bonus to see.  The dirt road passes into the refuge, and this portion of the refuge allows dogs! 

I can’t wait to be off injured reserve as I will certainly return to Prairie Gateway Open Space for more exploring!  ETB

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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned travel photographer and blogger.

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