Friday, March 25, 2011

Clear Creek Park in Wheat Ridge, Colorado; A spring walk along the river

Clear Creek and one of the bridges crossing it
I haven't been up into the mountains as much this winter compared to last year; in 2010 at least once per week I was hitting the road for solo winter and spring hikes in Boulder or one of the many areas near Mt. Evans.  This winter, I have been opting for staying closer to the metro area, and walking or hiking at parks and trails which are much more accessible for many people.  Both hiking up a peak and walking down a popular trail have their advantages; but I must admit I enjoy hiking peaks much more. 
With that said, the smell of spring is definitely in the air along the Front Range and walking next to a babbling river with ducks, fish and dogs playing in the water reminds me of growing up in Michigan.  Spring there has the smell of thawing water and fresh grass; and walking next to Clear Creek yesterday I could smell the river and feel the sense of spring in the air.  However, with the dry conditions in Colorado, I am hoping that we get at least one more blast of snow or a lot of rain. 

Getting there:  There are numerous places to access the Wheat Ridge trail, I started at the east end and walked west.  The east end of the park has a large parking lot and it is located on the google map here.   To reach the east end of the park take Kipling Street to W. 41st Ave in Wheat Ridge and turn west onto W 41st Ave, when the road ends it turns to dirt, continue down the dirt drive to the parking lot.  *One thing that can be confusing, there is a road split when the road turns to dirt; take the road to the right; the other is a driveway.   It will dead end at the parking lot. 
Specs:  There are no restrooms at this parking lot, but as you hike west down the paved path, you can find restrooms on the other side of the river after you cross the bridge.  The parking lot is large, and there is a trail map at the start of the trail. 

Below you will find photos of my walk and trip report, when you visit, enjoy exploring the park yourself and finding your own trails and adventure.  There are several social trails throughout the park that take you away from the paved main path, and lots of places for photo opportunities along the way.  Please leave a comment if you have hiked or walked in the area or if you have any suggestions regarding my post! 

Parking lot and trail map at the start of the trailhead. 

One of the many ducks on the river; I love to watch them swim and to watch the dogs get so excited wondering what would happen if they could chase them. 

Cross the bridge to a kids playground and another parking lot, there are also restrooms here as well. 

The rushing water along the river; I love to look into the water and see all the colorful rocks and fish

One of many ponds along the west end of the trail with cattails and views of Table Mountain in the distance. 

A walkway that leads to a path around one of the ponds. 

Looking west toward the mountains and the still water below. 

This boardwalk loops around one of the ponds and has swamp below it.

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