Colorado, Denver, Bear Creek Trail
The Bear Creek Trail is a 14-mile long paved pathway that spans between the communities of Morrison and Sheridan in Central Colorado, connecting downtown Denver with the foothills of the Rockies. The trail follows alongside Bear Creek as it meanders through residential neighborhoods, golf courses and parks, past commercial areas, eventually intersecting the South Platte River Trail and the Mary Carter Greenway. This is a taste of the country in the city. The trail's western end offers tree-lined landscapes through Bear Creek Lake Park, Bear Creek Greenbelt and Bear Valley Park, while its eastern end provides a connection to shopping centers and commercial areas.
Note that the path includes a variety of different surface types, from dirt and gravel to asphalt and concrete, including some single-tracking. The east section is narrow with sharp turns in spots. The trail is open for non-motorized use such as bike riding, walking and running. The trail does climb in elevation from east to west. The easterly 7 miles is fairly flat, but there are some climbs in the western 7.5 miles.
If you want to access the trail from the west end, you may park on Morrison Road or one of the parking lots in downtown Morrison. Signs telling you the parking regulations vary greatly in different locations, look for them. There are some fairly visible signs directing you to the trail.
The best place to begin the trail in Denver is at Confluence Park where Cherry Creek runs into the Platte River. From there, you ride south on the Platte River Trail until you cross a bridge over the Platte River. At this point, look for a sign directing you west toward the Bear Creek Trail.
The first thing you are likely to notice here are the natural surroundings. With the exception of the South Lowell Boulevard crossing, the beginning of this trail feels remarkably secluded, despite the fact that it more or less parallels Route 285. It is an isolation that is made possible by a series of accompanying parks along the creek bed. Along the way, you can enjoy scenic views as well as activities from woodlands, Bear Creek, Bear Valley, the Broken Tee golf course, and Denver’s skyline beauty.
After you pass beneath South Wadsworth Boulevard, the pathway will emerge into Bear Creek Greenbelt. You may catch some native wildlife refuging here.
From this area to Bear Creek Lake, the road will provide you with a steeper incline. Fortunately, the ever more rugged Colorado skyline catch divert your attention and you may not even notice.
You can stop for a rest at one of the many parks, pack a lunch or just cool off and listen to the trees blowing in the wind. After that, you will climb more than 500 feet before riding your bike alongside Bear Creek Avenue. The west end of the Bear Creek Trail is located to the southwest of the intersection of Highway 8 and Bear Creek Avenue in Morrison.
*Images from John Machunas. You can check out his blog by clicking the link.
22.851 km / 14.199 mi
301 m / 989 ft
139 m / 456 ft
1,770 m / 5,806 ft