Stock Show Loop
Sometime when all you have time for is something short and easy, a ride that allows you to spin the pedals easily and slowly, go check out the Stock Show Loop. Others in this category include the Bible Park Loop, the Bryant Street Loop, and the Eisenhower Park Loop. Start on the Cherry Creek Trail. Ride to Confluence Park, then north to and through the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) complex, lately in the news because a plan’s afoot to move the show to Aurora. The show–a sort of early 20th century cattleman’s convention–has been a Denver fixture for more than a century, attracting cowboys, ranchers, bulls, and livestock to Denver during the slow month of January. The rest of the time, the complex gets used for Alpaca, cat, martial art, and music shows, judging by a recent scan of the calendar. It was the recent host of the first inaugural Denver County Fair, a kind of post-modern, hipster county fair that featured a bike rode, chickens, baby goats, bees, a Goth-themed freak show, and drag queens vying for the Miss Denver County title.
Route finding to the NWSS area is relatively easy. Head down to Confluence Park, then make your way north along the Platte River Trail to 29th or 31st Street, where you can (and should) exit to Arkins Ct. Getting through Confluence Park can be confusing, as can getting from the river left side of the Platte to the river right side. I’ve shown here the simplest approach: stay on the Platte Trail as it wends its way under 15th Street, then exit left at the historic 19th Street Bridge to cross to the other side.
Exiting at 29th or 31st streets takes you away from river and the street people up to street level on Arkins Court, a surprisingly good and wide ride north to the NWSS grounds. If you need an espresso, dart across the river at 31st St to Fuel Cafe in the Taxi Development for a pick-me-up and look around. It’s a fascinating mixed use community. Follow Arkins Ct past the huge Pepsi bottling factory and through the vacant areas to the south of the Coliseum. From time to time you can get a whiff of the past as you ride through here (mostly from the Purina plant nearby), but all of the stockyards and packing plants of yore have long been closed, so you probably have to resort to the Denver Public Library to get a good sense of the original Denver Union Stockyards that lay to the northwest of the Coliseum, where 3-4 million head of livestock annually were sold and processed. Wind your way north around the Coliseum on Humboldt St to 47th Ave, then go east to York St, where a funny little jog will allow you to continue east to Clayton St. Duck under I-70 and work you way south and east to Steele St, avoiding the traffic on 40th Ave.
Steele is one of Denver’s surprisingly good cycling streets. It is wide and the traffic intensity is relatively low. Drop down to 26th Avenue and fly west alongside the City Park Golf Course across York St to Franklin St to work your way (slowly, most of the time) through the hospital district Ride through Cheesman Park, then the Country Club District to return to your starting place.
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