When the Gateway section of the Peak to Plains trail officially opened on Aug. 25, the Jeffco commissioners put a unique twist on the typical celebratory gesture: they cut a cable rather than a …
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When the Gateway section of the Peak to Plains trail officially opened on Aug. 25, the Jeffco commissioners put a unique twist on the typical celebratory gesture: they cut a cable rather than a ribbon.
That move, it turned out, was a nod to the construction of the trail as that actual piece of cable was discovered during the process. Clear Creek Canyon’s mining and railroad history is woven into the very fabric of the new trail segment, portions of which are built on the narrow gauge bed used by the Colorado Central Railroad.
But cutting a cable also made sense for another reason.
“The cutting of this cable symbolizes a new connection and new opportunity for people to enjoy the outdoors,” said Jeffco Commissioner Lesley Dahlkemper.
That connection will be between downtown Golden to the mouth of the canyon. It also represents the latest extension of the Peaks to Plains trail, which plans call for to someday stretch 65 miles from Loveland Pass to downtown Denver.
Commissioner Tracy Kraft-Tharp said several architecture, engineering and building firms worked together to complete the new trail segment. Among the goals of that process were to use a “surgical construction approach” to ensure the trail fits well into the landscape, preserving as much vegetation as possible, and makes trail visitors feel as if the trail has always been there.
“One quick look at the finished product clearly shows these goals were met,” she said.
The two new trailheads feature over 170 parking spaces, permanent restrooms, shade structures, ADA accessibility, and sustainable design techniques. Additionally, this new segment of trail crosses over the first suspension bridge in Jefferson County, taking visitors along the restored wooden flume of the Welch Ditch, and offering water access at various spots along the way.
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