The Platte River Trail is a well-developed and well-maintained, safe urban trail (Greenway Trail) that stretches north and south from the Confluence Park, where Cherry Creek flows into the Platte.
What Makes It Great
You’ll get to watch the Platte River meander along, and you'll see all the various dams and infrastructure changes the area has undergone over the years; but there’s still wildlife and it’s actually quite beautiful. Keep your eyes peeled for ducks and herons, beaver, muskrat, otters and more.
If you choose to hop on the bicycle rather than slip on the running shoes, heading south is still the direction you want to go. If you ride all the way to Chatfield Reservoir, you're looking at about a 50 mile round trip ride: 25 miles to the reservoir, 25 miles back. About halfway out you’ll ride past Hudson Gardens where you’ll find a little snack shack if you want to or need to stop and refuel.
Be conscious of other trail users, especially on weekends and after work. It is not a race course so be considerate of baby strollers and roller bladers and look out for dogs on leashes which can cause a real hazard. Other than that, it’s safe and easy.
Who is Going to Love It
No matter the time of year or time of day (daylight of course) this is an ideal running environment, where it rarely rains and dressing in layers with a small hydration pack will solve all of your equipment needs.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
My recommendation for runners is to meet at the Starbucks at REI or at the bridge over the river in the heart of the confluence. Confluence Park itself is a great place to relax, stretch, do push ups, let the dog out, etc., but if it's an urban greenway you're looking for, head south on the Platte River Trail. The north section is a little less well-maintained and can get slightly unsavory in parts.