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The Cherry Creek Regional Trail is a picturesque 40-mile route that begins in downtown Denver and connects suburban and rural Arapahoe and Douglas Counties, including the communities of Parker, Centennial and Franktown. The vast majority of the trail has an 8-foot wide concrete surface, but short sections of the more rural southern end consist of gravel trail and road.
The trail begins at the Platte River Trail in Denver's Confluence Park, which marks the area where a gold discovery in 1858 led to the founding of the city. Meandering southeast, the trail parallels Cherry Creek through urban landscapes and parks and into the suburbs. Highlights of the route include the Cherry Creek Shopping District and Four Mile House and Historic Park, where one can learn about Denver's early pioneers.
In Arapahoe County, the trail emerges in Cherry Creek State Park, which offers several hiking trails, campgrounds and a vast array of recreational opportunities around Cherry Creek Reservoir. Near the park's southern edge, the trail goes under Arapahoe Road (State Route 88), allowing trail users to seamlessly continue their southward journey uninterrupted by busy traffic.
Just before entering Douglas County, trail-goers pass through the Parker Jordan Centennial Open Space. Purchased by the Parker Jordan Metropolitan District in 2009, the formerly private 107 acres with Cherry Creek snaking through it are now preserved in perpetuity. Continuing south over the county line, the trail passes through suburban and then increasingly rural areas, before ending at a wooded and hilly dead-end in Franktown, not far from scenic Castlewood Canyon State Park.
Begin at Confluence Park off 15th Street in Denver. The trail is also accessible from Cherry Creek State Park in Arapahoe County, as well as many other points in Denver, Arapahoe County and Douglas County. Refer to the TrailLink map for exact parking and access locations.
Trail has bikers, walkers and joggers with heavy usage. It's relatively flat and any novice can do it. However be warned, there are numerous bikers who ride at speeds over 20mph (posted limit of 15) and don't care to slowdown for congestion or warn people being overtaken. While every ride is enjoyable, this one was more stressful than any I've been on.
The trail is great in that it's separated from cars, in some sections it's even separated from walkers and runners, and it makes accessing downtown a breeze. However, there is a major disconnect between this trail and all of the bike friendly streets of downtown. Because the trail follows Speer, arguably the most dangerous and busy street in Denver, it's extremely nerve-wracking trying to get off the trail to access anywhere downtown from most exit points.
Denver's done a decent job of making their streets bike-friendly but the major thing the area lacks is connection of those streets to other streets and trails. Turning left is a nightmare and getting on the Cherry Creek trail is nearly impossible without riding on the sidewalk for a few blocks.
I have been riding this trail for over 20 years. I used to ride it to commute to and from work before I retired. Still ride it at least several times a month. Recent additions and completion of broken sections make this a great trail to ride for a long days ride.
Very enjoyable walk from the dam south through Arapahoe and Douglas County. The trail has very few un paved spots mostly the very southern part in Douglas County. Also beware that going south the last restroom facilities are at the Pinery Trailhead after that all the way to Franktown there are no facilities. It is a nice trail to walk the paths are wide and there is a lot of wildlife to see.
I just finished a two month bicycle tour of several western states beginning in New Mexico and coming through Denver and environs from the southeast. I picked up the trail and appreciated being separated from motor vehicles. I rode the southern section on Saturday evening and stealth camped before continuing the next morning heading north toward Confluence Park, REI, and rolling on up to connect with the Boulder bike path. As others have commented, the trail is wonderful, but the signage or more accurately, the lack thereof was most frustrating. Time and again, I would reach a point where the trail would divide or even come to an end and there would be no indication of which direction to turn. A common occurrence was coming to a point where the trail would temporarily end and then resume a few hundred yards distant from that point. If one is riding the trail for the first time as I was, most annoying to not be directed to the continuation point. Again, I reiterate that the opportunity to ride many miles separated from traffic was so nice, but the planners need to get out there and post signs.
We enjoyed this part of the overall 40 mi. trail on bikes and inlines. The trail is concrete pavement (not overly wide) from the Walker Rd. trailhead to a short distance north of Bayou Gulch Road where the pavement abruptly ends. The trail turns 90 degrees and continues east but 80mm wheels don't work so well in mud so we turned back.
This portion of the trail passes through grassy meadows, treed areas and over some rolling hills. The trail is in great shape and was not crowded. We passed a few cyclists and a few folks walking. There are a few bridge crossings and underpasses. We look forward to coming back and trying the section north of Scott Road.
