Walking from Aurora through Denver on the 9 Creeks Loop, Segment 5
The 9 Creeks Loop is a 42-mile hike that physically circles the city of Denver on trail. It uses a combination of 4 regional trails to lap the city. I have broken the 42 miles into eight easy ~5-mile segments that are flat, have easy-to-find trailheads and trailends, and all can be walked in any direction. Transit is mostly available to the trailheads, although you may need to be a bit creative. When I walk the Loop, I often will take a Lyft. You can certainly walk the segments as out-n-backs as well.
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9 Creeks Loop ~ Segment 5 Turning West to Denver
Trailhead: Del Mar Elwood Park (12000 E 6th Ave, Aurora, CO 80010)
Trailend: Eloise May Library (1471 S Parker Rd, Denver, CO 80231)
Highlights: Aurora Government Center, Expo Park
With lots of variety on this segment, you’ll cross from Aurora into Denver. From Expo Park through the very urban to the lovely Windsor Gardens and Fairmount Cemetery, you’ll see evidence of the mosaic the trail makes as it ventures through all of Denver.
Start By Leaving Aurora and Returning to Denver
Head south out of Del Mar Park on Peoria about ½ block to the High Line Canal and take a right. In no time, you’ll arrive at Expo Park. At Alameda into the entry to Expo Park, there is an historic sign for the High Line Canal and then a small sign from the City of Aurora that says “Trail” with an arrow. The “Trail” sign goes to the Westerly Creek Trail through Expo Park. The High Line Canal Trail is the pebble trail on the right, which parallels Westerly Creek and then veers west off to the right. That is the one to take, and you can also add Westerly Creek to your nine.
The pebble trail continues along the High Line Canal Trail Mile Marker 50, and then you cross Havana and back into the City of Denver. The Loop moves westerly for quite some time, and you will finally view mountains in the distance. Continue along the Loop, which turns from pebble to asphalt to concrete. As the Loop becomes more populous, so does the vegetation. Soon beautiful varieties of trees will shade you as you amble along, and you will certainly notice that water must have flown through the Canal much more recently.
The High Line Canal Meanders Behind Fairmount Cemetery
In no time, you’ll come along the part of the High Line Canal Trail that goes behind Windsor Gardens. This active senior living community brings out many folks to the Loop. Continue along for about half a mile to the pump house and back entry into Fairmount Cemetery.
Stop at the Cemetery and Appreciate All It Has to Offer
Here, Denver Water used to service its most northern and largest customer, Fairmount Cemetery, from the High Line Canal. A pump house sits along the Canal and pipes water into the Cemetery, where beautiful landscaping and treescapes greet visitors. Several champion trees and one of the largest heritage rose collections in North America grow here. Reinhard Schuetze, the father of design for Denver’s parks, designed this Cemetery. Not only are the buildings and landscaping awe-striking, but so are many of the tombstones. Take a break and enjoy some of the cemetery art before heading down the trail.
Even Though on Trail, the Crossings Can Be Difficult
Once you’ve enjoyed Fairmount, move on down the asphalt path, reaching the intersection of Parker and Mississippi. Take extreme caution when crossing this intersection and use the crosswalk and its buttons. Eventually, the High Line Canal Conservancy plans to put a tunnel under this intersection. In the meantime, cross carefully. Follow the trail until reaching Florida.
Even though You Started in Aurora, You’ll End in Arapahoe
At Florida, instead of continuing along the trail, take a left on Florida and walk about 1000 feet to your trailend at the Eloise May Library on your left.
What did you like most about segment 5 of the 9 Creek Loop? Are you ready for segment 6?
Walking the 9 Creeks Loop and Denver By Foot
You can find more information about the 9 Creeks Loop here. Chris Englert wrote about it extensively in her book, The Best Urban Hikes: Denver.
If you’ve enjoyed this walk, maybe you will enjoy some other walks curated by Denver By Foot. Get the 52 Hikes 52 Weeks Denver Calendar, which recommends a hike a week, subscribe to the YouTube Channel to hear about weekly hiking suggestions in Denver, and buy access to the Denver By Foot Challenge. The Challenge is 30 activities in Denver to do by foot where you can uncover treasures throughout Denver. It’s a great thing to do with friends and family.
Finally, please support Denver By Foot by purchasing Chris Englert’s books, The Best Urban Hikes: Denver and Discovering Denver Parks. Thank you so much!
This post was originally written by Chris Englert and has been updated by Lisa Alonge.