Continuing our journey to cycle the entire High Canal Trail, Nancy and I set out on a Sunday evening to complete segments 8-11, approximately 20 miles. Parking for the beginning of Segment 8 at mile 20.5 is on neighborhood streets near Horseshoe Park. While the High Line Conservancy guide suggests parking at S Elati St., we followed Google maps to Horseshoe Park in Littleton (not Aurora). The directions led us to a cul-de-sac next to the trail entrance.
Technically, to begin where we left off, we had to ride to our right (northwest) about a quarter mile to the flume and then turn around to complete the next 19 miles round trip. The entire 19-20 mile ride is on crushed gravel, so it is best ride a hybrid or mountain bike.
Segment 8 of the High Line Canal
Segment 8 is the last segment of the “rolling foothills” portion of the trail. It travels through a nice, shaded area, however, it requires three crossings over Broadway in three miles. Given Broadway is a very busy street, we utilized the nearby stop lights, but found this segment in Littleton to be somewhat tedious.
Segment 9 of the High Line Canal
We were happy to reach Segment 9 which starts the “wooded village” portion of the High Line Canal. Segment 9, which begins at Milliken Park and ends at deKoevend Park is 1.7 miles one way. The large, shady cottonwoods attract more users, thus the pedestrian and cyclist traffic increases. That said, Sunday evening at 6:30 wasn’t too crowded.
This short segment led us across Big Dry Creek to deKoevend Park. The lovely park with tennis courts, a picnic area, and large game fields is named for Julia deKoevend. Julia immigrated to the USA from Austria in 1882. After her husband committed suicide, she was left to raise six children by herself while living on Elkhorn Ranch. One of her daughter-in-laws donated the land for the park to be named in her honor.
Segment 10 of the High Line Canal
After passing by deKoevend Park, we began our journey on Segment 10 which is approximately three miles one way. Here the trail leaves Centennial and enters Greenwood Village. It features views of Mt. Evans from a wagon wheel bench and a preserved, natural habitat at the Sumac Hill Farm Overlook.
Segment 11 of the High Line Canal
Segment 11 continues through Greenwood Village, passes under University Blvd, and ends at E. Orchard Road at mile 30. We meant to stop here, but overshot the segment’s end by nearly two miles. Oops! While the trail is marked, sometimes it is hard to notice the markers.
As a previous competitive horseback rider, my oversight was likely due to being mesmerized by the horse farms in this area. I took more photos of barns than anything else. Segment 11 also features a cottonwood tree with a flock of ceramic birds. The variety along the high line is what makes it interesting.
We turned around near mile 32 where the High Line Canal connects with the Greenwood Gulch Trail by Marjorie Perry Nature Preserve. As a result of my error, we rode 24 miles, but still finished before sunset. Our next outing will likely be shorter, to get back on our planned track. To be continued…ETB
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