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Hiking in Westminster: Standley Lake Regional Park

Start by crossing this bridge to the trails
Start by crossing this bridge to the trails
Deb Stanley

Standley Lake Regional Park may be best known for its boating, water skiing, kayaking and fishing, but it’s also a nice place to go for a walk. There are several miles of trails on on the south and east sides of the lake. While there are lots of neighborhood access trails, the best place for visitors to park is at 86th Parkway and Simms Street.

Standley Reservoir
Deb Stanley

From the parking lot, walk to the sign board and pick up a map at the information booth. Walk a few steps down the path, cross a bridge and you’ll come to a trail split. The trail map shows a loop and a trail to Alkire Street west. However, most of the trails are to the right/east.

Walk through the canopy of trees and you’ll come to a trail split. You can turn left here and get to the shoreline trail or climb the hill straight ahead to the gazebo on top. We wanted to do a loop, so we decided to start with the outer trail and come back along the shoreline. In the future, I would recommend walking out-and-back along the shoreline. It’s a much nicer place to be.

While the trails are not named, the “outer trail” is the trail that climbs the hill to the gazebo. From the top of the hill, the outer trail stays high above the lake, closer to 86th Parkway. Here the trail becomes single-person wide and may be used more often by cyclists then walkers/hikers. In spring/summer, when the vegetation gets high, I would recommend avoiding this trail due to snakes and other creatures.

The outer trail goes about 0.7 miles to a neighborhood trail at Newcombe Street. At this point, we decided to head to the shoreline trail and begin our loop back.

Walking along the shoreline trail is very nice. As you walk, you can watch the boats, watch the “waves” on the lake and enjoy the sound of the water as it hits the bank.

Standley Lake is a man-made lake, owned by the city of Westminster. The city’s website says Standley Lake (2,327 acres) is Westminster's largest body of water and the Denver metro area’s third largest reservoir, after Barr Lake (1,937 acres) and Chatfield Reservoir (1,479 acres). Boating season here is May 1 to September 30. Learn more on Westminster’s website.

The shoreline trail heads back, passing one gazebo before heading back toward the gazebo we saw at the beginning of the hike. As you approach the gazebo, it’s decision time. You can follow the shoreline trail a little further, then turn back to the trailhead or you can hike up the trail to gazebo and enjoy the view from above, before returning to the parking lot.

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Details: The hike from the parking lot, along the outer trail to Newcombe Street, to the lake, along the shoreline trail, up the trail to the gazebo and back is about 1.75 miles with 125 feet of elevation gain. However, I recommend walking the shoreline trail as far as you like, then hiking back on the same trail.

Directions: From Wadsworth, turn west on 88th. 88th turns into 86th Parkway. The parking lot is at 86th Parkway and Simms Street.

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