Clear Creek Greenway Trail Design: 

Hidden Valley To Empire 

In 2005, Clear Creek County finalized the Clear Creek Greenway Master Plan, which was identified as a major development recommendation of the 2030 Clear Creek County Master Plan.

The goal of the Clear Creek Greenway Master Plan was to identify trail alignments and a greenway concept along the Clear Creek Greenway that would link recreation and business attractions that would provide future economic development opportunities.  The plan not only identified possible trail alignments, but provided recommendations for creek access, greenway amenities, design guidelines and implementation strategies for future development.

As a part of other projects along the I-70 Mountain Corridor through Clear Creek County, the County and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) have been able to construct portions of the Greenway;  most notably through the Old Game Check Station Trailhead and near Water Wheel Park at the Charlie Taylor Water Wheel.

In September of 2014, CDOT agreed to give Clear Creek County $2,000,000 as part of its Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships (RAMP) Initiative to help complete the final design of the Clear Creek Greenway Trail from Hidden Valley to Empire Junction.  Clear Creek County provided $500,000 in matching funds.  However, it is estimated that it will take over $4,000,000 to complete the design for the entire stretch of trail. 

Project Description

In order to complete the design for this portion of the Clear Creek Trail, several tasks must be completed.

Task Order 1 (July 2015-December 2015)

Task Order 1 will complete 30% design drawings and environmental clearance for the entire 14 mile stretch of the project.  The initial task for the trail design has two main goals:

1.       Complete environment clearance for the entire stretch of the trail from Hidden Valley to Empire Junction.  This will be done in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)  and will provide clearance for federal funds to be used for construction of all sections of the trail if necessary.

2.       Through a Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) process, create an overall vision and provide guidance for the design of the trail. 

The Clear Creek Greenway Trail Design project is establishing a Steering Committee with local representatives from the residents, the business community, and the municipalities, with participation from the regulating agencies. 

The Steering Committee will work collaboratively to develop, for the Clear Creek Greenway Authority, a recommendation for implementing the Greenway in logical segments. The segments will be prioritized to optimize opportunities around partnerships, available funding, or concurrent construction projects. 

The Steering Committee members are advocates for the Greenway and will work toward an implementation plan that will realize the Greenway and all of its benefits. The Committee will work with the general public, potential partners and the CCGA.

Steering Committee Members

Jim Pals - Property Owner

Larry Romine - Property / Business Owner / CCGA

Dale Drake - Clear Creek Rafting Company

John Cantamessa - Colorado Adventure Center

Wendy Koch - Empire Mayor

Mike Hillman - Idaho Springs Mayor

Dan Ebert - Business Owner / CCGA

Jacquie Zegan - St. Mary's / CCGA

Tim Mauck - County Commissioner / CCGA

Cassandra Patton - Tourism Board

Martha Tableman - Open Space Commission

Fred Rollenhagen - Planning and Zoning Commission

Jake Houston - Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO)

Peggy Stokstad - Economic Development Corp. 

Neil Ogden - CDOT

David Singer - CDOT

Mike Raber - Cyclist 

Lisa Gooch - CCGA

Task Order 2 (March 2016 – December 2016)

Task Order 2 will take three priority segments identified by the steering committee in Task Order 1 and complete 100% design and construction drawings.  Each priority segment will have a Segment Team that will be comprised of local residents that will be most directly impacted by and have the most knowledge of the trail segment.  These segments will be considered “shovel ready” and can be constructed once funding has been identified.

Priority Projects Moving to 100% Design

Conceptual graphic only; layout of parking structure and trail head may change.

Conceptual graphic only; layout of parking structure and trail head may change.

Task Order 3 (January 2017 – June 2017)

Task Order 3 projects have not yet been identified.

Project Schedule

Project Team

Project Updates

Steering Committee Meetings

No Steering Committee meetings are scheduled at this time.

Trail Project Maps, Project Prioritization Summary and CSS Report

Project Maps (Final: Updated May 10, 2016)

 Project Prioritization Summary (Final: Updated May 10, 2016)

CSS Report (Final: Updated May 17, 2016)

A hard copy of the draft Categorical Exclusion document is available for review at the offices of the CCGA and Clear Creek County.  Please contact the CCGA directly for more information.

Project Contacts 

For further information please contact:

Jeff Shoemaker – Executive Director, The Greenway Foundation



David Howlett / Marge Price – Principals, Capitol Representatives



For more information about Clear Creek County Trails, Recreation and Events, please visit:

Clear Creek County 365