By Tim Friday
The 4-mile Peak to Plains Trail officially opened to the public in July 2017 with the final mile introduced in a cable cutting ceremony back in September 2017, making this pathway accessible to Clear Creek Canyon recreationalists for almost a year now. If you paddled the Upper Clear Creek (Kermit’s) section this year, then you probably noticed some pedestrians, cyclists and/or in-line skaters cruising the river corridor on land. The paddling community seemed to be somewhat ambivalent about this project in the past, but through the spring I heard positive comments about the trail being there. It certainly provides easier access for non-boaters, but it also provides an alternative shuttle method for the 4-mile section paralleled by the trail. It also makes for an easier portage or, in some cases, a great path to run faster than your boat is moving downriver in the event of an unfortunate swim!
This project has a number of segments to be completed in order to connect the existing trail to the City of Golden. Segment 1, next on the list for construction, begins at the mouth of the Canyon and extends to just upstream of Tunnel 1. A design-build contract recently was negotiated by Jeffco Open Space and design is well underway. According to Scot Grossman, Jeffco Open Space Projects Team Manager, design should be wrapping up in the spring of 2019 with construction getting underway shortly thereafter. As far as river navigability goes, Scot advised that they are working on some access agreements now, but the hope is we won’t have any temporary structures in the creek. This has been a goal of Colorado Whitewater – to ensure boater access and navigability during the paddling season. Scot is a whitewater boater too and is an advocate for river runners. We will continue to keep in touch with Jeffco Open Space to monitor the project and provide input at appropriate points during design and construction.
To see a map of the entire P2P Trail through Clear Creek Canyon, please click on this link. To keep up with the latest updates on the P2P Project, click here.