Sloan’s Lake Park in west Denver is the city’s second largest park, and it’s a beauty! Spanning 177 acres, it’s a bit of an urban oasis. In addition to water sports such as fishing, boating, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding, visitors walk, run and ride bikes along the path surrounding the lake. Families spread out blankets for picnics, and put up nets for volleyball games.
Interestingly, Sloan’s Lake was not always a part of Denver’s landscape. Homesteader Thomas Sloan acquired the land from Andrew Jackson around 1866, with plans to use it for agricultural purposes. Legend says that in the process of digging a well, Sloan inadvertently tapped into an underground aquifer resulting in the appearance of the lake. The area surrounding the lake was once home to Manhattan Beach, an amusement park.
Exploring Sloan’s Lake Park offers several surprises. In one section of the park, there is a memorial to the USS Grayling, a submarine lost in 1943 off the coast of the Philippines. It was erected by the Colorado Mile Hi Diggers Chapter of the US Submarine Veterans of World War II.
Near the renovated wharf, you will see a kinetic sculpture entitled “Lake Totem”, created by local artist Andy Dufford in 2011. It’s an interactive piece that honors the birds that live in or visit this park. The carved pelican is created from Colorado Yule Marble. Children love to turn the hand crank that will send water down the pelican’s chest.
While visiting the park, be sure to explore some of the nearby side streets, which are currently undergoing quite a bit of new development. One spot to check out is historic 25th Avenue, west of Sheridan, in Edgewater. This mural, spotted on the side of a building on 25th references Georges Seurat’s well known painting and perfectly captures the laid back ambiance of the area.