I’m finding a bit of a routine during COVID these days. I go on weekday hikes to avoid the crowds and weekend bike rides to complete the High Line Canal. Avoiding the crowds is for solitude in nature, not COVID, but it’s good to kills two birds with one stone.
This weekend, Nancy and I tackled another portion of the High Line Canal. Our first ride covered segments 2 and 3, while our second stretched over segments 4-7. Uniquely the segments are labeled differently between the Guide to the High Line Canal that I purchased from the conservancy and the online walking segments on their website.
Moving forward, I have chosen to reference the segments as they are listed in the book of which there are 27. In my previous post, prior to receiving the guide in the mail, I claimed there were only 14.
Segments 4-7 of the High Line Canal
Riding segments 4-7 of the High Line Canal results in a 19.2 mile out-and-back trip. These segments pass through the suburbs and are considered part of the “rolling foothills” of the linear park. While there are about four miles of concrete, most of the trail is crushed gravel, so it is best to leave a road bike at home.
Fly’N B Park
There are a variety of places to park and enter the trail. We selected Fly’N B Park at the end of segment 5 and the beginning of segment 6. Fly’N B Park is a nice option as it is conveniently located near a highway exit. In addition, the park includes a historic building and a pond worth a short visit.
The only downside to parking at Fly’N B Park is having to cross Santa Fe Drive, a busy, four lane road twice. It is not recommended, but on an early weekend morning, traffic is minimal. An alternative parking area is at Carder Court Trailhead, however, in order to skip the Santa Fe Drive crossing, cyclists would have to ride the 4.6 miles in Segment 4, load their bike up, and then drive to another parking area on the trail to continue. Consequently, we began our journey at 9am on a Saturday for an easy crossing.
From Fly’N B Park, we headed south from mile 15 to mile 11. This is also the “downhill” way which I refer to in quotes as the overall trail is relatively flat. But after four miles “downhill” we could ride “uphill” for the next 9.6 miles and turn around to end on an easy note.
Taking Segment 5 2.5 miles in the southwesterly direction rewards cyclists with views of the University of Denver Golf Club at Highlands Ranch. The Rocky Mountains in the distance create a beautiful back drop. Continuing south toward Segment 4, as I mentioned above, requires crossing Santa Fe Drive.
Thereafter riders pass the Chatfield Reservoir, a giant rock quarry, and ride alongside the railroad. We were lucky to see the Burlington Northern Santa Fe train which sounded its horn just after we reached the dead end at private property.
Turning around at mile 11, we retraced our path, crossed Santa Fe once more, and continued through Segment 5 and began exploring Segments 6 and 7. Segment 6 stretches 2 miles through Dad Clark Gulch on a mostly concrete trail.
Now headed in a northeasterly direction, we followed the High Line Canal across the Centennial Trail, beneath the 470 underpass and past the McLellan Reservoir. Brown posts mark the mileage and it is important to keep an eye out for the markers near mile 17 at the beginning of Segment 7.
Nearing mile 17.5, the High Line Canal veers to the left. A crushed gravel trail follows suit, while the concrete path continues in an easterly direction uphill toward Broadway. We naturally stayed on the paved portion which we were on, and this took us the wrong direction.
After we pedaled up the hill, we checked Google Maps as it appeared, we were no longer following the waterless canal. We corrected our mistake swiftly and joined the crushed gravel trail for 2.5 more miles. Here we passed picturesque bridges leading to large homes on one side of the High Line Canal and wide-open pastures with barns on the other.
Fly’N B Park (Again)
We ended at mile 20 near a flume at the base of Horseshoe Park where we will begin our next adventure. At Horse Shoe Park, we returned the way we came to complete our out-and-back ride. Before returning home, we stretched out legs at Fly’N B Park while checking out the historical Fly’N B House.
The white, clapboard house was constructed in 1906 by the Plews family. The house and surrounding land have changed hands many times over the years, and have operated in many capacities, from a truck farm, to an illegal gambling facility, to a Rubber Company. It has since been conveyed to Highlands Ranch Metro District which is renovating it for public use.
The High Line Canal is a great way to bike in Denver, but to still get a taste of nature along the way. Segments 4-7 are a very picturesque portion of the trail. ETB
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