The Highline Canal: Segments 14-17

It’s August, and I haven’t left Colorado since March!  That might be a record for me.  Fortunately I live in a beautiful state that offers a variety of outdoor recreation options.  While I tend to gravitate toward the mountains to hike, occasionally I stick around Denver for a bike ride along the High Line Canal.

My friend Nancy and I have now completed half of the 71 mile High Line Canal.  Our last ride was filled with challenges before we even started, but our ride along Segments 14-17 went very smoothly.  We only had to consult our map a few times, and that was only to verify what we already thought.

Segments 14-17 make up miles 36-46 and travel along a paved or asphalt trail, though it is also possible to ride on a parallel dirt area some of the way as well.  Seeing as how we were riding a hybrid and a mountain bike, we tended toward the dirt trail. But road cyclists could ride these paved segments beginning at the mega church on Hampden Ave and Colorado Blvd., where we started.

Segment 14

Segment 14 leaves the “Wooded Village” portion of the High Line Canal and enters the “Urban Refuge” section of the trail as it crosses the busy Hampden Ave.  The bike path briefly follows Colorado Blvd. along side Magna Carta Park, crosses the canal and then enters Mamie D. Eisenhower Park.

Mamie D. Eisenhower Park is named for the first lady whose family moved to Denver for her sister’s health.  Contrary to present day Texans vacationing in Colorado for the summer, their family vacationed in Texas in the summer! This is where Mamie met Dwight D. Eisenhower.  They married in the family’s Denver home which soon became the “summer white house.”

Anyway, the park is very large and includes a recreation center, pool, tennis courts, several wonderful sports fields, and green space.  It is very nice. About half-way through the park, Segment 14 ends while Segment 15 begins.  There is no differentiation between the two segments.  The map in the book, Guide to the High Line Canal, just indicates each section.

Eisenhower Park on the High Line Canal

Segment 15

Segment 15 of the High Line Canal travels east connecting Eisenhower Park to Bible Park.  This asphalt and concrete section makes up miles 37-41.  The trail passes under I-25 with a pretty mural and crosses a busy intersection at S. Holly St. and E. Yale Ave.  Soon it reaches Bible Park where a fork in the trail provides riders the choice of a paved path or dirt road.

Mural on the High Line Canal

The trail loops around Bible Park, named for James A Bible, a worker who rose through the ranks of the Denver Parks and Recreation.  The park was named for him at his 50-year retirement party! Bible Park is another large, lovely park in Denver which features a playground, tennis courts, an outside gym, and green space.

art in Bible Park

Segment 16

Segment 16 of the High Line Canal begins on the other side of Bible Park.  It covers miles 41-44 as it weaves its way to the Cherry Creek Country Club.  As with Segment 15, it includes a few street crossings. 

In addition, both these segments pass by intermittent apartment complexes and neighborhoods, some of which aren’t terribly picturesque.  This section also provides access to the Goldsmith Gulch Trail and ends a half mile shy of the Cherry Creek Trail.

Segment 17

Segment 17 comprises miles 44-46.  This concrete section of the High Line Canal connects to the Cherry Creek Trail next to the golf course.  If riders left the High Line and joined the Cherry Creek Trail, they could go all the way to the Cherry Creek Reservoir to the southeast or to where the creek meets the South Platte in Downtown Denver at its northern end.

On a historic note, the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indian tribes used to camp, fish, and gather chokecherries along Cherry Creek in what is now Downtown Denver where pioneers from Georgia settled despite regular flooding of the creek.

In an attempt to control the flooding, the failed Castlewood Dam was constructed in 1897.  It held for 17 years before it burst.  After consistent floods, the Cherry Creek Reservoir was built in 1951 and was fortunately used to manage the creek during the catastrophic 1965 South Platte Flood which would have been considerably worse.

Today, this area of the High Line and the Cherry Creek Trail is very busy with cyclists both commuting into the city and riding for recreation.  After passing by the Cherry Creek Country Club, the segment ends at South Quebec Way Trailhead, a small parking area with a port-a-potty.  This is where we turned around for our ride on the High Line Canal.  To be continued…ETB

Cherry Creek Country Club on the High Line Canal

OTHER ARTICLES YOU MAY LIKE ABOUT THE HIGH LINE CANAL

For more maps and books on the High Line Canal visit the High Line Canal Conservancy website.

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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned travel photographer and blogger.

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