Hiking 9 Creeks Loop Mile Segment 1 Mile 0-5 Rounding the Platte River

Trailhead: Globeville Landing (corner of 38th St and Arkins Ct, Denver)

Trailend: Dahlia Trailhead (4900 Sandcreek Dr S, Commerce City, CO 80022)

Highlights: Platte River, Sand Creek Confluence, Suncor

I’m walking a 42-mile loop around Denver on a what I’ve branded as the 9 Creeks Loop (or #9Creeks in social media.) Read the backstory.

9creeks eatwalklearnThe Loop travels on 4 established Denver trails, but there is no consistency in measurement on the Loop. One trail’s 5 mile marker could be the 11 mile marker of the Loop. In this narrative, I do my best to estimate which mile is which on the entire 9 Creeks Loop.

Mile 0 of the  9 Creeks is an arbitrary place. Since the 9 Creeks is a loop, it really doesn’t matter where you start. If you want to follow along in your own version of this walk, start at Globeville Landing, which I call mile 0.

9 Creeks Loop Mile 0 Along the Platte

9creeks eatwalklearnGlobeville sits north of Denver along the Platte, railroad lines bisect it, and interstates 70 and 25 eventually would run through it. Only one street car stop ever existed here, so, historically, due to the limited access to safe and fluid walking areas, the workers of the Globe Smelter stayed and felt isolated from Denver.

In addition, the configuration of roads and the interstate earned the area the nickname, “The Mousetrap,” due to the impossibility of navigating the ons and offs of the major thoroughfares.  But funny thing is, when walking along the Platte River Trail, it’s pretty straight forward and easy to follow.

9 Creeks Loop Mile .5 Moo-ing Sheep

9creeks eatwalklearnGlobeville neighbors the Denver Coliseum and Stock Show Complex, formerly known as the Cow Palace. Every January, Denver rock n rolls to the giant rodeo and auction. So, imagine our surprise when we crossed to the west side of the river and heard, “Moo!” Although the air smelled a bit like livestock, we couldn’t locate the sound.

Then to our left, we saw a building.

A wall that was 1 foot short from the top allowed us to peek over the wall, and lo and behold, the mooing sound exposed a herd of sheep. I raised my camera up above the edge of the wall and took a blind shot. To our surprise, we uncovered about 40 sheered sheep. I have no idea their destination, and frankly, being vegetarian, I don’t want to think about it.

9 Creeks Loop Mile 1 The Old Wastewater Treatment Plant

9creeks eatwalklearnWe continued along the 8-ft wide concrete path, which had a small pebble trail shoulder. Shortly, we arrived at Northside Park, or what used to be the old Denver sewage plant, which closed in the 80s. After becoming destitute and an eyesore, the City with the help of the National Guard cleaned the brownfield up and turned it into a park. We traveled along, staying clear of the commuting cyclists who started to appear.

9 Creeks Loop Mile 1.5 Burlington Ditch

9creeks eatwalklearnUp ahead, we crossed the River again. But then, we came across another body of water? Thinking that perhaps we had come to our 2nd water body, the Sand Creek, I was soon corrected. We had stumbled upon the Burlington Ditch.

Created in the 1880s by a group of enterprisers who wanted to sell water rights and construction bonds, the Burlington Ditch services the City of Denver’s new wastewater plant and nearby farmers, eventually dumping into Barr Lake.

9creeks eatwalklearnThe surprises continued after the Burlington Ditch. To the east of the ditch is the historic Riverfront Cemetery. We probably would have completely missed it if had we been on bikes, but for a good 1/2 mile, we passed along the banks of the Ditch abutting the cemetery. With some of Denver’s elite buried there, it continues to offer space now and competes with the Fairmount Cemetery to the south.

9 Creeks Loop Mile 2 Denver Wastewater Plant

9creeks eatwalklearnWe knew we were upon the Wastewater Plant about 1/2 mile before approaching it. The smell. Granted, it was 89 degrees and the wind blew just right to offer up the Plant’s aroma, but phewie. Stink-a-roo. Marveled by the size of the Plant and its odd brown color, we quickened our pace to get beyond the smell. I want to say the smell was tolerable, and I was certainly glad when we crossed back over the Platte and the smell disappeared. But it was a long mile of stink.

9 Creeks Loop Mile 3 The Head of the Sand Creek Greenway

9creeks eatwalklearn

We approached the Sand Creek Greenway trailhead, crossing the Platte and the Sand Creek with one bridge. Looking over the edge of the bridge, we gawked at the 4-6 foot long catfish and promptly took a picture. Immediately after exiting the bridge, the Loop turns southeast, and almost immediately again, we crossed the Burlington Ditch and came upon the stinky Suncor petroleum plant.

Mile 4 The Beginning of the Greenway

9creeks eatwalklearnIf the signs hadn’t educated us that we were on the Sand Creek, the elevation clued us in. The Loop’s elevation gets close to the edge of the Sand Creek, and large marshlands house wonderful birding along the Greenway. We continued along, going under caged areas that protected us from falling debris from train tracks. Suncor’s smell stunk up our nostrils, but not as badly as the wastewater plant.

9creeks eatwalklearnWe continued along the Sand Creek, passing under Vasquez, we finally arrived at our exit point, the Dahlia Trailhead and the segment end for the day. Ready about for Segment 2?