Awesome trail up and through the park. it can get crowed for cyclist because of families and dog walkers, but overall it's an awesome trail.
Did a 10 miler with Boy Scouts for the hiking merit badge. Lots of grasshoppers, and raptors. Nice and flat so you can do any easy 10 miles even if you are not very fit. Four stars because you're hiking behind amid the gear Colorado housing sprawl, and end up jumping out of the path of bicycles frequently.
I get lost every time I ride this trail south and back from the reservoir. The trail splits many different directions, runs parallel to other trails at some points, and has construction around Arapahoe Rd. I became very lost around the construction, as there were NO signs telling me where to go. It was not a pleasant experience. Other than that, the ride is not overly hilly and the view is good.
Love, love this ride! It is beautiful! There have been many improvements on the south side of this trail. We love it and want to ride down there more often.
When is the detour going to be eliminated? Leaving the park to ride on the side walk, then crossing all 6 -8 lanes of Arapahoe road to get back on the trail is frustrating. I'm looking forward to the completion. I will head south more often once it is more convenient. :)
Definitely enjoyed this trail. I look forward to biking another leg soon. Very clean and not too much traffic
gorgeous and well-made and perfect for getting around and seeing Denver and environs without watercourse eye view. And no worrying about any cars or missed directions - really well protected urban trail - blossoming!
I ride this trail often. I think of it in two parts, broken by a short on-road section. The northern half starts in downtown Denver, rides below the streets through town, through tony Cherry Creek, through the 'burbs and finally through Cherry Creek Reservoir State Park. The southern half heads south from there through Parker, and ultimately Franktown.
The northern section is a delight as an urban trail, and is very popular with the work-out crowd, and riders who are all about staying in "the zone". On any given summer evening it's practically crawling with the kind of riders who go too fast, and have no patience with those who are actually enjoying themselves. That's partly why I spend more time on the southern end.
The further south you go, the more rural and peaceful it becomes. Wildlife is abundant. Deer, coyote, eagles, cranes, foxes; I came close to running into an antelope one morning (I think he thought I was another antelope). Here also you'll find the cottonwood-lined stream that the early pioneers would've seen. Cherry Creek was how travelers came into Denver on the old Overland Trail, a dangerous shortcut across Kansas. There are still "mile houses" along the way, inns that took in travelers, and in places the trail doesn't seem to have changed noticeably in the last 150 years.
The southern end is great all year round, being paved and kept clear of snow, and provides a nice glimpse into winter on the plains. It ends near the Castlewood Canyon State Park. Heading south from the end of the trail you can ride into and through the park, stopping to check out the ruins of an old dam that collapsed in the 1930s, causing quite the flood in Denver. Dirt roads will take you to Greenland and the trail system there that will then connect you to Colorado Springs, if you have the time and energy.
Cherry Creek is a real Denver treasure.
My son rode from the trail head in Franktown and ended at Confluence Park in Denver. He loved it.
Trip from LoDo to Cherry Creek Reservoir - fantastic. Got bikes from Confluence Kayaks as we were on holiday from UK. Excellent weather and trail was relatively easy to follow - slightly uphill towards reservoir area. Got caught in thunderstorm on way back but this added to enjoyment (!!) of the ride. Highly recommend it to beginners / tourists.
What a great trail this is! This was the first time I have ever rode on this trail. Me and my 8 year old daughter road from Cook Park to the Cherry Creek Country Club. Not having to cross the busy roads is what made this such a great trail to ride on. Lots of trees to where you always felt you weren't in the city. Rode by Four Mile Historic Park which I did not even know was there before. Will surely plan more ride on the Cherry Creek Trail to enjoy more of its beauty.
My wife and I love this trail. We camp at Cherry Creek State Park. From there we can ride 15 miles across Greater Denver to the center of town without crossing a single street. Well, that is if the creek don't rise. The streets are avoided by riding under the bridges that carry the street across the creek. When the creek rises the under crossings can become flooded. That really isn't a problem because you can use the access from the streets to cross the street and continue on the path.
From the Cherry Creek Trail there are no end of other great trails to ride. Ride to the north end of the trail at Confluence Park, stop at REI and get the "Bicycling The Greater Denver Area Route Map." This map will show you all the other possibilities for riding around Greater Denver.
Cherry Creek State Park is a great place to stay but it is no secret. Make your reservation early. By June the weekends are booked solid for the entire season.
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