Westminster Trail Loops
Westminster is known for its wonderful trail system. Over 63 miles of off-road multi-use trails crisscross the city, allowing for endless hours of recreation. Many trails intersect one another and provide an opportunity to create trail loops, which are more interesting than traveling the same trail both directions. Your first step is to obtain a copy of the Westminster Trail Guide from any city-owned recreation center. The maps show each city trail.
The following are some of Westminster’s most enjoyable trail loops:
Big Dry Creek Trail/Quail Creek Trail/Amherst Trail Loop
Park at the newly completed Big Dry Creek Park on the south side of 128th Avenue, between Zuni Street and Huron Street. Take the trail from the parking lot to the Big Dry Creek Trail and go north. Just north of the 128th Avenue bridge, go right to follow the main Big Dry Creek Trail. The trail mostly follows the edge of the creek and through a meadow area before going under the scenic Huron Street bridge.
Continue on the Big Dry Creek Trail to the Quail Creek Trail intersection just before you come to I-25. Turn left onto the Quail Creek Trail and continue past a pretty wetland area into a steep-sided valley to Huron Street. Go under Huron Street and continue along the trail, which parallels 134th Avenue. Turn left at Pecos Street to the sidewalk. South of Amherst Elementary School, the trail crosses to the east side of Pecos Street and continues south through the Big Dry Creek open space. The Bull Reservoir on your left attracts hordes of birds, including pelicans and bald eagles. Your trail loop ends at 128th Avenue.
Total Distance - 3.5 miles, 5.6 km.
Community College Trail Loop
Park at the College Hill Library located on the north side of 112th Avenue, about 1/2 mile east of Sheridan Boulevard. A trail begins at the west edge of the parking lot and goes down the hill into the Big Dry Creek open space. Turn right at the first trail intersection. This trail follows the south side of Big Dry Creek to the north of the college. Prairie dogs, and the raptors that eat them, frequent this area. The trail goes beside one of the five chains of lakes that extend up the hill into the Stratford Lakes subdivision. Past the pond, the trail follows the hillside and has great mountain views.
Go left at the concrete Big Dry Creek Trail, which crosses the creek on a bridge over a 10- foot-tall waterfall created by an irrigation diversion structure. The trail swings back west out of the valley and past two more ponds. The larger pond has a loop trail, allowing you to do a “loop within a loop.” Continue south on the west edge of the larger pond to the bridge over the creek. This trail returns up hill to the parking lot.
Total Distance - 1.9 miles, 3.06 km.
McKay Lake Trail Loop
The trailhead is located on the south side of 144th Avenue between Pecos and Zuni streets. Begin by taking the trail to the left and over the McKay Lake dam and spillway. The views across the lake to the mountains are beautiful. The trail hugs the shoreline past some very large custom homes in the Lexington Shores subdivision. The wide gravel trail swings to the west along the south side of the lake and past several massive cottonwood trees. At the west end of the lake, the trail narrows to a dirt footpath and continues north past a cattail-filled wetland.
At the northwest corner of the lake, follow the footpath back east on the south side of the metal fence. This wooded area attracts wildlife. Soon, you will enter an extremely unusual cottonwood forest. Just after crossing the wooden bridge, take a side trail to the right to the fishing pier that literally floats over the lake. Retrace your steps and continue on a now wider gravel path through the trees to the back parking lot.
Total Distance - 1.7 miles, 2.74 km.
Big Dry Creek Trail, Cotton Creek Trail, Farmers’ High Line Canal Trail and North Cotton Creek Trail Loop
Park at the Legacy Ridge Golf Course clubhouse, located about 1/2 mile north of 104th Avenue on Legacy Ridge Parkway. Go back to Legacy Ridge Parkway and go left along the street (do not cross the street). Continue east and then north past Windsor Park (across the street) and beautiful homes. Continue along the street as it drops down the hill past the golf course to the North Cotton Creek Trail. Go left onto that trail, past the golf course and a pretty wetland that the trail crosses on a boardwalk.
Soon the open space corridor narrows through the Cotton Creek subdivision. Cross Stuart Street and Cotton Creek Park is on your right. The trail drops down a hillside to the Fire Station 4 before crossing Vrain Street. West of Vrain Street, the trail enters the Big Dry Creek open space. Soon the trail intersects the Big Dry Creek Trail. Continue straight on the Big Dry Creek Trail for a short distance to the Cotton Creek Trail, which enters from the left. Take that trail back south through the Cotton Creek subdivision. The trail crosses Cotton Creek Drive.
