Denver Metro Trails
Biking, Running, Walking, and Geocaching the Metro Front Range
Major Trails (south of downtown Denver)
Back to trails main page
Major trails are at least 10 miles in length and usually cut across several municipal boundaries. They are
perfect trails for a long bike ride, or use the maps to find the perfect segment of the trail to explore.
Overview of all major trails: Static map, printable PDF
Highline Canal Trail: Interactive map, printable PDF, Google Earth KML
48.1 miles, paved in Aurora and Denver, crusher fines in Arapahoe and Douglas counties.
It is hard to imagine that there is a better urban trail anywhere in the USA than the Highline Canal. It winds its way along the
canal, a marvel of Victorian-era engineering, sloping a mere 300 feet to the northeast along its entire route. It is flat, wide, and
lined with trees. The section between Hampden Avenue and County Line road (in Arapahoe County) is some of the best scenery
in Denver, with panoramic mountain views and the sprawling estates of Denver's rich and famous.
Cherry Creek Trail: Interactive map, printable PDFs: Denver section, Arapahoe section, Douglas section
38.7 miles, concrete and paved throughout, short on-street section at Arapahoe Road and Jordan
Perhaps the most popular trail in the Denver area, the Cherry Creek Trail takes you from the best areas of downtown, through the
upscale neighborhoods of Cherry Creek, and finally to isolated wilderness areas in Cherry Creek State Park and Douglas County.
You will see a bit of everything, including wildlife of all kinds in the southern sections of the trail. Eventually the trail will be
connected all the way through to Castlewood Canyon State Park. Until then, there is one disconnected segment at Arapahoe Rd
and Jordan that causes a navigation challenge. Unfortunately, there are no good options for this short section. Some will cross
Arapahoe and then walk in the dirt east about a half-mile to Chambers (there is no sidewalk) to connect to the trail at Hutchison
Park. Since Arapahoe Road is a very busy highway, this is a dangerous option especially for children. Cyclists can ride south on
Jordan Road about 1.3 miles to Jamison, then east to Jasper to connect again via the Cherry Creek Valley Ecological Park. It is
a very bad idea to ride bikes on Arapahoe Road. Work to connect the trail underneath Arapahoe Road is scheduled for 2011, and
then the problem is solved.
Highway 470 Trail: Interactive map, printable PDF
29.6 miles, concrete and paved throughout, one small section of crusher fines soft surface (Highline Canal)
Just about every other trail in the Denver area runs along a waterway, providing a nice respite from big-city traffic. Not so this trail.
In fact, this trail follows the C-470 and E-470 highways. It can provide a good workout (lots of hills) or a direct path to commute or
connect other trails, if you can stand the traffic noise. Also, you must endure quite a few busy street crossings. Note: the gap in
the map between the Northwest-Soutwest section and Southwest-Central section are covered by other trails.
Platte River Trail: Interactive map, printable PDF
15.9 miles, concrete and paved throughout
Another classic Denver trail, following the South Platte River. The trail has three distinct sections. South of Belleview Street it is
natural and pristine, with nice scenery and wildlife. From Belleview north to Colfax Avenue the scene turns industrial and
downright ugly at times, with manufacturing, power plants, and close encounters with I-25. North of Colfax to Confluence Park
provides great views of downtown Denver and good opportunities for people watching.
Bear Creek Trail: Interactive map, printable PDF
14.2 miles, concrete and paved throughout
This older trail connects the Platte River to sections of Lakewood and ends in a dramatic hill climb up Mt. Carbon in Bear Creek
Park in Jefferson County. The middle section can be a bit annoying as the trail edges the parking lot of the Bear Creek Mall.
However, the trail itself is not unpleasant, with several long stretches running through shaded parks. A full creek adds a nice
rushing water soundtrack to much of the trip.
Piney Creek Trail: Interactive map, printable PDF
9.5 miles, concrete, small section on-street
At less than 10 miles, this really doesn't qualify as a "major trail", but Piney Creek is included here because it connects the
Cherry Creek Trail to the growing neighborhoods of Southeast Aurora. Some sections along Orchard and Arapahoe Roads can
be a bit noisy. Once you are east of Saddle Rock Golf Course, you'll be amazed at how many houses have been built if you
haven't been out this way in a while. For a longer trip, ride through the new neighborhoods to the Aurora Reservoir, where you'll
find a network of trails including an 8-mile scenic loop around the reservoir itself.