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The Mineral Trail, also referred to as the Railroad Spur Trail, is a short trail on the southern edge of Littleton that manages to pack in a suprising amount of variety and utility considering its size. The trail provides the southernmost connection between the High Line Canal Trail and the Mary Carter Greenway, two extensive and popular area trails, and allows users to safely travel off-road between the communities of Littleton and Columbine across one of the area's most heavily trafficked and dangerous intersections.
The trail's eastern end branches off from the High Line Canal Trail, which travels across the suburbs of Denver for over seventy near-continuous miles. The surface for this section of the trail is dirt and crushed stone, and the route parallels Mineral Avenue across open grassland. A marker on the trail just before Jackass Hill Road details the trail's railroad history, with a small, old piece of train atop a preserved slice of track enlivening the display. From here, the trail turns into a concrete sidepath along the road, before taking you up and across the local light rail station via a handy pedestrian bridge, allowing users to avoid the intersection with the busy S Sante Fe Drive. Continuing through the parking lot across the bridge, the trail resumes along Mineral Avenue, intersecting with the Mary Carter Greenway Trail and crossing the South Platte River. Across the river, the trail takes you right between Cooley and Butterfield Lakes and into the community of Columbine, where the trail ends at the intersection with Platte Canyon Road - alongside which runs the Columbine Trail.
Parking is available at the trail's western end in Columbine Manor Park, just across the road from the start of the trail, as well as at the trail's eastern end in Writers Vista Park off of S Peninsula Drive on the south side of Mineral Avenue.
To reach the eastern trailhead from the direction of Denver, take I-25 south towards Littleton, then take exit 207B and proceed onto US-85 heading south. Continue on US-85 through the city of Littleton (it becomes S Santa Fe Drive) and continue south for several more miles. Turn left onto Mineral Avenue, continue for about a mile, then turn right onto S Peninsula Drive. The parking lot will be on the left.
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