This trail is wonderfully shady, and the creek gently tumbles its way down a surprisingly steep hillside. Near the top of the hill, the trail crosses Cotton Creek Drive again and soon hugs the edge of the Legacy Ridge Golf Course driving range. The trail continues uphill and curves back left to the clubhouse parking lot.
Total Distance - 2.6 miles, 4.18 km.
Big Dry Creek Trail, Cotton Creek Trail, Farmers’ High Line Canal Trail Loop
Park at the Legacy Ridge Clubhouse next to the driving range, located 1/2 mile north of 104th Avenue on Legacy Ridge Parkway. Take the bridge over the canal to Legacy Ridge Parkway and turn right onto the concrete Farmers’ High Line Canal Trail, which meanders south to 104th Avenue. Just before 104th Avenue on the left is the idyllic Margaret’s Pond open space. A scenic 1/2-mile-long trail encircles the pond. Turn right at 104th Avenue and proceed down a long downhill glide to Sheridan Boulevard with the North Hylands Creek open space and the Legacy Ridge Golf Course on the left. The mountain views are stunning.
Cross under Sheridan Boulevard using the underpass and continue downhill on the south edge of City Park. At the bottom of the hill, the trail dead ends at the Big Dry Creek Trail. Turn right onto the Big Dry Creek Trail, which winds its way for over 1/2 mile through City Park and past some ancient cottonwood trees. The trail passes under Sheridan Boulevard and into the Big Dry Creek open space. Take a rest on the bench overlooking the creek.
Soon the Cotton Creek Trail intersects on the right. Take that trail, which follows Cotton Creek up a steep, very shady hillside. The babbling creek is restful to watch. At the top of the hill is the golf course driving range where you began.
Total Distance - 4.0 miles, 6.44 km
Ketner Lake Loop Trail
Park on Moore Street, just east of Countryside Drive. Walk south to the three totem poles, where you will find the trail around the lake. Be sure to appreciate the totem poles before proceeding south through a grove of cottonwood trees and wetland area. The trail is set back from the west side of the lake, except for a trail spur that leads to a wooden fishing pier, a perfect place to feed the ducks and geese. Soon the trail turns east, where the trail gets closer to the south side of the lake.
The trail veers north along the top of the long dam for the lake. The views are spectacular across the lake to Longs Peak. There are also nice views to the wooded valley to the east. Use caution when negotiating the steep trail segment near the lake’s spillway.
The trail swings back west, hugging the edge of the lake. There are nice views to the wetland area, which is particularly attractive to noisy red wing blackbirds. Soon you complete the trail loop.
Total Distance - 1.1 miles, 1.77 km
Westminster Hills Open Space Loop Trail
Use the parking lot on the west side of Simms Street at about 107th Drive. This trail passes through one of the city’s dog parks, where dogs are allowed off-leash. Go west to the bridge over the canal and proceed up the steep-sided valley. At the top of the hill, you can go straight ahead about 1/2 mile to pretty Mower Reservoir. If so, you must return on the same trail.
To complete the loop, turn left and proceed through a flat rocky plain back east toward Simms Street. There are nice views of Standley Lake in the distance.
As you approach Simms Street, the trail makes a sharp turn to the left (north) and soon begins a moderate descent back down to the bridge over the canal. There is attractive native vegetation along this narrow trail. Use the bridge over the canal to return to the parking lot.
Total Distance - 4.9 miles, 7.88 km. (to Mower Reservoir and loop trail)
South Shore of Standley Lake Loop Trails
Park at the trailhead parking lot on the north side of 86th Avenue at Simms Street in Standley Lake Regional Park. There are several informal loop trails, both to the east and west of the parking lot. All of these trails have beautiful lake and mountain views.
There is a large loop trail east of the parking lot. Start out by going east and staying up on the top of the ridge next to the lake past the picnic shelter. For a long trail, proceed east to where the Farmers’ High Line Canal enters the lake. This is a beautiful, scenic area next to the clear water of the canal that resembles a mountain stream. Return using the trail that is right next to the lake. Proceed west to the tree-lined ravine that leads back south up a steep hill to the parking lot.
To use the west loop trail, proceed west from the parking lot on the north side of the irrigation canal. At the woodsy area, take the trail downhill to the edge of the lake. There is a larger dead-end trail that goes left next to the lake. To complete the trail loop, go right on the trail next to the lake. Proceed to the tree-lined ravine and go up the steep (sometimes muddy) trail back to the parking lot.
Total Distance - East Loop - 2.4 miles, 3.88 km.
