Peaks to Plains Trail
The Peaks to Plains Project Vision
The vision of the Peaks to Plains Trail is a 65-mile trail of statewide significance that will serve the 3 million residents of the Denver metro area. The goal is that the Peaks to Plains Trail will one day connect the South Platte Trail in Denver to the headwaters of Clear Creek at Loveland Pass. Once completed, it will connect four counties and seven cities, with a total elevation gain of more than 1 mile.
This legacy trail project will offer visitors a truly quintessential Colorado experience. That is why it was chosen as one of former Governor Hickenlooper’s 16 highest priority trail projects in the state as part of the Colorado the Beautiful Initiative.
The first portions of the Peaks to Plains Trail in Clear Creek Canyon Park opened in 2016 and 2017, offering four miles of 10-foot-wide paved surface right along Clear Creek. The next step will be continuing the trail east to Golden with the Clear Creek Canyon Park - Gateway Segment.
Current Construction - Huntsman Segment
The Huntsman Segment is the next piece of the Peaks to Plains Trail through Clear Creek Canyon. This 3-mile segment of ADA compliant trail will build off of the recently opened Gateway segment connecting the west side of Tunnel 1 to Huntsman Gulch. It will include seven new bridges spanning Clear Creek, one new bridge over US Highway 6, one new underpass beneath US Highway 6, multiple creek access points, as well as two new trailheads with full amenities and parking for approximately 100 vehicles. Construction broke ground in July 2022 and once it opens to the public in 2025 we will only have a little less than 6 miles to complete the 13.5-miles of trail in Jefferson County.
Gateway Segment - Gateway and Tunnel 1 Trailheads
Jefferson County Open Space is happy to finally announce the completion and opening of the Gateway Segment to Clear Creek Canyon Park as of August 25, following a 4 P.M. “cable cutting” ceremony.
This 1.75-mile trail connects with downtown Golden along Clear Creek and continues west to Tunnel 1 along US 6. The two new trailheads – one at the entrance to the canyon and one near Tunnel 1 – feature more than 170 parking spaces, permanent restrooms, and shade structures. The parking area at the Gateway Segment of Clear Creek Canyon Park has the added features of a bike repair station, a bike rack with metal frame crafted from the parts of cars retrieved from the canyon during construction, and a drinking fountain that includes a ground-level fountain for four-legged hiking companions.
This project also includes the first suspension bridge in Jefferson County. This pedestrian-only crossing of Clear Creek near Tunnel 1 connects hikers with the restored wooden flume of the Welch Ditch on the south side of the creek. Water access is also improved with rock staircases along the trail. This Gateway Segment – part of the Peaks to Plains Trail – honors the area’s mining history with materials and treatments like stained concrete and bridge railings that are designed to help the trail blend in with the canyon.
The trail will be open from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset, with electronic gates at both parking facilities closing at those times to prohibit overnight parking.
Gateway Segment Project Stats
- 33,000 square feet of precast modular block walls (about 4,100 blocks)
- About 107 evergreen trees, 282 deciduous shrubs and 117 evergreen shrubs
- 3,600 square feet of rockery walls (base rocks weigh more than 5,000 pounds)
- 6,500 square feet soil nail walls
- 19,400 cubic yards of dirt removed
Mayhem Gulch and Big Easy Trailheads
Through a partnership with Clear Creek County Open Space, the first segment of the Peaks to Plains trail in Clear Creek Canyon Park opened in summer 2016. This 3-mile segment of trail, two miles in Jefferson County and one in Clear Creek County, is a 10-foot-wide, stained concrete surface, with 500 feet in elevation gain, six new or improved river access points, the Mayhem Gulch trailhead, and three bridges across Clear Creek. The bridges have overlooks so that visitors can enjoy the view over the water. The trail is multi-use and welcomes a variety of recreational activities.
In fall 2017, the final three quarters of a mile of the first segment of trail opened, along with a developed recreation area and trailhead. The Big Easy trailhead and recreation area has a restroom, 54 parking spaces, fishing platforms over the water, picnic pavilions, a geology garden, and a boardwalk in areas where vegetation needs to be protected. A new bridge also spans the creek, which connects to the Mayhem Gulch trailhead westward up the canyon.
The Peaks to Plains Trail is already in place from Golden to the confluence of the South Platte River, as are many segments at the top of Clear Creek Canyon and Loveland Pass. Clear Creek County Open Space and Jeffco Open Space have previously completed four of the 16 miles within the canyon.
View Video About the Gateway Segment of Clear Creek Canyon Park Project (YouTube)
View Gateway Segment of Clear Creek Canyon Park Project Map (PDF)
View Gateway Segment of Clear Creek Canyon Park Project Fact Sheet (PDF)
View Gateway Segment of Clear Creek Canyon Park Project Community Meeting Presentation (PDF)
View Gateway Segment of Clear Creek Canyon Park Project Community Meeting Q&A (PDF)
View Peaks to Plains Trail in Clear Creek Canyon Park Map (PDF)
Learn More about the Peaks to Plains Trail (Web)