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Clear Creek Trail, Wheat Ridge, Colorado

Long portions of the Clear Creek Trail hug the creek margin and lend the feeling of passing through an eastern forest, unusual for the arid climate of the Colorado Front Range.

From City of Wheat Ridge, Parks and Recreation Department

Map of ColoradoThe 6.5 mile family-friendly multi-use trail is located just south of Interstate 70 and runs from Harlan to Youngfield Street winding through the scenic Wheat Ridge Greenbelt. The Clear Creek Trail provides numerous conservation benefits and recreation opportunities including biking, walking, kayaking, and bird watching.

Photo of trail bridge

A new bridge over Clear Creek

Changes have been many to the Wheat Ridge Greenbelt and its portion of the Clear Creek Trail. Over the past decade many improvements have been made including the addition of two new bridges and the replacement of an entire bridge and the redecking of two older bridges.

An additional new, mile and a half segment of paved trail was added in 1997. The trail has been widened to 10 feet and converted to concrete from asphalt where possible. These changes have lead to a much safer much easier to maintain trail facility.

Six kiosks have been installed providing a means to communicate a wide variety of information and to offer brochures for trail users.

Photo of wetlands

Part of the Clear Creek Trail runs along a designated conservation areas

The Clear Creek Trail connects with another major metro area trail the South Platte River Trail. This trail sequencing makes it possible to stay on a bike path from Golden to Littleton or Golden to Brighton accessing the entire Metro area's trail system and the Wheat Ridge portion of the Clear Creek trail is a vital segment.

A portion of the Wheat Ridge Greenbelt in which this portion of the Clear Creek Trail lays is a designated conservation area. The conservation area contains crusher fines and dirt trails and is off limit to bikes. It receives much use from people of all ages but especially older adults.

 

 

Photo of bikes on trail

Clear Creek Trail hugs the creek margin and lends the feeling of passing through a forest

This area has recorded bird observation dating back to the 1800's and also contains a federally list threatened specie, Ute Ladies' Tresses Orchid, Spiranthes diluvialis. This is a parallel trail separate from the main bike trail.

The main Clear Creek Trail passes by a historic fording of Clear Creek known as Boyd's Crossing was used during the initial gold rush and exploration of the State. The entire Wheat Ridge Greenbelt and its portion of the Clear Creek Trail is free and provides all citizen of all social status access.

Thriving Wheat Ridge has many partners including the City of Wheat Ridge, Jefferson County Health, Jefferson County Public Schools, Exempla and the Jefferson Center for Mental Health. They assist with promoting healthy life style and have applied for and received a grant to assist with promoting walking and trail use within our City/community including supplying economical pedometers.

Photo of lake

Reclaimed gravel mining operations along the Greenbelt became lakes for wildlife

This in an urban area that not only provides tremendous recreational value, but possesses tremendous conservation value as well. A significant portion of trail was developed through an abandoned gravel mining operation. The gravel mines have been reclaimed as lakes that support an abundance of wildlife including an impressive assortment of birds.

Trail managers have been quite successful in their efforts to allow people to meaningfully interact with this natural treasure in a way that limits negative impact on wildlife and habitat. They have accomplished this through well designed, well-placed, unobtrusive, fencing and other mitigation measures that gently encourage responsible use.

For more information:

City of Wheat Ridge, Parks and Recreation Department
7500 W. 29th Ave., Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
www.ci.wheatridge.co.us

The National Recreation Trails Program
American Trails, P.O. Box 491797, Redding, CA 96049-1797 (530) 547-2060 Fax: (530) 547-2035 nrt@americantrails.org www.AmericanTrails.org

Enter the annual Photo Contest for National Recreation Trails

Photo of boardwalk in swamp
Audubon Center at the Francis Beidler Forest (photo: Mark Musselman)

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