Located just a 6-minute drive from Mile High Stadium, Sloan Lake is one of the most peaceful places in all of Denver, but it receives very little fanfare from local media outlets. Spend a couple hours in Sloan Lake and you’ll quickly discover that the diverse landscape is able to appeal to a wide-range of appetites. Boasting sweeping mountain views, a glistening lakefront and scenic meadows, the sights and sounds are plentiful. Sloan Lake is a habitat for a wide-range of wildlife. On any given day you may see white pelicans or house finches roaming the area. Look closely enough and you’ll notice rainbow trout in the pond, alongside bluegills and flathead catfish. The areas that face Stuart Street and West 17th Avenue easily offer the most contemplative spaces, as the Sheridan Boulevard side is a little too close to the street for our liking. Since it can be easily accessed in 15 minutes or less from most neighborhoods in Denver, many folks frequent Sloan Lake on a daily basis. You can’t go wrong in terms of transportation and with the mass rollout of electric scooters across the city, options are abundant. In an age where we’ve been conditioned to view convenience as king, this all matters. Walk, bike, scooter or drive, Sloan Lake is right at your fingertips. From our experience, the most quiet atmospheres can be experienced on weekdays, mornings and at sunset in the summer. And while crowds still do visit Sloan Lake, it is lightly trafficked compared to the more frequented green spaces such as City Park or Washington Park. So let’s get into the good stuff. As we move along in this guide, what follows is a curated list of spots that provide a beautiful refuge within Sloan Lake.


One of the easiest access points into Sloan Lake comes by the way of West 17th Avenue. Alongside the street, there are two parking lots, in addition to tons of scooters and bikes. As you enter Sloan Lake, the West 17th side offers huge green spaces to lay down with a blanket, in addition to a walking trail alongside the lake. As you walk, you’ll notice beautiful little alcoves for you to sit under the trees and simply take the scenery in. There are two mini-bridges that section off the West 17th Avenue side of the park, located at the east and west ends, as Sloan’s Lake turns to West Lakeshore and Sheridan Boulevard. On most days, the open meadows will be sparse. Because it is more secluded, you’ll come to notice that the people around you often come there for the similar reasons you are: reflection and contemplation.



As you travel over the mini-bridge connected to West 17th Avenue, our next oasis comes on the West Lakeshore side of the park. This particular location begins an entire stretch that offers a straight-on view of the mountains sweeping in the background. Lakeside, there are benches situated as viewpoints, creating a picturesque environment to jot in your journal as you face the water. Also unique to this space is the gazebo area to lounge in, which is set back on a mini-hill and offers a bit more of an elevated view of the mountains. From a convenience standpoint, parking is also easily accessible from this side of the park. If you’re short on time, snag a spot on the street and you’ll be at West Lakeshore in moments.



Okay, we must admit. We love the West Lakeshore and West 17th Avenue ends of Sloan’s Lake, but Stuart Street is our favorite. Which goes to say, you may or may not find this to be true for yourself. The meadows are the most expansive and the seating ample alongside the lake. You also get panoramic views of both the mountains straight-on and the city of Denver to your left. Oh, and the Cottonwood trees are gorgeous. For us personally, this part of Sloan Lake has proven to be one of the most peaceful getaways in the entire city. On the weekends, it’s a bit more trafficked, but it is the sweetest of spots to frequent in the mornings or evenings.



