Construction continues on Peaks to Plains trail

1.75 mile gateway trail section, 0.5 mile flume trail set to open next summer

Paul Albani-Burgio
palbaniburgio@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 11/3/20

Anyone who lives near Golden has probably a spent a little time admiring the steep walls and fast — or sometimes not so fast — flowing waters of Clear Creek Canyon. But come next spring residents …

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Construction continues on Peaks to Plains trail

1.75 mile gateway trail section, 0.5 mile flume trail set to open next summer

Posted

Anyone who lives near Golden has probably a spent a little time admiring the steep walls and fast — or sometimes not so fast — flowing waters of Clear Creek Canyon.

But come next spring residents and, surely, hoards of visitors will be able to enjoy the creek in a whole new way with the opening of a new stretch of paved of trail that will stretch roughly 1.75 miles into the canyon from the existing Clear Creek trail Golden.

The new trail represents the latest phase of the peaks to plains trail project, which is seeking to construct a new 65-mile trail that will connect the South Platte River trail in downtown Denver to the headwaters of Clear Creek at Loveland pass.

On Oct. 22, Jeffco Projects Team supervisor Scot Grossman took Colorado Community Media reporter Paul Albani-Burgio on a tour of the under-construction trail. Here is a look at how construction is progressing on the project, which is now slated to open in June of 2021:

Welch Ditch Flume

Repairs are also underway to repair the wood planks that make up the flume of the Welch Ditch, which was used built in the 1930s by the Golden Canal and Reservoir Company and used to transport water from Clear Creek to agricultural land around Golden.

The flume, has been partially closed because much of the rock walls that are used to support it have fallen away. However, the team working on the project has been drilling big rods called micropiles into the bedrock beneath the trail and building concrete caissons on top of them that will support the structure of the flume.

“It's going to have the same look and feel and be rustic and old and have lots of splinters but it is going to be safe structurally,” said Grossman.

The flume will eventually open as a hiker-only half-mile trail that can be accessed from the main trail. It will offer an elevated view of the canyon and be outfitted with interpretive information.

The features

Paving has been completed on several portions of the trail, which will consist of a 10-foot wide concrete surface. Railings are set to be installed soon and the concrete will be stained.

Construction is nearing completion on a hiker-only bridge on the west end of the trail that will allow hikers to access the flume.

Two new parking lots about 175 spaces and two bathrooms are being constructed.

Legacy

“The idea with this is this is a legacy project of statewide significance that is going to last 100 years,” said Grossman. “I really love the idea that there will be kids who grow up in Golden and they ride their bike to the trail to go climb somewhere or ride to Centennial Cone and spin a lap up there and that's just what they grew up with and it's part of Golden, just like how you can't imagine Denver not having the Cherry Creek trail.”

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