Peaks to Plains moves forward in Clear Creek

Jeffco Open Space expects next segment to open in fall 2020

Posted 2/6/19

Clear Creek Canyon is already a destination spot for runners, rock climbers, tubers, kayakers, picnickers and anglers. And this list doesn’t event mention the sight-seers and tourists, said Scot …

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Peaks to Plains moves forward in Clear Creek

Jeffco Open Space expects next segment to open in fall 2020

Posted

Clear Creek Canyon is already a destination spot for runners, rock climbers, tubers, kayakers, picnickers and anglers.

And this list doesn’t event mention the sight-seers and tourists, said Scot Grossman, the Peaks to Plains project manager for Jeffco Open Space.

The Peaks to Plains Trail, and specifically the spot where the trail will out of the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon, “is the next step to providing the quintessential Colorado experience,” Grossman said.

About 120 people attended an informational meeting on Jan. 30 at the Golden Community Center to learn about the next step to completing the Peaks to Plains Trail.

Being called the Mouth of the Canyon Project, this segment consists of 1.75 miles of paved-surface trail to be constructed in Clear Creek Canyon, extending east from Tunnel 1 alongside US Highway 6 and connecting to existing trails in Golden.

Along with constructing that segment of trail, the Mouth of the Canyon Project also includes improvements and restoration of about 1.5 miles of the Welch Ditch trail — including .5 miles of its historic wooden flume, which is currently closed to visitors. Improved access points to Clear Creek, two developed trailheads with amenities — restroom facilities and parking lots — and two new bridges are also included in the plans.

The estimated cost of the Mouth of the Canyon Project is about $15 million. It is being funded by a Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), municipal partners and Jeffco Open Space sales tax.

“Colorado is a place to be celebrated,” said Nancy York, planning supervisor for Jeffco Open Space. The Peaks to Plains Trail “is a broader vision for an east-to-west Colorado experience.”

The Mouth of the Canyon Project provides an important segment to the Peaks to Plains Trail — a proposed 65-mile trail connecting the South Platte Trail in Denver to Loveland Pass, and will continue westward to Glenwood Springs.

“It’s the kind of trail that’s going to outlast us by generations,” York said, calling it a legacy trail.

Through a partnership between Clear Creak County Open Space and Jeffco Open Space, three miles of the Peaks to Plains Trail in Clear Creek Canyon opened in summer 2016. In fall 2017, the final three quarters of that segment of the trail opened, including a new bridge, a trailhead, and a developed recreation area with restroom facilities, a parking lot, fishing platforms, picnic pavilions, a geology garden and a boardwalk.

The Mouth of the Canyon Project will be divided into two construction projects, one on the northside of Clear Creek and one on the south side. It is expected that construction will begin on the south side in April and on the north side in September, with a proposed opening in fall, 2020.

There should be minimal impacts to river-users during construction, Grossman said.

“The Peaks to Plains Trail embodies everything that’s great about living in Colorado,” York said. “It will bring people closer to nature. And that’s why many of us live here.”

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