High Line Canal

admin April 21, 2011 0

High Line Canal is a 66 mile long canal located in the Denver, Colorado area.  The waterway runs from Waterton Canyon to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal through Douglas County, Arapahoe County, and Denver County.


The canal was originally designed to be an irrigation canal in the late 1800’s by a businessman named James Duff.  Mr. Duff hoped that building the canal would make it possible to turn the eastern part of the city of Denver into valuable farm land.  However, the company that constructed the canal had difficulty getting water rights which would allow them to get enough water to use the canal in order to irrigate the land.  Because of that, Mr. Duff’s vision of farm land located  in eastern Colorado never materialized.  In 1924, Denver Water took over the project and closed the area.  In 1970, Denver Water decided to open the area to the public as a recreation area.  Denver Water also closed down some of the parts of the canal due to water conservation issues and inefficiencies of the canal as a source of irrigation. Today, the canal does carry some water to the Denver area, but is known mainly as a recreation area among local residents.  Because of this, the High Line Canal area has been designated as a National Landmark Trail.


The area is open all year long and is a popular spot for hiking, mountain biking, jogging, roller blading, and horseback riding.   Although horses are welcome on the trail, there are different regulations about riding on High Line Canal; call or check the website online before arriving. There are also some picnic tables located along the trail where travelers can enjoy picnicking. Information on the location of the tables can be found on the trail map.  The trail at the High Line Canal is paved in different parts and at other parts, is just hard backed dirt. Because of this, it is possible for those with young children to enjoy walking the trail even when pushing a stroller or baby carriage.  Most of the canal has a pathway which is shaded by cottonwood trees; this makes it comfortable to hike in various types of weather.



Many different types of wildlife can also be seen on the trail including fox, coyotes, and different types of birds including herons.


To get to the trail, take Colorado 470 to Colorado 121 south to the Kassler Center.  The trail is open for the public from 5 am to 11pm each day.  A guide to the area can be seen online at http://www.denverwater.org/docs/assets/30FCFB89-BCDF-1B42-D2F1D3F3353F164F/highline_printable1.pdf.  For more information, contact the recreation department of Denver Water at 303-628-6526.

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