Since I was at the R.A.C.E. Conference this weekend at the Westin in Westminster, I thought it would be a good opportunity to explore the trail system around the hotel. The main trail there is the Big Dry Creek which as several access points from City Park and the Westin and goes both west and east from this point.
If you make regular trips along Highway 36 between Denver and Boulder, you probably have noticed the trail just at 104th, Church Ranch Road.
Heading east from the hotel parking lot, the trail gently descends as it winds through the city’s corridor. With the wind at my back and fresh legs the trail lulled me into a false sense of fitness. My legs turned over quickly and my breath was barely audible as I relaxed into the pace. When I did turn around 4 miles later, I found myself faced with the reality of heading slightly back uphill and into the weather blowing in from the west. On the return I focused on the view of the Front Range and the steadiness of my breath.
According to American Trails.org there are about 10 miles of trail and bike path that is used by walkers, joggers, bicyclists, equestrians, bird watchers, wildlife enthusiasts, and commuters.
Westminster began the preservation of the Big Dry Creek Open Space and Trail Corridor in 1989 with the acquisition of four acres. The Big Dry Creek Trail connects significant points of interest across Westminster. On the west, the trail begins at Standley Lake Regional Park in Jefferson County and spans to the east to the eastern border of the city of Westminster.
The trail is well maintained and much of the surface is gravel or soft dirt. There are many underpasses along the trail which allows you to run without crossing streets or other interruptions for miles and miles. A great place to get your long run, tempo, or any run in.
There are great views of the Front Range, and abundant wildlife including bald eagles.
More trail information about Big Dry Creek http://www.ci.westminster.co.us/246_1671.htm