Segment 1, Where’s the Canal? Mile 71-66
This summer through fall, in partnership with the High Line Canal Conservancy and Walk2Connect, we are walking the High Line Canal in Denver. We have broken it up into 11 segments, averaging 6 miles a segment, but some segments are as short at 4 miles, and some are as long as 11. A group of about 20 walkers will walk the entire 71 miles from its northern terminus near Denver Airport all the way to its southern terminus in Waterton Canyon. Winding through a mosaic of landscapes, we’ll track each mile and document some of the fun and adventure. Here’s the write up on the High Line Canal Segment 1. If you’d like to watch a full video of the entire walk, you can find it here.
High Line Canal Mile 71*
Segment 1 from miles 71 to 66 starts at the northern terminus in sight of the Denver International Airport. Currently, its final end is not accessible due to construction of the Painted Prairie subdivision. But that didn’t stop 26 walkers from adventuring on the first segment in June 2016. We met at 9 am and found evidence of the Canal as it cut the corner of the High Point subdivision and went under 64th Avenue. After taking a group photo, we headed south. Watch the footage here.
High Line Canal Mile 70-69
The Canal runs behind the High Point subdivision and, again, cannot be accessed. So we walked south through the neighborhood until we reached 56th Avenue. This subdivision is a mix of middle-class homes with typical 2-story, garage-style homes along a grid with a nice grassy park in the middle of the subdivision. Standard sidewalks skirt both sides of the street. Some parts of the neighborhood are still under construction. Lucky homeowners have great access to the airport and to the future development of the High Line. Watch the footage here.
High Line Canal Mile 69.5
We gathered at 56th Avenue to find that we needed to go east to catch the Trail. As the intersection of Genoa Street, there is no pedestrian crossing making the crossing of 56th Street quit hazardous. Walkers could go west and cross at 56th and Dunkirk, but the Trail is toward the east. On the south side of 56th Street is a nice sidewalk, but getting there from the north side is not safe. Thus, we chose to walk east along the north side of 56th to Ireland. At this intersection, we went north on Ireland about 100 yards to its dead end. There, we could see evidence of the Canal by way of its indicator species and some PVC pipe marking it. The Canal runs due west about a half of a mile to just east of Picadilly. But again, it’s not currently walkable.
High Line Canal Mile 69
Since we couldn’t walk on the Canal, we headed south along Ireland. Again, when we got to 56th Avenue, it was a hazardous crossing for pedestrians. Although a bit better than at Genoa because at least it was an intersection with a northbound stop sign. We crossed as a group, shocking one driver who found it odd (her face!) that she had to slow down for a pedestrian group crossing in front of her. After crossing 56th, we paralleled the Trail for a little while. We then took a left on Maxwell Place and then a right onto the Green Valley Golf Course where we found our first High Line Canal sign! Watch the footage here.
High Line Canal Mile 68
After a brief summary of golf course etiquette and to listen for sounds of, “Fore!”, we headed down the path. Golfers shared the beauty with us, but the Trail was very hot and there were no facilities along the way. I was hoping there might be a golfers’ rest area with toilets, but there were none to be found. As we started to head westerly on the cement Trail, we had wonderful views of the Rockies. Watch the footage here.
High Line Canal Mile 68-67
Our pace trued up to about a 20-minute mile as folks connected, took pictures, and got into the rhythm of the walk. A few folks changed shoes, one made some adjustments to a knee brace, and others happily ambled behind at a bit slower pace. I had forewarned the group about the lack of facilities on this leg of the Canal, and we were all greatly surprised to come across the Golf Course’s beer truck. In a souped up golf cart, a concessionaire appeared magically alongside offering beer, drinks, ice and snacks. Our group, unfortunately for the concessionaire, was well stocked and passed up on her offers, but none the less, it was a great treat and nice back up plan if necessary. Watch the footage here.
High Line Canal Mile 67
By the time mile 67 popped up, we were all in need of shade and a little break. I spotted a tree grove up ahead and lined the group up with a large cottonwood that offered a nice spot of shade. Fortunately for us, the cottonwood overshadowed the landscaping at a tee box on the Golf Course which offered up a small fence for folks to sit on. Thus we got off the Trail by 4 or 5 feet and took advantage of the shade and the fence. While unpacking snacks, we were approached by a lady asking us what we were doing. As the horticulturist for the Golf Course, she was thrilled to find out about the High Line and that we were walking all 71 miles. She then shared some info about the Golf Course, including pointing out an active eagle’s nest and mentioning the beavers who lived in the lakes on the Course. What nice Trail Magic! Watch the footage here.
High Line Canal Mile 66
After our break, we continued along the Trail. I should point out that at the point we entered the Golf Course, the Trail and the Canal separate. The Canal stays far east off the Trail as the Trail meanders through the Golf Course. Around the beginning of mile 66, we had made our way through the Golf Course and entered the Green Valley Ranch neighborhood. Soon, we caught up with what I believe was the spur that leads out to the Wildlife Refuge. Google marks it as the East Branch of the High Line Canal. I think this will all sort out in Segment 2. None the less, we walked along 51st Place until we reached Picadilly. This part of the cemented Trail is nicely shaded. Watch the footage here.
High Line Canal End of Mile 66
We reached Picadilly where we could see evidence of the Canal off in the eastern distance. We also got a glimpse of two deer within the Canal. We then continued south along the Trail, paralleling the Canal for a few hundred yards. The Canal crosses Picadilly at 50th Avenue, and finally, the Trail and the Canal come together. This is where we ended our walk for the day, and we’ll pick up here for Segment 2. Watch the footage here.
Join Us on the High Line Canal
If you would like to join us for any of the segments, you can register at www.walk2connect.com for the segments you want to walk. The full schedule is below. Please join us on the High Line Canal. #71miles
- Saturday, 6/4 @ 9:00 a.m. | The Northern Terminus at Green Valley Ranch | 5 Miles | Details & Registration
- Thursday, 6/16 @ 10:00 a.m. | Colfax Connections and The Arsenal | 6 Miles | Details & Registration
- Saturday, 6/25 @ 8:30 a.m. | Crossing Colfax and DeLaney Farm | 6 Miles | Details & Registration
- Wednesday, 7/20 @ 5:00 p.m. | The Creeks of Aurora: Westerly, East Gate, and Toll Gate | 6.5 | Miles Details & Registration
- Saturday, 8/6 @ 9:00 a.m. | Denver’s Urban Core with a Cherry Creek Respite | 10.5 Miles | Details & Registration
- Friday, 8/12 @ 4:00 p.m. | Beautiful Cherry Hills | 8 Miles | Details & Registration
- Sunday, 8/28 @ 9:00 a.m. | Greenwood Village | 4 Miles | Details & Registration
- Monday, 9/5 (Labor Day!) @ 9:00 a.m. | A Long Amble Through Littleton | 10 Miles | Details & Registration
- Wednesday, 9/14 @ 6:00 p.m. | Fly’n By Highlands Ranch | 5 Miles | Details & Registration
- Friday, 9/23 @ 6:00 p.m. | Down and Back Plum Creek | 8 Miles | Details & Registration
- Saturday, 10/1 @ 9:00 a.m. | Southern Terminus and Waterton Canyon | 3-5 Miles | Details & Registration
The more information about the High Line Canal Conservancy and how they advocate for the Canal, visit their information at www.highlinecanal.org. For more information about whole health, community walking initiatives, visit www.walk2connect.com.
*Please note that there are no mileage markers on this part of the Trail, so mileage is approximate.