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Waneka Lake- A Special Spot in East Boulder County

This year has left most of us at home much more than we are used to. One of the ways that Ken and I have been spending our extra time at home is by doing lots of walking around our neighborhood and community. I wanted to share with you today one of my favorite local spots in East Boulder County- Waneka Lake.

We have lived in Lafayette for about 6 years (with a two year stint in Denver in the middle of that!) and we have owned several homes in Lafayette. One of my favorite local spots is Waneka Lake. When I was looking for inspiration this week to write this newsletter, I went back through my photos and I saw that besides our little dachshunds, Waneka Lake is my most photoed subject. I have spent countless hours there walking the paths, in all seasons, morning, noon, and night.

Reflections in the water at the lake

So what makes Waneka Lake special?

Waneka Lake Park is located at West Emma and Caria Drive in Lafayette. The park is 147 acres and features a 1.2 mile walking/running/biking trail, a pretty, shaded playground area, basketball courts, picnic tables, all with some of best views in Boulder County.

Play area on the south side of the lake

Waneka Lake Boathouse provides paddleboat and canoe rentals in the summer months and restrooms and drinking fountains are available year-round (at least in years that we are not dealing with COVID- as for this summer, they may have limited availability). Dogs are allowed as long as they are leashed.

Waneka Boathouse

Waneka Lake is also the site of Lafayette’s July 4th festivities. In more normal times, there are fireworks, food trucks, beer tents and all sorts of activities for the community to participate in.

Waneka in the wintertime

The southeast corner of the park features Lafayette’s oldest structure, the Lafayette Granary. This building was built in the 1870’s.

On the north side of the park is Greenlee Wildlife Preserve. This is a natural area that provides sanctuary for native wildlife that is intolerant of all the human activity at the lake. Take your binoculars over there to tons of birds, amphibians, and sometimes foxes, coyotes, and deer. There are birdwatching tours from 1-3 pm on the first Sundays of the month from May to November. Also, the city of Lafayette has just erected “The Shack”, a mini-barn with lots of historical artifacts from around town, information about the local wildlife and birds, and volunteers on duty (sporadically!) to interact with the public about our local history and wildlife. Neat-o!

The Shack at the Greenlee Wildlife Preserve

The Shack at the Greenlee Wildlife Preserve

On the northeast side of the lake sits Isabelle Farm and their farmstand. There are paths from the lake over to the farm. Isabelle Farm is a family run, organic farm and they have a beautiful barn from which they sell fresh produce, snacks, local meat, and goods from local artisans so if you make it to Waneka Lake, take some extra time to stop by the farm. Ken and I love stopping by this time of year to get heirloom tomatoes. They do have limited hours this year due to COVID so be sure to check that out before you go.

Isabelle Farm

What are you doing with your extra time around home this year? Where are you walking to? We’d love to hear from you and see your photos too!

Until next time!

Allison and Ken

Posted By : Allison Benham at