I Rode My Bike From Southeast Denver to Golden—Here’s How It Went

I live in Southeast Denver. I don’t own a car, nor does getting one seem like something I will do in the near future. When my weekends happen, unless I have a ride, I usually stay within the Denver area due to RTD’s reduced weekend service on regional routes.

Two weekends ago, however, was different.

I decided to go on a bike ride, using the “suggested route” from Google Maps, to get to El Callejon (a really good Colombian place that everyone should try) in Golden from the Goldsmith neighborhood where I live in Southeast Denver. Here’s how it went.

From Home to Confluence Park
My apartment is relatively close to the Glendale entrance on Cherry Street to the Cherry Creek Trail. From there to Confluence Park, things are fairly smooth. However, one gripe I do have is the stretch in front of the Denver Country Club. The path is super narrow, the underpass below University near Cherry Creek Drive seems like a deathtrap, and I constantly feel bottlenecked in this area because of the high traffic. Once I get past the Country Club, however, things are fairly good through to Confluence Park.

Images below: 1.) Entrance to the Cherry Creek Trail in Glendale; 2.) Protected bike lane near Rocky Mountain Lake Park; 3.) Map showing the first third of my journey.
Near the Glendale entrance to the Cherry Creek Trail
Map showing the first third of my bike journey from Denver to Golden

Confluence Park to Clear Creek Trail
This stretch is possibly the most bizarre of my commute. While bike lanes and trails do exist (particularly the one after Federal and 46th shown above), the bicycle network seems to be only partially fleshed out. I felt this a lot when I was going from I-25 and 46th to Federal Boulevard, often feeling unwelcome on a street that features only faded lines and bike symbols on the pavement to protect me from the motor vehicle traffic.

Reaching Sheridan Boulevard was frustrating to a degree as well. At one point, I thought I would have to use what I assumed was a “service road” to find my way to the trail, but then realized that it was just West 48th Avenue south of I-70. When I found out that I would have to cross I-70, I did and used Marshall Street to get to Creek Side Park and ultimately to Clear Creek Trail.

Images below: 1.) Traveling past Lakeside Amusement Park; 2.) A section of the Clear Creek Trail; 3.) A map showing the middle third of my journey.
Lakeside Amusement Park
A section of the Clear Creek Trail
Middle third of my bike journey from Denver to Golden

Clear Creek Trail to Golden
Outside of the route that I take everyday on the Cherry Creek Trail, the Clear Creek Trail was the clearest part of my commute. In a lot of ways, its design is similar to the Cherry Creek Trail, with several major and minor exits, very defined areas, and a well-maintained infrastructure. Other than an underpass near near a major intersection that was slightly confusing, Clear Creek Trail was, for lack of a better word, clear. After climbing a hill that followed the Golden Freeway and riding by the Coors plant, I was there.

Image below: A map of the final third of my bike journey from Denver to Golden. Featured photo at top: I’ve arrived in Downtown Golden.

Final Thoughts
This was my first time going the Denver-Golden route solo, with no assistance from anyone outside of my phone and my wit. While the middle portion, particularly between I-25 and Sheridan, was somewhat confusing, I felt like it was just a blip in what was otherwise a great ride.

As an urbanist that often wants to get out and see the best of what the Front Range has to offer outside, it is an important value to me to have infrastructure available for cyclists, pedestrians, and anyone who doesn’t have a single-occupancy vehicle to use for commuting inter-neighborhood, inter-city, and inter-county. If someone with a car can experience the best that the region has to offer, why can’t everybody?

By |2018-11-04T17:45:46+00:00October 30, 2018|Categories: Bicycles, Infrastructure, Transportation|13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. […] Account of a Solo Bike Ride From Glendale to Golden, Making for an Overall “Great Ride” (DenverInfill) […]

  2. Angela October 31, 2018 at 4:53 pm - Reply

    Using the trail parallel to the W-Line light rail makes a much more enjoyable ride. Plus, if you get a flat you can just jump on the light rail 🙂

    https://ridewithgps.com/trips/22927171

    • elise November 20, 2018 at 8:02 pm - Reply

      I got a flat on the way back to downtown once, and that was exactly what I ended up doing! The path through that area is pretty fun too. Lots of little hills and curves to keep things interesting.

    • Loren Hansen November 22, 2018 at 4:09 pm - Reply

      Sounds like a plan for next time Angela!

  3. Brent Mowery October 31, 2018 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    What happened between I-25 and 38th on Inca? Seems like there’s a sidepath on the east side of Inca that would’ve kept you straight

    • Loren Hansen November 22, 2018 at 3:56 pm - Reply

      Mostly just confusion on my part. I am significantly less familiar with North Denver than I am with South/Southeast Denver.

  4. Dan November 2, 2018 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    Cool ride – for the next time, get off the Platte trail sooner. 16th Street Bridge, up the hill to Tejon to 35th to Perry to 46th to Tennyson to the Clear Creek Path is very bike friendly.

    • Loren Hansen November 22, 2018 at 3:57 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the suggestion! Clear Creek in retrospect seems significantly more hospitable than the bizarre North Denver route I took/was sent on haha.

    • Steven Natali December 12, 2018 at 4:34 pm - Reply

      Thank you for the W-line map. I have always ridden way up north on the Platte River Trail to catch the Clear Creek trail out to Golden. The W-trail seems like a much more direct route from downtown out to Golden.

    • Steven Natali December 12, 2018 at 4:35 pm - Reply

      Dan,
      Can you post a map for the route you suggested? I’ve never figured out how to SAFELY head northwest out of downtown to head up to the Clear Creek Trail. Thanks.

  5. Megara Justice Machine November 5, 2018 at 12:49 am - Reply

    How long did this ride take you?

    • Loren Hansen November 22, 2018 at 4:06 pm - Reply

      Hey Megara Justice Machine! Apologies for the later reply. The ride to took Golden took roughly 3 hours, mostly due to confusion navigating North Denver. Back was about 2 and a 1/2 hours, for a total of 5 1/2 hours. Strava says it took about 2:47 there and 2:21 back in elapsed time, but there were moments along the ride I lost reception that add a little extra time.

  6. Loren Hansen November 22, 2018 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    Good Morning everyone! Just getting some time to respond to your questions/comments about the article before I ride down to Centennial to see relatives. Its been busy for me over the past month, and I am happy about all of the positive reception this article has received.

    Hope you all have a good day.

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