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Westminster, Colorado, United States

Big Dry Creek Trail

This Westminster trail is a little over ten miles and is perfect for a family bike ride or just a quick weekend workout.

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Difficulty: Easy
Length: 10.1 miles / 16.3 km
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly • Dog Friendly
Overview: This trail is ideal for exploring the northwestern suburbs of Denver. It runs all the way from Standley Lake in the west to I-25 in the east.
Parts of the trail are concrete and the rest is gravel. The whole trail is incredibly level and makes a great family outing since it is superb for pulling a bike trailer or tagalong.
Wildlife viewing on the trail includes gophers, coyotes, and numerous bird species with an especially large population of hawks.
One of the distinctively inviting features of this trail is the number of connector trails that feed into it. One of the longest and favorite trails to explore off of the Big Dry Creek Trail is the Farmers Highline Canal Trail. Although the abundance of side trails is a bonus feature of the trail, it can also be a bit of a problem. Many people have gotten off the beaten path on their first visit to Big Dry Creek Trail. It's easy to do. Fortunately, the path is fairly well marked, but it's important to pay attention to the signs on your first visit.

Tips: As mentioned in the overview, it is easy to get sidetracked on this trail. Don't rely on intuition or the look of the trail when deciding which path to take. Sometimes the side trails look more like the main path. Use this guide and the signposts to orient yourself on your inaugural trail visit.
Since the Front Range of Colorado is noted for it's abundant sunshine, and this trail has very little shade, come prepared with lots of sunscreen and water.
Also remember that sporadic afternoon showers are common in Colorado, so bring a rain jacket. It's not a bad idea to always carry one of those hotel shower caps in your bike bag. They're light, they hardly take up any space, and they fit right over your helmet in case you're caught out in the rain.

Points of Interest


Farmers Highline Canal Trail junction

Turn right at this point to explore the Farmers Highline Canal Trail. This is one of the longest trails that connects to the Big Dry Creek Trail.

Railroad Underpass

At this point, the trail crosses under the railroad tracks just east of Wadsworth Parkway.

W. 99th Ave.

At this point, you will turn right on a small, seldom-used road known as W. 99th Ave. This is the only time you will have to ride on a road for the entire length of the trail.

Trail leaves 99th Ave. West

Turn right onto this sidewalk/trail and say goodbye to the short section of road; it's all trail from here on out.

Confusing trail junction

Pay close attention to the sign at this junction. It appears as if the trail continues straight at this point. However, you want to turn right here to stay on the main Big Dry Creek Trail. The trail that goes straight dead ends at Church Ranch Boulevard.

Westin Hotel and City Park

This is an important spot on the trail for a variety of reasons:
- It is Westminster's City Park and is a good place to get a drink and watch a softball game or some other sporting event.
- It is the location of a "flying disc park" where you can take part in a game of disc golf.
- It is another (of many) confusing junctions. One trail leads into the park, another to the Farmers Highline Canal, another to the nearby hotel...
-... speaking of which, if you need a place to stay, you will ride right by the beautiful grounds of the Westin Hotel with its outside waterfall and nicely landscaped grounds.
- If you want to watch a movie, go ice-skating (year-round), do some shopping, or eat at a restaurant, this is also the place for that. Go left, toward the hotel, and you'll find plenty of entertainment and dining choices.

Front Range Community College

The Community College Trail veers to the right here. It is a nice little side trip off the main trail that ends up reconnecting near the housing development to the northeast of the college campus.

Another confusing trail junction

After crossing under W. 128th Ave., be ready for a right hand turn. You will be turning off of a cement trail and onto a gravel trail, which seems counterintuitive, but trust me. If you keep going straight on the cement path, you will end up dead-ending in a local neighborhood.
When you turn right onto the gravel path, you will be continuing on the Big Dry Creek Trail.

Trail's End

... or as Porky Pig would say, "Bee Ba Dee, that's all folks!"
However, you have two choices at this point. If you cross under I-25 the trail continues for a very short ways, then ends in a residential area. You can explore the suburbs of Thornton from here.
Or, If you turn left (north) just before crossing under I-25, you can explore another trail that wanders into another suburban neighborhood.
Of course, your other option is to head back the way you came on Big Dry Creek Trail.

Bear to the left at this point

For this portion of the trail, you are in the Standley Lake Regional Park. The Standley Lake Dam was constructed between 1909 and 1919. It was enlarged in 1963.
As mentioned in the introduction, this trail has many tributary trails. At this point in the trail, assuming you are going from west to east, you will want to go left. There is not a sign here, so be careful. If you go to the right, you will begin to circumnavigate the dam and reservoir. You could also end up on the Farmers Highline Canal Trail.
Pictures in this guide taken by: fediegel,, trailsnet
Thanks Barry. Your help/advice made all the difference. I appreciate it.

by trailsnet on Jan 01, 2011
Hi Kevin. You finally got your Guide published. Congratulations. Looks like a great trail. I look forward to reading more of your contributions.

by theoutdoorholic on Aug 30, 2010

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