A favorite urban getaway
The trail along the High Line Canal meanders 71 miles across the Denver area, offering places to hike, bike, jog and ride horses. While the waterway is owned and operated by Denver Water, this National Landmark Trail is maintained by municipal recreation agencies.
Planning for the future
The High Line Canal Conservancy (Conservancy) is a non-profit providing leadership to harness the region’s commitment to preserving the future of the High Line Canal. With support from each jurisdiction and in partnership with Denver Water, the Conservancy is connecting stakeholders in support of comprehensive planning to ensure that the Canal is protected and enhanced for future generations. Learn more and stay informed by connecting with the Conservancy.
High Line highlights
Looking for a trail map or a guidebook? Contact the High Line Canal Conservancy to find out where these are available.
The High Line Canal corridor offers a variety of activities ranging from wildlife viewing, to walking, to bicycling to horseback riding. Allowed activities will depend on the jurisdiction and recreationalists should check with the High Line Canal Conservancy or their local recreation agency for more information.
Sharing the trail: The trail is used by a variety of people, from walkers with strollers to cyclists. Please be considerate of others. Pets must be on a leash, and owners are responsible for cleaning up after pets.
Special events: Permits are required for special events. Applicants should contact their local recreation agency for more information. The agency will then coordinate with the High Line Canal Conservancy and Denver Water.
- From a diversion dam on the South Platte River 1.8 miles upstream from the mouth of Waterton Canyon, the canal runs 71 miles east-northeast through Douglas, Arapahoe, and Denver counties, ending at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Lateral in the Green Valley Ranch area.
- To reach its starting point, take Colorado 470 to Wadsworth (Colorado 121) and follow Colorado 121 south to Waterton Canyon’s parking lot.
- The canal is accessible along most of its length. For more information on access along the canal, check out the High Line Canal Conservancy for info on getting a map and guidebook.
What agency should I contact with questions or concerns about the canal or trail?
The High Line Canal Conservancy is a great resource for members of the public seeking information about the High Line Canal. Denver Water is responsible for running water through the canal and for completing general maintenance of the canal. There are also stormwater agencies that maintain sections of the canal where stormwater management systems have been put into place. Denver Water has agreements with seven local recreation agencies that are responsible for maintaining the trail and managing recreation:
- Douglas County Parks and Trails
- Metro District of Highlands Ranch Parks and Open Space
- South Suburban Parks and Recreation
- Greenwood Village Parks, Trails and Recreation Department
- Cherry Hills Village Parks, Trails and Recreation Division
- Denver Parks and Recreation
- Aurora Parks, Open Space & Trails
Who takes care of the trees?
For more information, please visit the High Line Canal Conservancy's page about tree canopy care.
When does water flow in the canal?
The canal has an 1879 water right, which is fairly junior by Colorado water rights standards. Depending on the availability of water from the South Platte River, and irrigation demand by users on the canal, Denver Water intermittently runs water through the canal between the months of April and October.
Does the canal have seepage?
All dirt-lined canals seep water. The canal seeps about 60 to 80 percent of the water running through it, making it more suitable for recreation purposes than for water delivery. The canal has been seeping since it opened more than a century ago. Denver Water understands some people who have built below the canal may have problems with normal seepage loss from the canal, but it is not the responsibility of Denver Water, or its partnering agencies, to correct those problems. The canal was in operation — and leaking — at its present location long before development in areas near the canal.
How is Denver Water managing mosquito populations?
Last year, the Denver metro area and the Front Range as a whole experienced elevated mosquito levels due to standing water from the August 2022 monsoons. This issue was not exclusive to the High Line Canal or the High Line stormwater sections.
Denver Water is working with partner agencies that oversee and maintain sections of the High Line Canal to mitigate and prevent mosquitoes. In summer 2023, Denver Water crews will place larvicide briquettes every two weeks, as needed, in standing water along the High Line Canal.
Currently, the briquettes are the best option to mitigate mosquitoes. They contain a bacterium that is deadly to mosquito larvae but harmless to other living things, such as aquatic insects, fish and other animals. The treatment takes effect within 24-48 hours and lasts for 30 days.
Spraying, or “fogging,” areas with high mosquito populations is not an option at this time. The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment may use stronger mitigation tactics than briquettes if adult mosquito numbers and/or West Nile Virus prevalence within the mosquito population are at a level that is determined to be a risk to public health.
What can I do to help reduce mosquitoes near my home?
Residents can help reduce mosquito numbers on their property by not over-watering yards. Run a short cycle of each sprinkler zone to allow the water to soak in and maintain your sprinkler systems. Residents can also dispose of yard waste through the City and County of Denver’s waste and composting services. Waste should not be disposed of in the canal open space where it can end up in the channel and contribute to sustaining standing water and mosquito production.
For more tips to help control mosquitoes, read Denver Water’s TAP article, visit the City and County of Denver’s Mosquito Control webpage or go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov/Mosquitoes.
Please contact Denver Water Community Relations Senior Specialist Gianna Lombardi at 303-634-3724 or by email at email@example.com.