Clear Creek Greenway Trail Design: Tunnel 5 - Tunnel 6
In June 2012, Gov. John Hickenlooper joined the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board to announce $29.5 million in lottery grants to fund eight river and creek projects across the state. The River Corridor Initiative grants provided close-to-home recreation opportunities for Coloradans to get outdoors and enjoy, experience and learn firsthand about nature and the state’s waterways. One of the projects selected under this initiative was the Plains to Peaks Trail/Clear Creek Canyon Segment. Utilizing $4.6 million from GOCO as well as other partnering funds, Clear Creek and Jefferson County were able to build 6-miles of trail through Clear Creek Canyon, connecting the oxbow at Tunnel 5 in Clear Creek to Mayhem Gulch in Jefferson County. The project was a huge success and helped alleviate several pedestrian and vehicular conflicts along US 6 due to unsafe conditions. The Clear Creek Canyon: Tunnel 5 – Tunnel 6 Trail Design Project will continue the design of the trail between the two closed tunnels.
The project begins just east of the Oxbow Parcel parking lot, on the west side of Tunnel 5 where the River Corridor Initiative funded trail project ends. Moving west, the trail will go under a US 6 bridge continuing along the Creek to and around Tunnel 6 ending on the west side of Tunnel 6 paralleling US 6. At that point, users will be able to access US 6 via rock steps. In the stretch between Tunnels 5 and 6, much of the trail will be built on an engineered bench created with retaining walls as the terrain between US 6 and the Creek is steep and narrow. Closer to Tunnel 6, the Creek bank widens providing more room for the trail and enabling less costly trail construction. The trail then turns north and follows the bench created by the old railroad grade around the rock outcrop through which Tunnel 6 goes. Along about two-thirds of the bench, it is wide enough to accommodate the trail and provide opportunities for trail users to stop to enjoy the scenery, watch wildlife on the rocks and rafters going by, rock climb on the cliffs, and participate in other recreational activities such as picnicking. It will also enable the creation of additional creek access for fisherman and others. On the west end, the railroad bed has deteriorated and the area becomes steeper which will require construction of trail that is more engineered. The intent of this project is to extend the existing trail which will expand user’s opportunities by providing additional distance to explore as well as areas of easier creek access. It will also facilitate safer movement of pedestrians and cyclists between Tunnels 5 and 6 which is a segment currently closed to cyclists and dangerous for pedestrians. Construction of this trail segment (approximately ¾ miles of trail) is estimated to cost about $2.8 million.
Please visit the Peaks to Plains website for all project updates and information.
For further information please contact:
Martha Tableman – Clear Creek County Open Space Coordinator