High Line Canal Mile 47-36 Denver’s Urban Core and Cherry Creek Respite
11 miles–that was our goal for this segment through Denver’s urban core and through Cherry Creek–and we tackled it with finesse and grace. All 13 walkers on High Line Canal Segment 5 eagerly took the 11 mile challenge, and the Canal gave us much joy under cloudy skies and 75 degree temperatures. It was a perfect day for a long walk on the High Line Canal.
Rather than give a mile-by-mile, blow-by-blow as I have in the past, I’ll highlight a few features we uncovered on this fabulous segment walked in partnership with Walk2Connect and the High Line Canal Conservancy. We started off at mile marker 48 between Windsor Gardens and Fairmount Cemetery.
Fairmount Cemetery–A Denver Historic Landmark
Within the first mile, we came across the wonderfully historic pump house. Here, the pumps move water from the Canal into Windsor Lake where the water reserves until the Cemetery needs it. Fairmount Cemetery is the 2nd largest and oldest user of the High Line Canal. Denver Water is working with the Cemetery to come up with alternatives to ditch irrigation, but in the meantime, not only does the Cemetery continue as a historic landmark, but it also stewards several champions trees, rare roses and other flora and fauna. Tours are available for this historic landmark.
The Parker/Mississippi Crossing
Atrocious, dangerous, and downright obnoxious, the crossing at Parker and Mississippi near mile marker 48 begs accidents to happen, but thankfully, the High Line Canal Conservancy is on the case. With over 22,400 cars a day, at least, and a beg button that is halfway across the street, help is on the way! Studies have been completed, construction of a box culvert below the intersection will begin in 2018, and by 2019, High Liners will have a safe way to cross Parker and Mississippi. Let’s give a huge shout out to the High Line Canal Conservancy for brokering and advocating for this great improvement!
Walking in the Canal
Oh what a treat! Between mile markers 46 and 47, we actually walked down in the Canal! A gorgeous dirt trail leads the way through mature fruit trees and bushes while offering a cooler walk by about 2-3 degrees! We had to exit the interior of the Canal to enjoy the wonderful and new tunnel under Iliff, but what a nice change of pace to actually be down in the Canal walking!
Cherry Creek Culvert
Water rights: long ago fought over and still continuing in the west. Water rights play out at the intersection of Cherry Creek and the High Line Canal. Here, a culvert transports water from the Canal under Cherry Creek so that the water systems don’t intermingle. Now I don’t know for sure why this is the case, but I imagine ecosystem issues weren’t in the front of conversation in the late 1880s, but water rights were. None the less, we spied where the Canal ditches under Cherry and then picks up just south. We snaked around the Cherry Creek and followed the signs to continue along the High Line Canal.
Wonderful Bible Park
Between miles 42-41, we enjoyed a nice amble through Bible Park. The Trail follows the Canal on the dirt trail which runs between the Canal and the paved trail within the park. Tennis courts, outdoor fitness gyms, baseball fields, natural areas and green fields decorated our view as we horseshoed around the park. It was nice on our legs to enjoy the dirt path and get off of the concrete and asphalt Trail. In addition, we took advantage of the restrooms at the baseball fields to fill water bottles and use facilities.
To see footage of Bible Park, watch this video.
Crossing under Interstate 25
It’s easy to lose yourself while walking on the Canal, and street crossings often feel a bit out of place. Even when exiting the Trail, it’s easy to wonder where you are. So when we suddenly came upon interstate 25, we all felt a bit shocked. Where did this giant under-crossing come from? None the less, we ambled under the 8 lanes of drivers going 60 miles per hour–a much different pace than our 3 miles per hour.
A Party at the End
In no time, we reached out last mile marker for the day as we entered Mamie Eisenhower Park. To our surprise, a live band played us into the Park and the High Line Canal Conservancy, there participating in a neighborhood event, welcomed the 13 of us 11-milers. Pictures, hot dogs, and cold water greeted us as we completed our longest walk on the High Line Canal Segment 5.
Changes to the High Line Canal Walking Schedule
If you aren’t up on the changes to the segment schedule, be sure to check the updates. Our next segment will be on Friday, August 12. If you joined us on High Line Canal Segment 5, you’ll certainly want to join us for the 8-mile Segment 6 through Cherry Hills. See you then!