Big Dry Creek Open Space
Big Dry Creek Open Space - Between 128th Avenue and Huron Street.
This 94 acre portion of Big Dry Creek Open Space is the most northern and the lowest section of the stream basin preserved as open space.
Several water bodies serve as significant habitat for wildlife in the area. Bull Reservoir at 5.9 acres doubles as both water storage for Bull Canal and habitat. The wetlands and open grasslands just west of Huron Street dramtically increase the habitat area for hawks, ducks, geese, pheasants, coyotes, rabbits, prairie dogs and other mammals and bird species. Learn more about Bull Reservoir.
The Arapahoe Ridge Trail, .5 miles, connects The Village at Harmony Park, Amherst and Quail Crossing subdivisions with the Big Dry Creek Trail System and greater Westminster. Big Dry Creek Trail runs .8 miles northeast following the creek where it runs underneath Huron and eventually I-25 connecting to Thornton's Trail System.
Big Dry Creek Open Space - Between 120th Avenue and 128th Avenue.
The city owns 172 acres of land in this portion of the Big Dry Creek open space (not counting the 150 acres Metzger Farm Open Space). The Big Dry Creek Trail follows the creek 1.9 miles between 120th Avenue and 128th Avenue. Most of this open space is native grassland except a narrow riparian area along Big Dry Creek. Several huge cottonwood trees next to Big Dry Creek dominate the landscape south of 123rd Avenue. Russian Olive trees, an invasive species, line the creek south of 126th Avenue. A recent city volunteer project removed these trees just south of 128th Avenue. The city has plans to eventually remove these trees and replace them with native tree species such as plains cottonwood and willows.
North of 123rd Avenue, the Big Dry Creek Trail climbs a short hill which provides excellent mountain views. The trail passes by the former Doulos Ministries facility which was purchased by the city. The buildings have been removed and the area has been restored. The city purchased an additional 14.52 acres of open space to the east in 2010. The Home Farm Trail intersects the Big Dry Creek Trail from the east and leads to Huron Street.
North of the Doulos facility, the trail passes next to the 21.25 acre Big Dry Creek Park. This park provides a wide variety of facilities including a playground, trails, dog park, picnic shelters, softball and soccer fields.
The views from Federal Parkway across the open space south of Big Dry Creek are striking. The city has preserved over 5,640 feet of open space frontage along the north and west side of Federal Parkway between 120th Avenue and 123rd Avenue as well as 1,550 feet on the south side of 128th Avenue and more than 1640 feet on the north side of 122nd Avenue. Over 3020 feet of open space has been preserved along the north side of 120th Avenue (including the Metzger Open Space).
Big Dry Creek Open Space - East of Sheridan Boulevard and south of 120th Avenue.
The city has acquired 293 acres of Big Dry Creek open space land in this area. The Big Dry Creek Trail extends 2.2 miles between Sheridan Boulevard and 120th Avenue. In most places, the trail is located far from nearby subdivisions, giving the trail a more isolated feel than other parts of Westminster. Because of its large land area, this is one of the most attractive sections of the Big Dry Creek Open Space. Plus, several trails intersect the Big Dry Creek Trail in this area. These trails plus those in the neighboring 25 acre Westfield Village Park provide several trail loop opportunities.
The Big Dry Creek Trail crosses the creek near the Stratford Lakes subdivision. A 5 foot water fall by the bridge is formed by an old irrigation canal diversion structure across Big Dry Creek. There is evidence of beaver activity up stream of the bridge. Learn more about the ponds west of Stratford Lakes Subdivision.
Just north of 112th Avenue, the Front Range Community College and College Hill Library dominate the landscape from their hilltop location. The 3.5 acre College Pond in the valley below provides great fishing. A trail hugs the shoreline of the pond. Learn more about College Pond.
Above College Pond sits the .4 acre Cottonwood Pond fed by the Cozy Corner No. 5 Tributary, a natural drainage. The pond is surrounded by a thick growth of Cottonwod trees. Learn more about Cottonwood Pond. Further up the tributary is the 2.9 acre Westfiled Pond. Learn more about Westfield pond.
Most of the open space is native grasslands with a few trees along the Big Dry Creek and Clover Creek. Note the interpretive signs which highlight some of the history and wildlife of the Big Dry Creek corridor. This open space area attracts a variety of wildlife including coyotes, fox, rabbits, hawks, eagles, prairie dogs and water fowl.
