If you've never been to Lake Elkhorn in Columbia, you need to go. Now. The walking trail around the lake is just as big, if not bigger, as the one around Centennial Lake. At the far edge of the lake, the path goes off in about a million directions which leads me to wonder where exactly would you wind up if you followed one of those paths?
But, I digress. We parked off Cradlerock in the Dockside neighborhood, near the playground. The Pea was thrilled! Not only do they have swings (big boy and baby!), they have two jungle gyms, a sand box (with toys!) and two bouncy sports cars to bop around in! The playground is mostly in the shade, too! There are a few picnic tables here and there is a McDonald's across the street, so you can have a lazy picnic, too!
Next up, we walked around the whole lake. Lake Elkhorn is much flatter than Centennial, so it will be a good place to bring the kids' bikes once the Princess gets the hang of steering and pedaling at the same time! Speaking of cyclists, there are lots of them at Lake Elkhorn. Some were really nice and gave us a little ding-a-ling warning from their bike bell, but some were down right surly and practically yelled at my kids to get out of the way! I think walkers have the right of way, but I could be mistaken!
Anywho, there is another arboretum here and an Exer-path! Yup! We had to stop at every station to see how woefully out of shape we are! But, the kids loved it! We also saw tons of squirrels, turtles, geese and ducks, both real and not real. (Hint, the fake ones are near the boat launch.) The lake is currently being dredged, so we got to see some cool looking heavy machinery as well! There are also several places to stop and play Pooh Sticks along the way. In addition to the ginormous waterfall you can see from Broken Land Parkway, the Pea found a teeny tiny waterfall where he declared he would build our new house.
One of the things I love about Lake Elkhorn is the rhythm of the different neighborhoods that surround the park. When you first come in, there are townhouses. Almost all of them have a kayak or canoe hanging under the deck. Many have lawn chairs out near the water. I keep thinking how fantastic it must be to look out your window and see that gorgeous lake every day. Many people were out grilling on their decks, listening to music or talking on the phone. There are also apartments, large single family homes way up near the "mysterious paths" and some adorable little cottage-y looking houses that I'd never seen before. Then, you're back at those cool townhouses again!
If you go to Lake Elkhorn, be warned that the parking lot off of Broken Land is currently closed. Also, because of the dredging, the bridge at the far end of the lake will be closed as of April 1, 2010. We were there on April 3 and it was still open, but I suspect it will be closed soon!