The Big Easy trailhead is officially open! Experience it for yourself at 32088 US Highway 6, Golden. Almost nine miles West of the US6/Hwy 58/Hwy 93 intersection.
Adding another .75 miles to the Peaks to Plains Trail, The Big Easy trailhead and recreation area has a permanent restroom, 54 parking spaces, fishing platforms over the water, picnic pavilions, a geology garden, and a boardwalk in areas where vegetation needs to be protected. A new bridge also spans the creek, leading onto the Peaks to Plains Trail, which connects to the Mayhem Gulch trailhead westward up the canyon. Opening cable cutting ceremony photos can be viewed here.
Governor Hickenlooper, members of his cabinet and both County’s Commissioners toured the 3-mile Clear Creek Canyon segment of the Peaks to Plains Trail project in September, 2016. This trail has been designated as one of the Governor’s 16 Priority Trail Projects in 2016 as part of the Colorado the Beautiful Initiative and we were proud to show it off to such a prestigious group.
Jeffco Open Space (JCOS) is the proud recipient of one of seven Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Region 1 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) 2016 grants. JCOS will use the $850,650 to complete approximately 0.5 miles of the Peaks to Plains Trail at the Mouth of Clear Creek Canyon starting at the parking lot just east of Tunnel 1 and heading west around the oxbow. This grant aligns with CDOT TAP priorities in providing safe, alternative transportation for pedestrians and cyclists while increasing motorist safety along US Highway 6.
The project and proposal “had the benefit of being on one of the Governor’s priority trails but the project’s safety improvements, tourism benefit and the amount of financial support and planning that has been done on the corridor helped elevate the project,” stated Region 1 Planning Program Manager, Danny Herrmann. “We’re excited to work with the County on implementing this segment of the trail.”
The Peaks to Plains Trail at the Mouth of Clear Creek Canyon is a 1.75-mile segment of multi-use trail (combining the GOCO Connect grant scope of 1.25-miles and the CDOT TAP grant scope of .5 miles) leading recreationalists away from US Highway 6 and into a scenic area separated from motorists. JCOS estimates completion of this section in 2020.
In addition, Clear Creek County Open Space was awarded their CDOT TAP application request of $480,000 for the continuation of the Peaks to Plains Trail further westward following the alignment of the abandoned Colorado and Southern narrow gauge railway corridor. The Peaks to Plains Trail: Clear Creek Greenway Canyon Segment, extends from the parking lot just west of Tunnel 5, where the GOCO River Corridor Initiative funded trail project ends, upstream around Tunnel 6 and beyond.
On October 7, 2016 The Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board awarded a $2 million grant to Jefferson County to fund a new segment of the 65-mile vision for the Peaks to Plains (P2P) Trail at the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon. The grant was part of GOCO’s first round of funding for its new Connect Initiative, with $10 million in grants awarded to close critical gaps in trail networks across the state. GOCO’s Connect Initiative will invest $30 million over the next three years in closing trail gaps and creating safe access for all Coloradans to the outdoors. More than 80% of people in Colorado recreate on trails, and closing gaps and increasing connectivity has long been a top priority for the state’s residents.
Jeffco Open Space’s proposal for the P2P Trail is one of six highly-demanded trail projects selected to move forward, with funding helping to construct more than 23 miles of trail and leveraging nearly $25 million in local matching dollars.
What does this mean for Jeffco Open Space and the P2P Trail? This grant will allow for the design and construction of an additional 1.75 miles of trail at the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon, including a bridge and two trailheads with safe parking lots accessible from US Highway 6 that will accommodate an estimated 50 parking spots each. Design of this new section will begin in 2017 and connect 24 miles of hard surface trail from the City of Golden to the western end of the stunning oxbow at Tunnel #1 on US 6.
Allowing direct access into Golden’s downtown, the area is already serving as a hub for multiple recreation uses and this grant will further the thoughtful conservation and enjoyment of yet another segment of the P2P trail!
Jeffco Open Space, along with Clear Creek County Open Space, opened segments of the Peaks to Plains Trail in Clear Creek Canyon on July 28, 2016. The following video shows the entire process from planning, to construction to completion and highlights the numerous partners who made this possible. Jefferson County Commissioners Donald Rosier and Casey Tighe opened the trail along with Clear Creek County Commissioner Peter Monson. Thank you to everyone involved!