Over 2,190 linear feet of open space frontage has been preserved along the west side Federal Boulevard which protects the expansive westerly view. Over 1,110 linear feet of open space frontage have also been preserved on both sides of 112th Avenue and 990 feet along the south side of 120th Avenue.
Big Dry Creek Open Space - West of Sheridan Boulevard, north of 104th Avenue.
Much of the publically owned land along Big Dry Creek is not open space but part of the 188 acre city Park. The 36 acres of open space are located just west of Sheridan Boulevard. This area is mostly grassland with some trees and shrubs along Big Dry Creek.
The Big Dry Creek Trail follows the creek 1.1 mile through this area and is lined with larger cottonwood trees. The Farmers’ High Line Trail, Airport Creek Trail and the Sheridan Green Trail all intersect the Big Dry Creek in this area.
Big Dry Creek Open Space - East of Wadsworth Boulevard and south of 104th Avenue.
The city owns 110.5 acres of land in this portion of the Big Dry Creek Open Space. The Big Dry Creek Trail extends 1.5 miles along the creek. Just west of U.S. 36, the newly built Panorama Trail connects to the Westcliff subdivision and provides sweeping mountain views. The trail passes through some unique areas of native vegetation on the bluff overlooking Bid Dry Creek.
Near Wadsworth Boulevard, the trail passes right next to the historic Church Ranch barn. The barn is Westminster’s one of the oldest structures and was built in 1875. Several other historic structures from the Church Ranch are also located near the barn. Learn more about the Church Ranch history.
The trail in this area rises above the creek at one point providing a fine view of the creek valley. The attractive Westcliff Trail intersects the Big Dry Creek in this area. There is evidence of beaver activity along the creek.
A significant part of the Big Dry Creek Open Space borders 3,065 feet along the west side of U.S. 36, north of the Westcliff subdivision. This open space preserves the sweeping mountain views from U.S. 36. The open space also protects over 1,310 linear feet of open space on the east side of Wadsworth Boulevard.
A narrow strip of open space east of U.S. 36 provides land for the Big Dry Creek Trail as it dramatically passes under the Westminster Boulevard Bridge. A bridge over the creek further east affords nice creek views. Near 104th Avenue, the Butterfly Pavilion Insect Center is visible on the west side of the creek. The looped trail accessed from the Butterfly Pavilion is actually located on the Big Dry Creek Open Space. Interpretive signs along this trail provide fascinating information on the Big Dry Creek valley natural history.
Big Dry Creek Open Space - East of Wadsworth Parkway and west of Wadsworth Boulevard.
Just west of Wadsworth Boulevard, the city owns 8.1 acres of open space, which preserves 610 linear feet of open space along the west side of the street. This grassy field is bisected by 99th Avenue. The Big Dry Creek Trail meanders through the area.
Just east of Wadsworth Parkway, the city owns 9.3 acres of open space, which protects over 1,560 linear feet of views along the east side of the street. The tree lined creek flows through the area.
The city owns a total of 21.4 acres of Big Dry Creek Open Space land in this area.
The Big Dry Creek Trail extends .8 mile through this area, about half of it on lightly traveled 99th Avenue. Eventually, a trail will also be built along 99th Avenue.
Big Dry Creek Open Space - East of Standley Lake and west of Wadsworth Parkway.
The city owns 44 acres of land along Big Dry Creek, stretching from Wadsworth Parkway west to the base of the Standley Lake Dam. The 2,327 acre Standley Lake Regional Park begins at this point. The Big Dry Creek Trail extends 2 miles from Wadsworth Parkway to the trailhead south of 100th Avenue at Owen Street. Over 345 linear feet of views are protected by the open space along the west side of Wadsworth Parkway.
This open space segment is mostly native grassland except for a rich riparian area along the creek. Several cottonwood and willows hug the creek. The twisty trail closely follows the creek between Wadsworth Parkway and Lucas Elementary School. Further west, the trail pulls back from the creek in an attractive meadow before entering Standley Lake Regional Park and climbing up a steep hill to the lake. Part way up the hill, a trail to the south provides access to the south side of Standley Lake while a trail to the east connects to 100th Avenue along the north side of Loon Lake.
An informal “social” trail can also be found on the south side of the creek just west of Wadsworth Parkway. The segment east of the Sunstream Trail junction is particularly attractive since it is far removed from development and provides some nice creek views.