The common thread between all of these spots within Sloan’s Lake is that they are lightly trafficked and off-the-beaten-path, providing a unique oasis from what Denver is typically known for. They provide the ideal environment to reflect, contemplate and be present with ourselves. As we previously discussed in our intro to Denver getaways, science has shown that getting at least two hours each week in green spaces is essential to our well-being. Concluding a remarkable report from Yale, we’re left with this telling statement: “the studies point in one direction: Nature is not only nice to have, but it’s a have-to-have for physical health and cognitive function.” Perhaps no one understood these rhythms better than Jesus, who we find often getting away into the wilderness, before returning back to engage the culture around him. He modeled what would later be known as silence and solitude. When we’re out in nature and captivated by its beauty, it often produces a wonder and heightened awareness of the world around us. How could such a beautiful place exist? That wonder can lead to an awareness of the One who created all the transcendent beauty that surrounds us. And here’s the transformative part — we can allow that awareness to drive us into connection with God. For Jesus, this is what getting away was all about. Being out in nature was about who he connected with whilst he was out there. When we encounter God in these environments of refreshment, we are able to acquire the strength and perspective we need to go back out into the world. We need this to love other people well. To create the change we long to see. To become the truest and best version of ourselves. These rhythms are essential for our well-being. As we see from the science, they are built into the very fabric of our existence. We benefit spiritually, mentally and physically from these environments of refreshment. For much of human history, these were our natural habitats. You could argue that the construction of modern city life is unnatural in this sense, as the constant busyness and distraction prevents us from getting perspective and moments of reflection. So especially living in Denver, modeling this “in-and-out lifestyle” will help us thrive amidst the weariness of 24/7 connectedness. We’ll leave you with a few practical tips before you wander into Sloan's Lake, which include:

1) Pick a time & place

Scheduling time to get away is essential. The busy nature of modern-life increases the need for intentionality. So consider where you will regularly visit Sloan's Lake and when it's practical do that. Is it before work in the morning? Is it midday during lunch? Which part of the Sloan's Lake is most accessible to you?

2) Start small & build

Success is in simply showing up, nothing more. If you’re making the effort to get away regularly, you’ve already hit the goal. Remember, habits are also formed by starting small. Rather than saying we’re going to visit Sloan Lake for 90 minutes every morning, try retreating for 30 minutes at least 2-3 times a week. If you get in a rhythm doing that, start ramping that to an hour in Sloan Lake for 2-3 times a week. And so forth.

3) Put your phone on silent

Smartphones breed distraction and will pull you away from being present in the moment. Try putting your phone on silent and resisting the urge to pull it out. Build up your tolerance over time.

4) Consider your wiring

Depending on your personality and temperament, you may want more of an active experience for your contemplative getaways. In this case, consider doing a full lap through the trail in Sloan’s Lake, which offers the opportunity to keep moving, yet still be present in the moment.

5) Bring a blanket

If you like being stationery, consider buying a blanket, particularly for the Stuart Street side. Get comfortable as you enter a place of contemplation.

6) Bring a journal

Fight against the urge to stuff away your thoughts by actively processing them through this form of feeling prayer. How are you feeling? Why are you feeling that way? Name the emotions coming up - envy, greed, sadness, grief, etc. Like Jesus, our emotions are a place to meet with God.

7) Contemplate scripture

This ancient practice, called Lectio Divina, involves picking a small passage to meditate on. Even if you haven’t read scripture in ages, this could be as small as a Psalm, a Proverb or the words of Jesus in the gospels. Let’s say a verse comes up about humility or loving your neighbor, we then pray for a greater understanding of how to model that in our lives. See what comes to mind. You can pick up a copy of the new Passion Translation here.

8) Practice gratitude

Gratitude is hard for us. Sometimes it feels like we suffer from chronic short-term memory loss, only able to see what we don't have or how our circumstances are less than ideal. And while there might be truth in that, this perspective causes us to miss the precious things of life that are sitting right in front of us each and every day. Take some time to write down prayers of gratitude, even for the smallest of things.

9) Be silent

Sloan’s Lake is so beautiful and diverse, that some days you might find yourself just wanting to be silent. Embrace this. Engage your breathing. Listen to the sounds around you. The birds. The breeze. The water, if you’re in front of the lake.

Whatever you decide with your time, you can start today! Take this opportunity to get away from the distractions, entering into the beautiful landscape of Sloan Lake.


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