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On the High Road of Denver’s High Line Canal Trail

I took to the trail – the High Line Canal Trail – to escape the hustle and bustle of Denver. The best part is that I didn’t have to go very far (it runs right through the heart of Denver, Aurora, Littleton, Greenwood Village, Centennial, Cherry Hills Village, and Highlands Ranch). The puppies were eager to get out for a jog and appreciated that we left early enough to beat the July heat!

High Line Canal Trail
High Line Canal Trail

We hopped into the truck and bounced out to one of my favorite portions of the trail, which runs through Cherry Hills Village and Greenwood Village. One of the best places to begin your adventure is in Cherry Hills Village at Three Pond Park because there is typically ample parking.

I stretched out and really started to hit my running stride a couple miles south of Three Pond as I passed through the Marjorie Perry Nature Preserve. It had to be the breathtaking scenery and expansive spaces of the preserve that inspired my pace. At times, I could see Mount Evans, Mount Bierstadt, and Longs Peaks in a striking panoramic view of the Front Range.

View of the Front Range
View of the Front Range

I was out for two hours this morning and saw walkers, runners, bikers, and horseback riders. People of all ages wore an ear-to-ear grin as they absorbed the urban oasis that is the High Line Canal. There were parents pushing strollers, children chasing dogs, and parents chasing children as everyone was chasing a good time!

Background and History:

The 71-mile-long High Line Canal was completed in 1883 along the high elevation line south and east of Denver to deliver irrigation water to farmlands and other properties. Denver Water owns the canal and water flowing through it. The adjoining maintenance road was entirely closed to the public until 1970. The road remains closed to all unauthorized motor vehicles, but approximately 60 miles of the road have been improved for use as a recreational trail open to non-motorized users.

Today, the canal trail is designated as a National Landmark Trail and has become a major recreational amenity in the Denver area. The High Line Canal Trail is shaded for much of its length by mature cottonwood trees (but this will change as the canal is used less for water delivery purposes). The surface of the pathway ranges from crusher fines to concrete.

High Line Canal at Kent Denver
High Line Canal at Kent Denver

Josh T

Josh is a native son and big fan of pack burro racing. He thru-hiked the Colorado Trail, loves running and biking, and is passionate about sharing his favorite journeys and experiences with others. You can typically find Josh out exploring the less beaten paths under Colorado's sunny skies.

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