Waterton Canyon closure

Jan. 20, 2016 - Beginning Feb. 2, 2016, the lower portion of Waterton Canyon, including the main entrance and parking lot, will be closed Monday through Saturday until May 15, 2016, while crews repair the High Line Canal diversion structure in the South Platte River. The canyon will be fully open to recreation on Sundays during the project.

For hikers and bikers on the Colorado Trail, access to the upper portion of Waterton Canyon will remain open down to mile marker 2. Recreationists can access the upper portion of the canyon from Roxborough State Park, approximately 5.5 miles away. (Note: Bikes are not permitted in Roxborough State Park.) For additional information on the Colorado Trail and alternative access points, visit www.coloradotrail.org/waterton.

“Because the canyon is such a popular recreational amenity for the community, we wanted to leave the trail open when and where possible,” said Brandon Ransom, Denver Water manager of recreation. “Our goal is to get this project and other annual maintenance work completed before the extremely active summer months.”

Most of the wood on the High Line Canal diversion structure had already washed away by June 2015.The High Line Canal diversion, built between 1880 – 1883, is a wooden structure spanning the width of the South Platte River, about 1.5 miles up the canyon. It helps direct flows into the pipe that carries water to the High Line Canal, when needed.

During an inspection on May 8, 2015, engineers determined that the structure was deteriorating and needed to be replaced.

“The project will require a high volume of construction traffic and large pieces of heavy equipment in the canyon,” said Doug Raitt, Denver Water engineering project manager. “We must keep the public safe, which unfortunately means closing the lower portion of the canyon on days when work is taking place.”

For information on other recreational opportunities at Denver Water facilities, check out our infographic, “Say it ain’t so! Another Waterton blow.


Denver Water proudly serves high-quality water and promotes its efficient use to 1.4 million people in the city of Denver and many surrounding suburbs. Established in 1918, the utility is a public agency funded by water rates, new tap fees and the sale of hydropower, not taxes. It is Colorado’s oldest and largest water utility. Subscribe to TAP to hydrate your mind, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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Stacy Chesney/Travis Thompson

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