West Loop - 1.1 miles, 1.77 km.
South Westminster Historic Loop - This 2.2-mile trail utilizes mostly 8-foot-wide detached sidewalks in the historic Harris Park neighborhood in South Westminster. To enhance your experience, obtain copies of the following three guidebooks from the Westminster Historical Society (303-426-1858): “A Walk Through Westminster History a Self-Guided Tour.”
1. Lowell Boulevard
2. Bradburn Boulevard
3. 72nd Avenue, 73rd Avenue, 76th Avenue, and homes of the street
Also, read the several bronze plaques imbedded in the sidewalk along the way for historical information.
Park in front of the Grange Hall building, 3935 W. 73rd Ave. This historic building was constructed in 1911, the year that Westminster was incorporated as a city. Go east along the north side of 73rd Avenue to Lowell Boulevard. Along the way, note the historic Rodeo Market Community Arts Center and sculpture show in the park to the east.
Cross at the traffic signal to the east side of Lowell Boulevard and turn left (north). The historic original Westminster High School (built in 1949) is straight ahead. Cross Lowell Boulevard and turn left (north) on the 8-foot-wide sidewalk. Proceed straight ahead to Turnpike Drive, just south of U.S. 36, passing through pretty Torri Square Park. Go left at Turnpike Drive on the sidewalk on the north side of the street. Proceed to Bradburn Boulevard and go left, staying on the left (east side) of Bradburn Boulevard. As you go south, look for several bronze plaques in the sidewalk, identifying historic sites. Turn left (east) at 73rd Avenue and stay on the north side of 73rd Avenue to the Grange Hall while passing several older commercial buildings.
Total Distance - 2.2 miles, 3.5 km
Panorama Trail - Park at 99th Avenue/Otis Street in the Westcliff subdivision. Follow the trail where Otis Street dead ends south to fork in the trail and go right across the Big Dry Creek Open Space. You will see (and hear) prairie dogs everywhere! The trail will angle to the north. Don’t take the path to the right, which leads south to the Westcliff subdivision at Jay Street. Soon another trail intersects on the right, which descends down a short hill to the Big Dry Creek Trail. We can see some rock outcropping at the surface and next to the creek bluff, one of the few places in Westminster where this occurs. Don’t go right down the hill to the Big Dry Creek Trail, but instead continue on the Panorama Trail, which hugs the edge of a bluff overlooking the creek valley and the mountains beyond. The views are beautiful!
The trail soon passes through a high-quality natural area with cactus, yucca, and other native plants. The wildflowers are quite impressive during May-June in this area. The trail meanders a bit before completing the 0.8 mile loop near 99th Avenue/Otis Street. This trail is best walked (versus biked) to appreciate the interesting natural features.
Total Distance: 0.8 mile, 1.3 km.
Big Dry Creek/Westfield Park Loop - Park at the Westfield Park parking lot, located on the east side of Wolff Street at 115th Avenue. Proceed due east past the playground along a concrete path and past the baseball/softball fields to an opening in the fence, which leads to the Big Dry Creek Trail. Go left and notice the nice views across the valley to College Hill Library, Front Range Community College and the scenic 3.5-acre College Pond. Soon the trail passes a pond on the left which is hidden amongst cottonwood trees.
Just past the pond, turn left onto the Sheridan Crossing Trail. The trail heads due west along a small creek valley to 2.9-acre Westfield Pond. A trail completely encircles the pond so you can do a “loop within a loop” if you want. Note the two small islands which float on the water surface. They are designed to improve the quality of the water in the pond.
Proceed to the west end of the pond to Wolff Street and go left (south) along the sidewalk staying on the east side of the street. Take the first sidewalk on the left and soon go right and back to the starting point. To extend your loop, when you go left off of the Wolff Street sidewalk, proceed straight ahead (east) on the edge of the huge soccer field. The small creek valley is on your left. The trail soon veers south where you soon turn right, past the playground and back to the starting point.
Total Distance – 1.1 mile, 1.77 km.
Mushroom Pond Open Space/Foxshire Park Loop Trail - Park along Alcott Street at 108th Avenue, abutting Foxshire Park. This trail actually is more like a “figure 8” with two trail loops. The first loop is within Foxshire Park. Take the gravel path on the south and west side of the park, which provides views of the Legacy Ridge Golf Course. This short trail soon intersects the concrete trail along the northern edge of the park.
