Bear Creek Trail Improvements

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
Conceptual image of a crusher fines parallel trail adjacent to the existing concrete Bear Creek Trail in the Bear Creek Greenbelt.

Project Background

The Bear Creek Trail is located within the Bear Creek Greenbelt, a 350-acre open space park on the south side of the city. Bear Creek runs through the property and is a mature riparian ecosystem that attracts wildlife and provides an ideal outdoor recreation and open space area. The trail is approximately seven miles in length beginning near C-470 and Morrison Road and extending east to Wadsworth Boulevard and Denver.

An extremely popular regional trail connection and a green way across the city, the trail receives a lot of use. Trail use data shows over 450,000 people use this trail and open space area each year for walking, hiking, biking, fishing and other forms of non-motorized transportation and recreational uses. The attraction of a diverse range of user groups has led to increasing conflicts in recent years, which the city has been working to address.

Trail and Connectivity Assessment Report

In 2016, the city partnered with Norris Design, Bicycle Colorado and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to complete the City of Lakewood Trail and Connectivity Assessment Report. The project objective was to provide information and guidance for expansion and maintenance of important trail corridors and the potential for new trail connections within the city. The six month public engagement effort identified opportunities for improvements to the Bear Creek Trail to mitigate user conflicts including the addition of a crushed gravel, soft surface parallel trail, widening the concrete trail to 10 feet to better handle existing usage and meet current trail standards and realigning the concrete trail in certain sections. Lastly, adding striping and signage opportunities to enhance safety and wayfinding were also identified.

Project Details

Specifically, the project entails the installation of over 12,000 linear feet of 3-6 foot wide soft surface trail that would roughly parallel the existing concrete path through the Bear Creek Greenbelt. The purpose of this trail would be to help alleviate congestion along the existing trail by providing an alternative natural surface trail for walkers and runners. In addition to the soft surface trail construction, sections of the existing trail would be removed and replaced. Improvements would be made to the concrete trail by widening sections to 10 feet when feasible, by softening trail curves to extend sight lines and replacing damaged concrete to mitigate hazards. Engineering studies will also be conducted in 2020 to consider how to appropriately address high-conflict areas to devise alternative solutions. Learn more in the Bear Creek Trail section beginning on page 26 of the City of Lakewood Trail and Connectivity Assessment Report.

All proposed trail improvements have been included to create a welcoming trail experience for all visitors and user groups. Use the tools below to provide feedback on the project and share additional ideas for future amenities as funding allows. Subscribe to this page for project notifications when new information is available.


Project Background

The Bear Creek Trail is located within the Bear Creek Greenbelt, a 350-acre open space park on the south side of the city. Bear Creek runs through the property and is a mature riparian ecosystem that attracts wildlife and provides an ideal outdoor recreation and open space area. The trail is approximately seven miles in length beginning near C-470 and Morrison Road and extending east to Wadsworth Boulevard and Denver.

An extremely popular regional trail connection and a green way across the city, the trail receives a lot of use. Trail use data shows over 450,000 people use this trail and open space area each year for walking, hiking, biking, fishing and other forms of non-motorized transportation and recreational uses. The attraction of a diverse range of user groups has led to increasing conflicts in recent years, which the city has been working to address.

Trail and Connectivity Assessment Report

In 2016, the city partnered with Norris Design, Bicycle Colorado and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to complete the City of Lakewood Trail and Connectivity Assessment Report. The project objective was to provide information and guidance for expansion and maintenance of important trail corridors and the potential for new trail connections within the city. The six month public engagement effort identified opportunities for improvements to the Bear Creek Trail to mitigate user conflicts including the addition of a crushed gravel, soft surface parallel trail, widening the concrete trail to 10 feet to better handle existing usage and meet current trail standards and realigning the concrete trail in certain sections. Lastly, adding striping and signage opportunities to enhance safety and wayfinding were also identified.

Project Details

Specifically, the project entails the installation of over 12,000 linear feet of 3-6 foot wide soft surface trail that would roughly parallel the existing concrete path through the Bear Creek Greenbelt. The purpose of this trail would be to help alleviate congestion along the existing trail by providing an alternative natural surface trail for walkers and runners. In addition to the soft surface trail construction, sections of the existing trail would be removed and replaced. Improvements would be made to the concrete trail by widening sections to 10 feet when feasible, by softening trail curves to extend sight lines and replacing damaged concrete to mitigate hazards. Engineering studies will also be conducted in 2020 to consider how to appropriately address high-conflict areas to devise alternative solutions. Learn more in the Bear Creek Trail section beginning on page 26 of the City of Lakewood Trail and Connectivity Assessment Report.

All proposed trail improvements have been included to create a welcoming trail experience for all visitors and user groups. Use the tools below to provide feedback on the project and share additional ideas for future amenities as funding allows. Subscribe to this page for project notifications when new information is available.


Ask a question about the Bear Creek Trail Improvements project. We'll respond within two business days. Please note that your questions will be visible to the public.

Ask a Question

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Is it possible to include repairs to the water/sewer access “mounds” (concrete mounds with a manhole-cover type metal on top)? There are several of these along the trail sections in the project. In the warm weather, the stench coming from these mounds is awful & nauseating, interfering with the enjoyment of the trail & possibly a health hazard. The concrete on some of the mounds also looks eroded. Thank you for your response.

    TrailHiker asked 5 months ago

    Thank you for your comments! 

    The water and sewer access points/mounds you are referring to are under the oversight of Metro Wastewater with a few maintained by Bear Creek Water and Sanitation within existing easements. Unfortunately, they are not under the City's ownership/purview to maintain. That being said, we are aware that at times there can be an unpleasant smell and are consistently  communicating with our partners. While there is not a health hazard, we will assess and reach out to better understand any options for repair. 

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Why is it that people on Bicycles NEVER yield to pedestrians ? It is clearly marked on the signs that are out there what yields to what. I've been going there WAY before it ever became open space. My Brother and myself met the old farmer who owned the land, he said we could fish and walk along the river as long as we left it cleaner than we found it. My understanding was when he passed on he donated his land WITH the understanding it should be left as NATURAL AS POSSIBLE. He cared very much for all the critters that call that land HOME. You start paving it with more concrete, He's going to Haunt all of you ! Just INFORC the rules of the paths, and make those Bicyclists SLOW DOWN. Better yet, put up a sign that they can ONLY ride on the paved paths !

    I agree to the terms of Use and Privacy policy for using Engagement HQ asked 5 months ago

    Thank you for your comments! It is very important that the Bear Creek Trail is available and safe for all user groups. This project was born out of concerns going back to 2016 around user conflicts. In addition to a separation of trail uses, as recommended as a part of this process with the parallel trail construction, we are also investigating speed signage, increased patrol and additional signage in strategic locations. 

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Does the plan include revegetation with native plants and a weed control program?

    jswesley303 asked 5 months ago

    Absolutely! In all parks projects there is a re-vegetation plan in place prior to construction. We are also fortunate to have a large volunteer network to support this effort which would include appropriate weed control.