High Line Canal Trail (CO)

Colorado

11 Reviews

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High Line Canal Trail (CO) Facts

States: Colorado
Counties: Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas
Length: 71 miles
Trail end points: Waterton Rd. (Littleton) and E 14th Dr. (Spring Hill Golf Course in Aurora)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Concrete, Dirt, Gravel
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6563805

High Line Canal Trail (CO) Description

The High Line Canal Trail is a popular stretch of path through Denver's southside suburbs, winding for 71 miles between Aurora and Roxborough State Park. The trail is owned and operated by Denver Water and follows the canal that keeps Denver watered. Other municipal agencies help manage the trail system. Horseback riding is permitted but regulations may vary in each town. Check with the local municipality for more details.

The trail passes through many parks, each of which offer different amenities (drinking fountains, picnic tables, restrooms, parking, recreation facilities). The trail is paved in Denver and Aurora but has a natural surface in South Suburban, Highlands Ranch, Chatfield, Cherry Hill and Greenwood Village.

Municipalities that manage the trail include:
Douglas County Parks, Trails and Building Grounds Division
Metro District of Highlands Ranch Parks and Open Space
South Suburban Parks and Recreation
Greenwood Village Parks, Trails and Recreation Department
Denver Parks and Recreation Department
Aurora Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department

Parking and Trail Access

Denver Water publishes a complete trail guide for sale locally. For access and parking information, click on the city links in the trial description.

High Line Canal Trail (CO) Reviews

Walked all 71+- miles both ways.

Good trail overall. No trail between mile 9.5 and 11.25. Do not try to walk on Santa Fe here - that is suicidal. Best trail (in the rich neighborhoods) between Hampden / CO Blvd to Broadway-Very Nice. Denver parts are so-so to OK, same with Aurora. Only a few mile-post markers missing. Watch out for bike riders, many feel they own the trail and maybe 5% call out before passing you. I walked all the trail after having hip replacement surgery between April -August 2021.

Great Trail, Amazing Public Resource

I’m new to Denver and was looking for a place to run without the ubiquitous concrete. The Highline Canal Trail is an amazing public resource. I wish the community would embrace and support the maintenance and expansion of this historic treasure. The southern portion of the trail, from section 15 south, is unmatched for its surface, environment, and scenery. Once the trail enters Denver proper and Aurora, the upkeep, amenities (parking locations, restrooms, water, and directional signage) are greatly lacking. I hope the Highline Canal Commission can dedicate resources to the start and ending sections of the trail to match the quality and public benefit of the middle sections. I have run all 27 sections and look forward to logging many more miles on the Highline Canal Trail.

From Toll Gate Creek Trail To Cherry Creek Trail

I connect with the HCT from the Toll Gate Creek Trail at Alameda. From here the trail is concrete and travels north and east going under I-225 at 2nd. You go just a bit north before heading south. At Alameda and Expo park the trails veers to the west of the park and becomes a soft (gravel and dirt) trail. You can stay on concrete through Expo Park on the Westerly Creek Tail, then near the south end of the park cross a bridge and rejoin the HCT where it is concrete again. You go east again and Cross Havana at a signal. After crossing the trail is asphalt and I believe you are in Denver now. From here on the trail is wooded and usually has shade. At Valentia the trail goes through Fairmount Cemetery but they are working on the Mississippi/Parker Rd underpass (June 2021). You can ride into the cemetery but the trail is closed and you have to go several blocks north to get out. Then there is no sidewalk on Quebec and you have to cross without a light. Instead travel south on Valentia in a bike lane. At one point the sidewalk and bike lane were closed and you had to cross to continue. Then to Mississippi to Parker Rd, to an Apartment building with access to the trail. Back on the trail it is again wooded with shade. Shortly after the detour the is a bridge to Long's Pine Grove, a nice little park with shaded tables and a pump and repair station. There are restrooms and a water station but the restrooms are closed for the season and there is no water at the station. But still a nice spot for a break. From here you ride along for a short bit then along the Cherry Creek Golf Course. At the end of the golf course I connect with the CCT and cross Havana ride along Kennedy Golf Course and into Cherry Creek Reservoir.

walked all 142 miles

Walked the whole trail (in segments) from August to late December 2020. Loved most of it. Spectacular views of the mountains and a great way to explore the burbs around Denver. Disappointed by lack of signage in many places and very annoyed that it ended unceremoniously without documentation.

Accordion

Highline Canal from Waterton to Redstone Park

The trail is not well marked and at mile 8.6 it just ends. There are no trespassing signs through a farm and this is the only way to cut through back to Titan. Then you have to dangerously navigate running along titan and highway 85 for about a mile before seeing the trail again. To get back on your must go into deep gully, cross railroad tracks and then it’s fine. Need an adrenaline rush on 85, go for it otherwise get on a different location if you are planning to go more than 8.6 miles.

Best trail in Denver area!

If you’re training for a half, full marathon, or an ultra, this is the best trail to do it! The length of the trail makes it easy to go straight for many miles. There are several confusing spots where it’s unclear where the trail branches off into smaller ones. Overall, the best I’ve found!

Be aware of the Santa Fe area of the trail

Approaching Santa Fe is where the trail seems to become really neglected. No crossing assistance whatsoever across Santa Fe is extremely dangerous. Once across Santa Fe heading SW, the trail is extremely rutted and then ends in the middle of nowhere with no signage or any instruction on how to get to the Chatfield section. This section appears to be run/managed by Denver Water but I would highly avoid this area until improvements are made.

poorly marked

Entering at the southern end by Chatfield Reservoir, the trail is very rough dirt and gravel. After a couple miles the trail suddenly stops and there is a gap with no directions to connect to the rest of the trail. The trail headed north from hwy 470 is packed gravel and in nice condition with rural scenery. There are lots of road crossings and many areas where the trail is unmarked and leaves you hanging. You can't ride 71 miles straight through as the trail info implies.

hampden to Arapaho awesomeness

I'm from Denver but don't live here anymore so I took the opportunity to enjoy part of the highline trail. I started at hampden and Colorado and followed the trail to easer. It's so beautiful that the miles sped by!

High times on the High Line Canal Trail

We rode this trail in mid-June 2013. We had some friends in south central Denver, and we got on the trail and rode 'about' 10-15 miles (of the 50-70 one CAN ride if motivated). It is / was mostly 'small gravel' (over a hard-packed-limerock/dirt-base)

- I suspect it's tougher if wet (we almost got rained-on)

but it was still excellent even on street-racer (700x23) tires. The scenery, (houses, fields, pastures, trees, canal, etc. was excellent, overall a very enjoyable experience.

I would definitely like to ride more of this famous Denver ride. Denver has many other rides, we did NOT get a chance to try-out - maybe some other time.

Sand Creek to Cherry Creek Portion

Park at Aurora City Center. Bike to north end at Sand Creek, then turn around and go south to Cherry Creek Trail, then turn around and go back to City Center - 30 miles round trip. Flat and scenic.

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