High Line Canal Mile 66-62 Green Valley Ranch’s Incredible Views
In partnership with Walk2Connect and the High Line Canal Conservancy, I’m leading groups of walkers on the High Line Canal in Denver until October, one segment at a time until we cover all 71 miles. For the first segment we had 26 walkers, and yesterday, for segment 2, we had 16. Many of these walkers hope to do all of the segments, and I hope they do! One thing I am really starting to enjoy about these segment walks is how different and unsuspecting each segment is. Yesterday, we took off on High Line Canal Segment 2, and here’s its mile-by-mile description.
We picked up the Canal where we had left off with segment 1, where the Canal crosses Picadilly Road in Green Valley Ranch. Here is where the Canal and the Trail come together for the first time. Since the Trail is not marked with mile markers in this area, we assume it’s around mile 66. Thus, we ambled off to the southwest along the Canal on a nicely paved, 8-10 foot wide cement trail. With the wild grasses coming into full height, we were surrounded by gorgeous 4-5 foot tall prairie grasses intermingled with thistle and spiderwort. Before long, we came across our very first mile marker, 66. Finally, we felt we were in Canal civilization!
With a warm day upon us, we settled into a nice 3 mph pace, continuing down the cement path and crossing nicely marked residential streets. Houses frame the path with the Canal on the south and about a 25-foot, well-maintained easement on the north, abutting the backyard fencing of the residences. Before long we came across a nice garden spread of onions, garlic, and lettuces in elevated beds. Within this garden area hung a bulletin board called the “Dead Walnut” with quotes, for sale signs, and classified ads and a call out to the Tanner Gun Show. Overlooking the garden was a peregrine hawk, just hanging out.
After passing a few tot lots and play grounds, the path became a bit narrower and started to turn curves then it came to an abrupt stop at E 40th Avenue. Just to our south, we could see the Canal turn southerly but it was gated. There the Canal went two ways–on its regular route and then an arm jutted to the west which we discovered to be the arm that used to extend to the Rocky Mountain Army Arsenal, nee Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge. Soon, this extender will connect with the First Creek Trail. A bit later on the walk, we saw evidence of this pending connection in work when we crossed Tower. None the less, since we couldn’t continue along the Canal at this point, we instead went east along E 40th Avenue, south on Ensenada and west on E 38th Avenue, where we crossed over the Canal on its way south under i70.
Unfortunately, the Trail doesn’t follow the Canal under i70, and we had to detour all the way to Tower Road where we took a well-needed break at the local Starbucks then continued south, walking parallel to the Canal. Right before walking over i70, we could see in the distance to our east the mile 63 marker in the middle of the field. Hopefully, one day, the Conservancy will be able to build the Trail along the Canal in this area and elegantly transport us under i70.
Still on the sidewalk, we crossed over i70 and continued only a couple of hundred yards to where we picked the Canal up again on the west side of Tower Road. Since it wasn’t quite clear which side of the Canal the Trail continued, we made a game-day decision and took the southern side of the Canal. There were slight remnants of the Trail, and we soon discovered it marked an ultimate Frisbee golf course maintained by Dry Dock Brewery. We found several holes, but it appears that the course hasn’t been used in a while.
Although not quite bushwhacking, but definitely not a well-maintained section of the Trail, we stumbled upon a boat and kegs which were props of the golf course! The Trail then went right through the Canal with steps carved into both sides of the Canal. We assisted each other up and down the Canal, viewing some neat angles up and down the Canal from within the Canal.
As the Canal cut southerly, we stayed on its west side, crossing a few industrial streets and then coming to a set of railroad tracks at Smith Road. To the west we could see the elevated tracks of the A train and waved as the A train went north to Denver International Airport. Although we could have walked a 100 yards to our east and crossed the tracks at Tower Road, we couldn’t resist crossing the tracks in place at the Canal due to the surprise we could see on the south side of the tracks! Our first welcoming sign for the High Line! Although a bit worn out and barely readable, the old, wooden, hand-engraved sign welcomed us, stated the rules of the Canal, and put us squarely back on the Trail.
From the welcoming sign through to Mile 60, we made our way along the west side of the Canal on the Trail At this point the Trail appears as a maintenance road for the Canal where Denver Water trucks traverse the Canal. But the grass is ankle to knee high, so the leader of the walk got the opportunity to tramp down the path as we all followed behind, picking goat heads out of our socks along the way. We did find a dead field mouse in theTtrail, but not other wildlife in this area. We approached the end of our segment from the rear of the King Soopers business offices at intersection of E 19th Avenue and Tower Road. Here, we gathered in our cars, returned folks to their cars that we had parked at the top of the segment, and called it a day at 5.75 miles.
If you’d like to watch a video of the entire segment, jump on over to YouTube or click here.
Thus, we completed High Line Canal Segment 2 of miles 66-60. We will pick up Segment 3 in a week where we will view the wonderful DeLaney Farms. Will you join us?
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.
Found a wildflower I’d never seen before…it was a Scarlet Pimpernel…in the primrose family. Sadly an alien, that is found nearly all over the US…hopefully not noxious. But the flower was tiny and sweet…same orange shade as the mallow we see so much, but a five-petaled star.
Kari, I hope you’ll point another one out on our next segmwnt. I’m a huge fan of the orangemail glove mallow–just planted three more in my yard! Post a pic if you have one.