Here in Colorado we have it pretty good. The mountains are in our backyards, the weather is mild, and we have an overabundance of amazing skateparks throughout the state. We have so many great parks around that deciding which ones to visit can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Don’t believe me? Throw a rock. Odds are it’ll land in the pro-bowl of your nearest skatepark. But, since I do not condone the throwing of rocks, especially around the presence of grouchy old vert skaters, I’ve decided to do the heavy lifting and narrow down some of my personal favorite skateparks around the Boulder area for you. You’re welcome.
This list may confuse some readers, but keep this in mind, every park can offer something depending on a skater’s skill level and preference. The parks on this list might not all float your boat and that’s fine. There’s no judgement here. Heck I often chose to skate the curb behind my elementary school over going to the skatepark.
1) Lafayette Skatepark-
This park is undeniably good, and that’s coming from the guy who used to hate it. From the mellow mini bowl to the 12 foot pro bowl, this 19,000 square foot park built by Team Pain offers something to every skater at every stage. A unique feature of this park is the use of a handful of large, skateable rocks and stones placed throughout the park. The design does a good job of compartmentalizing obstacles and runs to avoid congestion in the park. The street section is comprised of a long 3 stair and a 7 stair as well as several handrails and marble boxes.
But make no mistake, Lafayette is not without its issues (don’t worry, nothing huge). Personally, I feel like the marble ledges have not aged well with the (still young) skatepark. BMX bikes have hacked these obstacles past recognition, which is a shame. The other qualm I have with this park is it’s lack of basic skate structures like a flat bar or manny pad (that doesn’t run directly into the deep end of the pro bowl).
Overall, I feel that this park offers challenging, yet accessible terrain for skaters from all skill levels. It combines transition and street styled obstacles seamlessly and the skateable rocks are a very cool touch.
2) Arvada Skatepark-
If you like the Lafayette skatepark (or even if you don’t) I’m willing to bet that you’ll find something to love at the 42,000 square foot behemoth that is the Arvada Apex Skatepark that was also built by Team Pain. Like small transitions? They have it. Like step up gaps at varying sizes? They have those too. Like boxes, mini ramps, jersey barriers, mint condition marble, pool coping, strange astroturf type material? They have all of those things. Oh and lets not forget, the comically large snake run that leads into a 13.5 foot quarter pipe. Arvada is sort of the Costco of skateparks in the front range, they have everything, and a lot of it seems to be larger than necessary.
Even a million dollar park isn’t safe from scrutiny. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a park this large, and this good, would be busy at pretty much all hours of the day. Even though it is the third largest skatepark in the entire state, finding a corner of the park to skate at peak hours can be frustrating and even dangerous. Skateboards, scooters, bikes, even toy RC cars can be found there, so look twice before dropping in. This park does offer a lot, but it can also be intimidating for novice skaters, who often find skating the sidewalk along the perimeter to be more enjoyable.
3) The (Old) Erie Skatepark-
Nothing will humble you more than a 10 minute session at the original Erie skatepark. It may not come as a surprise to you, but this is the only park on the list that was not built by Team Pain. A square plot of concrete with a sprinkling of metal ramps and rails, all of which seemingly designed without the intention of actually being skateable. This park, and parks like this hold a very special place in my heart for their ability to challenge a skater, as well as forcing a sense of appreciation for all other skateparks. Objectively, this is not a good skatepark, but it’s awkward layout, and unorthodox obstacles are a great way to shake things up.
My only problem with this park, is that I was recently informed that the city of Erie tore it down. =(
4) Skyline Skatepark
This is one of several skateparks within the city of Arvada. So if you’re burnt out with the giant Apex skatepark, you’ll be pleased to know that Skyline is pretty much the exact opposite of Apex AND it’s only a five minute drive between the two. Skyline is small, any more than 5 or 6 skaters can make the session feel cramped, but what this park lacks in size it makes up for with terrain catered towards learning tricks. The transition here is unique because it literally starts from the ground and gradually rises to about 3.5 feet, making this quarter pipe arguably the best place to learn how to drop in ever. This park also has a fun loveseat/pool coping ramp, a steep bank, and a perfect box/ledge. I highly recommend because of its “size to use” ratio.
5) Golden Skatepark
What better way to wrap the list up than with one of the newest additions to Colorado’s repertoire. This park is proof that there’s an art to designing and building skateparks, and that that art is being refined all the time. What I love about this park, is that I feel it was designed with the basics in mind first, meaning the designers didn’t lose sight of what matters in a skatepark. This park has all the basic elements of a park, a flat bar, a ledge, a manny pad, a mini ramp, and flatground, and it’s sort of sad to me that I’m so impressed by this. I can’t tell you how many parks are missing one or more of these essential components. Sorry, I’m ranting again aren’t I?
This park is great because it has all the basic elements of a skatepark, but it is designed so the park doesn’t turn into a crash-up derby. Obstacles were placed with care to ensure that everything is accessible without compromising the flow flow of the park. This is a very good park, I give it my full seal of approval.
The only issues I have with this park are the distance the park is to my house, and the amount on people that go there. These are no faults of Team Pain, just a result of building a quality park.