Turn left (north) and proceed over the bridge spanning the Farmers’ High Line Canal. Immediately turn left onto the Farmers’ High Line Canal Trail and then right onto the trail around the 4.3-acre Mushroom Farm Pond. This gravel trail mostly hugs the east, south, and west shoreline of the pond, allowing a close up view of the pond and wetland habitat. Watch for waterfowl, including cormorants, ducks and an occasional white pelican that perch on the log in the middle of the lake.
The gravel path dead ends at the concrete Farmers’ High Line Canal Trail. Go left along the south side of the pond and up the hill. At the top of the hill, go right on to the trail that you already used and go back south over the bridge and back into Foxshire Park. This time, stay on the concrete path in the park and return to Alcott Street passing by the playground.
Total Distance - 0.85 mile, 1.36 km.
Niver Canal/Farmers’ High Line Canal Loop Trail - Start this loop trail at the Oakhurst Park parking lot located at 9311 Lark Bunting Drive. Park in the parking lot by the playground. The Niver Canal Trail crosses the street here. Proceed east across Lark Bunting Drive and through beautiful Oakhurst Park along the long abandoned Niver Canal. At the trail junction, go right and soon intersect the Farmers’ High Line Trail. Proceed straight ahead onto this trail and up a gentle grade.
At the top of the hill, the trail makes a sharp turn to the right and now abuts the Farmers’ High Line Canal. The trail goes past Kings Mill Park and beautiful Sommerset Park, both on your right.
Soon you will come to Independence Street. Very carefully cross the street and continue on a now narrower concrete path to the edge of Standley Lake Regional Park. Enter the park on a narrow dirt path and proceed down the hill to the gravel road/path. Admire the breathtaking mountain and lake views! Go right on to what looks like a gravel road, and the Standley Lake dam will be on your left. If you want, take a detour to the edge of the lake. Return to the trail and proceed downhill. Part way down the hill, a gravel trail will intersect on the right. Go right onto this trail which is the Niver Canal Trail.
Cross Independence Street and the trail will become concrete. The trail abuts the abandoned Niver Canal. The views to the mountains are expansive. Soon you will be back to where you started.
Total Distance 2.7 miles, 4.34 km.
Big Dry Creek Trail/Airport Creek Trail/Sheridan Green Trail - Start the trail on the north side of City Park where Eaton Street dead ends, south of 108th Avenue. Take the trail a short distance to the Big Dry Creek Trail. Go right onto the gravel trail on the north side of the creek. Do not get onto the main Big Dry Creek Trail or cross the bridge. The gravel trail passes by a storm water detention pond on your right. Take the trail around the south end of the pond to the sidewalk along the road by the Westin Hotel (Promenade Drive).
Go right onto the sidewalk, which will lead you west between the Promenade Drive North and the Sheridan Green subdivision on your right. A drainage channel also parallels the trail on the right. You will pass by the Ice Centre on your left.
Soon you will come to Westminster Boulevard and a traffic signal. Do not cross the street but turn right (north) along the east side of Westminster Boulevard. The trail meanders slightly through a wide City maintained greenbelt/linear park along the edge of the Sheridan Green subdivision. To your left is the distinctive Circle Point Corporate Center with its very attractive circular park in the middle.
Cross 112th Avenue and proceed another approximately 1/3 mile along what is now called Main Street (north of 112th Avenue) to where the Airport Creek Trail intersects with the sidewalk. Go right through this attractive City Open Space lined with mature trees. The trail crosses Kendall Street and then arcs along the edge of Sherwood Park. (Did you know that many Westminster parks are named after English places?)
You will soon come to 112th Avenue. Cross using the traffic signal at Harlan Street. Proceed straight ahead (south) on the trail which follows Airport Creek crossing Eaton Street at about 110th Avenue and entering the Big Dry Creek Open Space. The trail descends down a gentle hill to the Big Dry Creek Trail. Go right at the Big Dry Creek Trail and follow it next to the creek back to City Park and where you started.
Total Distance - 3.23 miles, 5.19 km.
Big Dry Creek/Farmers’ High Line Canal Trail Loop - This is the longest loop trail in the city and provides a tremendous variety of scenery and elevation change. Start the trip at Christopher Field’s in City Park. Enter City Park at the 104th Avenue entrance. The Christopher Field’s parking lot is straight ahead past the bridge.
To start your trip, go south toward the bridge from the parking lot. Don’t cross the bridge. Instead, turn left on the south side of the park road and go east to where a sidewalk veers off to the right leading to an underpass under 104th Avenue. Once through the underpass, the trail loops back up to the south side of 104th Avenue. Cross west over the underpass on the 104th Avenue sidewalk and take the gravel path on the left.
