Peaks to Plains Trail

CLOSED: The dirt parking lot at the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon Park off U.S. Hwy 6, near the intersection of Hwy 58, and Hwy 93, as well as the parking lot east of Tunnel 1 and the Oxbow area, will be closed until spring 2021 (weather dependent) for construction of the next segment of the 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 Mouth of the Canyon segment.

Clear Creek Canyon Park interactive map

Current Construction

This year promises to be a busy one on the Peaks to Plains project in the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon as construction work pushes toward substantial completion in spring 2021.

Perhaps the most noticeable difference to the general public is the fact that the two parking areas along US 6 – one at the intersection of State Highways 58 and 93 and one near Tunnel 1 – are both closed and will remain closed throughout this year. Parking for Clear Creek Canyon Park is available further up the canyon in the Big Easy, Mayhem Gulch, Cannonball, and Oxbow Trailheads.

One of this spring’s priority projects is getting 1,000 linear feet of reinforced concrete pipe in place for the Church Ditch Water Authority prior to the early April release of water from upstream reservoirs. Other work this spring includes extending water and sanitary sewer lines under US 6 for a new flush restroom at the Mouth of the Canyon Trailhead, setting the bathroom vault and beginning construction on the restroom at the Tunnel 1 Trailhead, and setting a 163 foot bridge east of Tunnel 1.

Construction of the trail in the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon will connect to the completed section of trail in Golden, ultimately connecting users to more than 80 miles of existing trail and is expected to be completed in late 2020.  

Potential Impacts of Construction

In the interest of public safety, people are encouraged to stay out of construction zones and not park in restricted areas. Vehicles parked in restricted areas are subject to towing. Other impacts people might encounter this year include:

  • Short-term traffic delays to get trucks in and out of the work zone
  • Single lane closures along US 6 when needed to accommodate certain work activities
  • Overnight full closures of US 6 as necessary to maintain public safety for critical work like setting bridges, etc.

Construction of this segment of the Peaks to Plains Trail at the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon will be substantially complete in spring 2021. When done, this section of the trail will include:

  • 1.75 miles of new multi-use trail
  • Two new trailheads, each with restroom amenities, and parking for over 150 cars
  • A new hiker-only suspension bridge on the south side of Tunnel 1
  • Restoration and opening of the historic Welch Ditch wooden flume trail
  • Trail connections to the existing Grant Terry bridge

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.

For more information about this project, visit www.jeffco.us/P2P, call 720-893-1313 or send an email to [email protected]

View Video About the Mouth of the Canyon Project
View Mouth of the Canyon Project Map
View Mouth of the Canyon Project Fact Sheet
View Mouth of the Canyon Project Community Meeting Presentation
View Mouth of the Canyon Project Community Meeting Q&A
View Peaks to Plains Trail in Clear Creek Canyon Map
Learn More about the Peaks to Plains Trail


Previous Construction

Through a partnership with Clear Creak County Open Space, the first segment of the Peaks to Plains trail in Clear Creek Canyon 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.

View videos about previous construction on the Peaks to Plains Trail


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