The Highline Canal - Blackmer Lake
The Highline Canal - Blackmer Lake Denver Reviews
Hiking in the City!! Apr 04, 2010
One of the reasons I love living in Colorado is the open space and great hiking trails both in the city and in the mountains. The High Line Canal runs approximately 66 miles through the heart of Denver's suburbs. It offers prime running, walking, hiking, biking, horseback riding (etc., etc.) opportunities right in the heart of the metro area. In the Springtime, when it is freezing and blizzarding in the high country, it could be 67 degrees and gorgeous in Denver. Fortunately there are plenty of awesome options for a nice spring hike sans snow shoes and parkas.
There are many different trail heads dumping runners and hikers onto the high line canal trail spread throughout the city. My favorite trail however is Blackmer Lake. From the dirt lot, cross the foot bridge and voilà! Turn left onto the trail and follow it as far as you would like.
Right away you will see the cornerstone of this section of the canal trail, Blackmer Lake. The mountains frame the little lake perfectly, creating quite a picturesque sight. All along the trail are giant cottonwood trees that offer decent protection from the sun and the wind. Old farming equipment is littered throughout the fields giving the scene a touch of romance. On top of it all, this section of trail weaves right through the exclusive housing area of Cherry Hills. Kent Denver (one of the most exclusive private schools in Colorado) is just beyond the rolling hills.
From the trail head (turning left), it is about 4 miles to Bellview avenue, which is a perfect place to turn around and head back. This section of the high line canal is the most scenic.
It took me and my pup Riley about 3.5 hours to complete the 8 mile journey. There is little to no elevation gain, and though the path is gravel, the trail is well maintained. Anyone traveling to the metro area may want to check out this trail simply to marvel at the giant homes settled along it's route. Riley and I enjoyed naming the houses based on the architecture and strange lawn art that seemed to be everywhere. Keep and eye out for the "white house"... you will know exactly which home i speak of once you lay your eyes on it. The trail also offers breathtaking views of the front range which can be quite entrancing, even to myself, a local, born and raised! This trail is also a great place to get an early season, spring hike in for conditioning reasons, to break in the boots, try out some new gear, or to nurse sore paws back to health.
Caution: this trail gets moderate to heavy use. There are bikers, hikers, runners, and from time to time large horses. My dog Riley was a bit spooked by the horses, so be careful if you are planning on taking your pup with you. Also we saw lots of wildlife including birds, deer, and coyotes. Though not usually an aggressive animal, there have been numerous cases of coyotes attacking people and pets in this area. Please keep an eye out and be respectful to wildlife. We saw three coyotes, but they posed little to no interest in us. If you do come across an interested coyote, please do not run. Predator instinct will kick in, and most likely it will run after you. Make yourself look large by opening your coat and waving your arms. Make loud authoritative noises to try and scare it away. If the animal is still approaching, try and throw rocks or sticks while continuing to make loud noises. If all else fails fight with all you have and scream for help. There generally are a lot of people around who can call 911. These coyotes have even been reported coming after small children, so remember to keep your eyes peeled and be prepared!! After rain or spring snow, there can be icky mud!
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