Platte River Trail

Colorado, Denver, Platte River Trail

The Platte River Trail is a paved bike path, follows the winding South Platte River for almost 30 miles through the heart of the Denver Metro area, connecting a necklace of riverside parks. The Platte River Trail is just one of many of Denver's superb multi-use trails, this one stretching from just north and west of Englewood and heading north toward Henderson. The trail follows courses through Denver's urban landscape, including its industrial face, and incorporating high plains grassland landscapes with the Rockies as a backdrop.

Terrain

The Platte River Trail is well paved and maintained. There are some street crossings, but a lot of underpasses or overpasses for crossing the major roadways. The trail can get congested in some stretches and as with any other urban area, trail users should be aware of their surroundings and be cautious with their valuables.

Access

Parking lots are provided around numerous places along the southern segment:

  • Grant Frontier Park: S. Platte River Drive, north of W. Wesley Avenue
  • Overland Lake Park: S. Platte River Drive at W. Florida Avenue
  • Frog Hollow Park: W. 8th Avenue, west of I-25/US 87/US 85/US 6
  • Gates Crescent Park, east of I-25/US 87/US 85/US 6 across from Invesco Field.
  • Steele Street and E. 78th Avenue
  • Platte River Trailhead Park, Colorado Boulevard
  • Northern terminus at E. 104th Avenue
  • Food and Drink

    Plenty of place to stop and have meals along the trail. Cafes, memorials, botanical gardens and numerous parks are offered.

    More details

    Since much of Denver's early history occurred along this river, the Colorado Historical Society has erected more than 20 large historic signs that use photos and illustrations to tell the story of the area. There are markers alongside the trail describing the Native Americans who once lived here, as well plaques with facts about local wildlife and birds. History-focused plaques tell visitors about dinosaurs and the geologic history of the area, as well as the railroads, trolleys, explorers, mountain men, soldiers and farmers that at one time or another traveled beside the South Platte River.

    The trail has two disconnected sections:

    • The northern portion runs from East 120th Parkway north for roughly 3 miles in Henderson, ending before you reach the E470 toll road.
    • The southern section officially runs from the Elaine T. Valente Open Space in Thornton south to West Dartmouth Avenue just west of US Hwy 85 in Englewood. From here, however, the trail continues as the Mary Carter Greenway south to Chatfield State Park, where it joins the C-470 East and C-470 West trails.
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      You may find bicycle traffic circles at trail intersections, as well as interpretive signs and nature areas along the route. You can stop and watch kayakers ply the Union Avenue boat chutes.

      The Platte River Trail intersects four other trails: Sand Creek, Bear Creek, Clear Creek, and Sanderson Gulch.

       

      * Images from John Wachunas (Spinlister)

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      70.896 km / 44.053 mi

      Total Distance

      195 m / 641 ft

      Total Ascent

      180 m / 592 ft

      Total Descent

      1,608 m / 5,275 ft

      Highest Point

      Ride type:
      Mountain biking
      Road riding
      Sightseeing
      Commuter
      Rail Trail
      Gravel
      Various
      EPIC Ride
      Difficulty: Easy (Blue)
      Ride Duration: 2-4 hrs
      Fitness Level: Medium
      Terrain:
      Shared Bike Path - Paved
      Shared Bike Path - Dirt
      On-Road Bike Lane
      On-Road
      Off-Road - Fire Trail
      Off-Road - Rail Trail
      Off-Road - Single Track
      Off-Road - Downhill
      Gravel Road
      Trail Signage: Average
      Mobile Coverage: Limited
      Estimated Distance: 28.8
      Services:
      Water
      Food
      First Aid
      Toilets
      Bike hire
      Carparking
      Bike servicing
      Accessible by bike
      Accessible by car
      Accessible by public transport
      Accessible by shuttle
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