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The Platte River Trail is just one of many of Denver's superb multi-use trails, this one stretching from just north and west of Englewood and heading north toward Henderson. The 28.5-mile trail follows the winding Platte River, coursing through Denver's urban landscape—including its industrial face—and incorporating high plains grassland landscapes with the Rockies as a backdrop.
The trail has two disconnected sections: the northern portion runs from East 120th Parkway north for roughly 3 miles in Henderson, ending before you reach the E470 toll road. The southern section officially runs from the Elaine T. Valente Open Space in Thornton south to West Dartmouth Avenue just west of US Hwy 85 in Englewood. From here, however, the trail continues as the Mary Carter Greenway south to Chatfield State Park, where it joins the C-470 East and C-470 West trails.
You will find bicycle traffic circles at trail intersections, as well as interpretive signs and nature areas along the route. There are cafes, memorials, botanical gardens and numerous parks, offering plenty to see and do. You can also stop and watch kayakers ply the Union Avenue boat chutes.
The Platte River Trail intersects four other trails: Sand Creek, Bear Creek, Clear Creek, and Sanderson Gulch.
There are numerous places along the southern segment to park, including:
Grant Frontier Park: S. Platte River Drive, north of W. Wesley Avenue
Overland Lake Park: S. Platte River Drive at W. Florida Avenue
Frog Hollow Park: W. 8th Avenue, west of I-25/US 87/US 85/US 6
Gates Crescent Park, east of I-25/US 87/US 85/US 6 across from Invesco Field.
Steele Street and E. 78th Avenue
Platte River Trailhead Park, Colorado Boulevard
Northern terminus at E. 104th Avenue
To access the northern segment, park at Adams County Regional Park, 9755 Henderson Road, Brighton. Trails through the park lead to the Platte River Trail.
I started at the northern terminus (small parking area) at 136th and Brighton Rd. I rode out to 88th Ave and back, which was 20 miles total. The first 6.5 miles to 104th Ave are very nice with less obvious/ugly man-made intrusions and lots of natural scenery. South of 104th, you see more fences, power lines, construction areas, urbanization, etc., but it is still nice as you travel along within the river's greenbelt. In this section, near the crossing at McKay Rd., there a couple of short gravel detours but also some nice new path [re]construction just being finished up. Overall, the path itself is excellent as it is wide and very smooth concrete. The course it takes is flat and easy though there is an overall ascent/descent (~10'/mile) based on whether you are going up or down river. Despite it being mid-December with no leaves in the trees and most everything browned out, there are some very pretty cottonwood groves and marshland areas Also, there was plenty of waterfowl varieties to see including Great Blue Herons and a fair number of raptors including a couple of Bald Eagles. I plan on returning during other times of the year to how it looks in the other seasons and because it is such a great recreation resource.
A friend and I rode this trail a couple of weeks ago. Other than a detour between 96th and 104th, which really wasn't too bad, the trail is in good shape. It actually goes through to the north farther than the description listed in the trail guide. It now ends at 136th and Old Brighton Road.
I used the trail many times in September and found all sections of the trail were open.
There are lots of families and weekend sightseers who don't know bike path ediquite, but otherwise it's a great through path that is well maintained. Most of it is scenic along the river with several areas of industrial views. Shops and rest areas along the way. Connects to many other trails.
.......but as of two weeks ago it was discontinuous North of the confluence--there is reconstruction ongoing on the west bank--a bypass using roads is available. Then about a mile North of 96th St in Thornton there is a huge washout. Also note that Clear Creek is also being reconstructed due to flooding about 4 miles West of junction with this trail.
We parked at Overland Pond park on Florida Ave. We went north to Confluence park downtown. Good views of the city, SAField, Elitch. The trail is concrete, mostly flat, and shaded in many areas. North of Confluence is industrial, and not very scenic. Then we turned around and went south to Dartmouth. This section runs along 85 and through some industrial areas. Narrow in spots, but still good views of the river. At Dartmouth, the trail becomes the Mary Carter greenway. We also did the Lakewood Gulch trail and the Sanderson Gulch trail which each run a couple miles west from the Platt trail. In total, 25 miles. Good scenic day.
well maintained trail. I use it to commute to work in the summer. plenty of places to stop and have a snack and for the kids to play near the S. Platte River.
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