Aside from the cold weather, I took a lovely walk along the Platte River Trail today. As part of my Platte River Trail series, today I wanted to walk from Vanderbilt Park south to Grant-Frontier Park. From the last time I was at Vanderbilt Park, however, I knew a portion of the trail was closed, but I did not know for how far. As a result, I parked farther south at Overland Pond Park and hoped to walk as far north as possible toward Vanderbilt Park and then turn south toward Grant-Frontier Park, essentially starting in the middle of the two.
Unfortunately, the trail was closed just north of Overland Pond Park, thus the mile section from Vanderbilt Park to Overland Pond Park was off limits. The path seemed in great condition, and I don’t see why it was closed for renovation, but so be it.
Overland Pond Park
Since I was trying to wear out Annie before the really cold temperatures hit, I let her run around at the Overland Pond Park for a while before we walked south. The park, with a partially frozen pond home to a few geese, is a nice green space on the South side of Denver.
The reclaimed gravel mining pit was redesigned as a learning park. Not only do interpretive signs about nature line the nice path, but also the park hosts the 5th grade excursion program and the Family Fishing Day Water Festival. The pond is stocked with fish and stairs lead down to the river for anglers.
The Platte River Trail
After our time at Overland Pond Park, we followed the Platte River Trail south beneath the Florida Street overpass and along the Overland Golf Course. The view of the course to the east is peaceful on a frosty day. To the right of the paved trail, a packed gravel trail follows the river. I always like when I find an unpaved trail as I feel closer to nature.
Sometimes the gravel trail dead ends, sometimes it reconnects to the paved trail, and sometimes it descends the bank to river side parks. I tended to weave along this path and explore. At almost a mile up the river, I reached Pasquinel’s Landing Park.
Pasquinel’s Landing Park
Pasquinel’s Landing Park is a 35 year old park that has been revitalized by the Greenway Foundation which partners with other private and public entities to improve the river. In fact, all the parks mentioned in this post have been improved.
Pasquinel’s Landing redirects the Platte River Trail into an arc which swoops around a natural space that drops down to a gravel island in the river. On the edge of the trail, is an outdoor fitness zone. While no one was taking advantage of the equipment on this frigid morning, the geese thoroughly enjoyed the green space by the river.
From Pasquinel’s Landing, Annie and I continued to Grant-Frontier Park, less than a ½ mile up river. Grant-Frontier Park is the site where gold was first discovered, what was then Montana City. Montana City was established in 1858 by prospectors from Kansas. Upon finding gold, miners built 20 log cabins along the riverbank. The city was short lived as the prospectors moved to Auraria by floating the logs of their cabins down river.
Now the park includes a replica of a wagon and a partial cabin. Next to this area is a modern mirrored structure that hangs in the sky. Annie and I took our photo as it swayed in the breeze.
The park also includes a playground with a big xylophone as well as many natural features such as a spiraled rock garden and log seats. Paths extend down to the river and island for a short loop stroll. I enjoyed wandering around this park with limited parking before I returned to my starting point.
My overall recorded walk on AllTrails registered 2.4 miles, though I did not record my circle around Overland Pond Park or up the side road where I let Annie run around. This was one of my favorite segments of the Platte River Trail thus far. I imagine it is busy on a warm weekend day, but today I only saw a few cyclists, a runner, two walkers, and a homeless person. I look forward to beginning my next walk at Grant-Frontier Park. ETB
Other Articles About the Platte River Trail You May Like
Books on Other Walks in Denver
Check out the photographic note cards and key chains at my shop. Each card has a travel story associated with it. 20% of proceeds are donated to charity.