Proceed up the hill and at the fork in the path, go right. You are within the Hyland Ponds Open Space. Soon a row of cottonwood trees are on your left, which line an abandoned irrigation canal. The Lower Hyland Pond which attracts wildlife will soon be visible on your left. At the trail junction, go right (west) across open space to Westminster Boulevard.
Go left on the sidewalk on the east side of Westminster Boulevard and go over US 36. Just past the bridge, turn left and go under the underpass under Westminster Boulevard. Continue on the concrete path west which now is following the Farmers’ High Line Canal Trail. Beautiful, huge cottonwood trees line the canal.
The trail soon turns to gravel as it meanders between the active Farmers’ High Line Canal and the abandoned Niver Canal. The dense underbrush and canal water attracts birds.
Soon you will come to Pierce Street, which you can cross on the trail. You immediately pass by the historic Semper home on your right. The house and some out buildings are virtually all that remains from the once incorporated town of Semper (now part of Westminster). The trail curves to the left prior to reaching 92nd Avenue.
Go right (west) on 92nd Avenue on the sidewalk on the north side of the street. Proceed straight ahead (west) crossing first Wadsworth Boulevard and then Wadsworth Parkway. West at Wadsworth Parkway, the street becomes Yarrow Street and curves to the left. Stay on the right side of the street past Ammons Street.
Turn right to the Farmers’ High Line Canal Trail just before the canal. The Covenant Village development is on your right and the ditch is on your left. Soon the trail will come to a “T” intersection. Go left and up the hill on the trail which will cross 90th Avenue.
At the top of the uphill climb the trail makes a 90 degree turn to the right and proceeds west along the canal and past two parks to Independence Street. Cross this street with caution. Soon the concrete trail ends and turns to a dirt path as you enter Standley Lake Regional Park. Turn right at the gravel road and proceed down to the bottom of the hill, cross over the creek and go back up to the Big Dry Creek Trail.
Take a right and take the Big Dry Creek Trail about 3.75 miles back to City Park.
Total Distance: 9.6 miles, 15.44 km.
Park loop trails
Several Westminster parks have pleasant short loop trails. They include:
Amherst Park (Pecos Street/Harmony Parkway
There is a nice perimeter trail on the outer edge of this attractive neighborhood park - 0.5 mile, 0.8 km.
Big Dry Creek Park (128th Avenue/Pecos Street)
A long perimeter trail that can be coupled with the Big Dry Creek Trail - 0.6 mile, 1.0 km.
Carroll Butts Park (94th Avenue/Raleigh Street)
A nice loop trail passing by Hyland Greens Golf Course and a scenic pond.
Lake Loop - 0.5 mile, 0.8 km.
Ball Fields Loop - 0.4 mile, 0.6 km.
City Park (105th Avenue/Sheridan Boulevard)
Several interconnected loop trails, including around City Park lake.
Lake Trail - 0.5 mile, 0.8 km.
Circle Path - 0.6 mile, 1.0 km.
Cobblestone Park (81st Avenue/Clay Drive) - A nice circular trail passing by a pretty pond - 0.4 mile, 0.6 km.
Faversham Park (73rd Avenue/Ingalls Street)
Both a perimeter park trail and one around the small lake - 0.6 mile. 0.6 km.
Foxshire Park (Alcott Street/108th Avenue) - A gravel trail on the south and west side connected with a concrete trail on the north side to form a loop - 0.4 mile, 0.6 km.
Sherwood Park (Kendall Street/113th Place)
A perimeter trail around the park - 0.4 mile.
Stratford Lakes Ponds (King Street/Stratford Lakes Drive) - There are several loop trails around these privately owned lakes. The trails are open to the public.
West Lakes Trail Loop - 0.2 mile, 0.3 km.
East Lake Trail Loop - 0.5 mile, 0.8 km.
Westfield Park (115th Avenue/Wolff Street)
A long loop trail around the edge of the park, which can be coupled with trail
loops in the abutting Big Dry Creek open space - 0.7 mile, 1.07 km.
Westminster Center Park (92nd Avenue/City Center Drive) - This park has an attractive perimeter trail that passes by one of Westminster’s most unique playgrounds - 0.44 mile, 0.7 km.
Willowbrook Park (123rd Avenue/Bannock Street) - This gravel trail loops through an attractive meadow with nice mountain views. The trail is accessed off 123rd Avenue, where it curves south and becomes Bannock Street, just west of some multi-family residential property - 0.3 mile, 0.4 km.