South Platte River Trail Improvements


South Platte River with Speer Boulevard bridge and REI in the background 

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Running through the heart of Denver and the metro area, the South Platte River is a defining feature of the city's layout and an integral part of its history. The greenway hosts numerous bridges and transportation connections, along with many parks and the regional trail used by thousands each year. 

Various projects along the South Platte River are underway or planned through 2030, all of which are necessary to keep the city's infrastructure safe and improve experiences for trail users. Many trail improvements are being done in coordination with other public agencies as part of adjacent redevelopment and transportation projects, following varied timelines outlined in the sections linked above and below.

Trail closures and detours of varying lengths will be required as these projects are implemented over the course of the next several years. Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) is committed to creating safe detour routes that minimize impacts to trail users.  Please use extra caution while following posted detours, and thank you for your patience during this time. 

Alameda Bridge

April 2023 - Spring 2025

As part of the CDOT I-25 & Alameda Bridge Replacement project, the South Platte River Trail is closed at the Alameda underpass. Trail users are being detoured to S. Lipan St. between Alameda and Cedar Avenue. 

Various trail improvements are part of the project, including the construction of a 12-foot concrete trail and 4-foot crusher-fine trail along with 3-foot vegetated shoulders. Improved sight distance, connections to Kalamath St. and a water quality pond are also part of the project. 

Johnson Habitat Park to W. Mississippi Ave.

Project Description:

The failing retaining wall at Mississippi Avenue will be replaced and the trail upgraded to the regional standard of 12-foot concrete with an adjacent 4-foot crusher fine trail. Trail users will be detoured to S. Jason Street where bike lanes have been added.

Project Background:

Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) closed this segment of trail in fall 2019 due to safety concerns and began a funding plan to repair the failing retaining wall. DPR then decided to fully upgrade the trail to the regional standards with the design process starting in 2021. Construction of the Kentucky Avenue bridge that goes over the trail and river also needed to be coordinated, further extending the planning and design phase. 

Project Timeline:

Unexpected soil conditions were recently discovered, requiring a significant change in the design of the retaining wall. In addition, floodplain management processes done in collaboration with FEMA are taking longer than anticipated. Due to these issues, construction is now scheduled to begin no earlier than 2024.

Because of these delays, the South Platte River Trail will re-open temporarily in this area until construction can begin. Jersey barriers will be pinned to the existing trail to support the retaining wall and new asphalt will widen the trail by 2-3 feet. Safety fencing will be installed where needed. These temporary modifications should be in place by late May and the trail will remain open until construction begins in 2024. Thanks for your patience and understanding!  

Download the before & after rendering(PDF, 1MB)

Download the detour map(PDF, 3MB) 
(in place when trail is closed during construction)

Sun Valley Park/Redevelopment

A new 10-acre park is coming to 10th Avenue and Alcott Street in the Sun Valley neighborhood. Owned by Denver Housing Authority (DHA) and Xcel Energy, this riverfront parcel is being constructed and conveyed to DPR to serve the redeveloped DHA Sun Valley community with access to the river and regional trail system. Park improvements will be completed in two phases. The first section between 9th and 11th Avenues is currently in design. DHA and DPR have collaborated on extensive public outreach that has included numerous touchpoints with the Sun Valley Community over the past several years, including a Community Advisory Committee. The focus has been on providing much-needed open space, recreation, community gathering areas for cultural celebrations, and food resource opportunities in the new park.

Schedule and Budget

The 5-acre Phase 1 Project is currently in final design with construction expected to start in 2025. The park is anticipated to open to the public in 2026.  Funding provided by the Elevate Denver Bond, Parks Legacy Fund, and Denver Housing Authority.

Learn More

Virginia to Bayaud Ave.

Project Scope:

This project will widen and improve the existing South Platte River Trail to meet Denver Parks and Recreation's new regional trail standard of a 12-foot wide concrete trail and an adjacent 4-foot wide crusher fines trail. The project will also include trail lighting, a trail rest area, and will realign South Platte River Drive to improve trail safety and comfort.

Project Timeline:

  • Summer 2022: Public Outreach
  • 2021-2023: Design
  • Fall 2024: Construction Begins
  • Fall 2025: Project Complete

Download the project information sheet(PDF, 1MB)

Bayaud Ave. to Phil Milstein Park

Project Scope:

This project will widen and improve a 4,000-foot-long stretch of the South Platte River Trail between Bayaud Avenue and Phil Milstein Park, meeting Denver Parks and Recreation’s updated regional trail standards. Improvements will feature a widened 12-foot-wide concrete trail with an adjacent 4-foot-wide crusher fines trail and shoulders with vegetation on each side.

About 2,500 linear feet of new trail will be constructed on the west side of the river, away from I-25. The project also includes a new 16' wide bike and pedestrian bridge, trail lighting, wayfinding, and construct a pedestrian plaza between the trail and the river adjacent to Denver’s Wastewater Management building.

Download the project information sheet(PDF, 214KB)
Download the project information sheet in Spanish(PDF, 214KB)
Download the project information sheet in Vietnamese(PDF, 235KB)
Download the project map(PDF, 6MB)

Project Timeline:

  • Early 2024: Public outreach
  • 2024-2026: 60% design plans
  • Fall 2026: Construction start
  • Fall 2027: Project Complete

Community Outreach

Community Meeting | April 17, 2024

In this community meeting, improvements to the South Platte River Trail from Bayaud to Phil Milstein Park were presented. This project will improve trails and introduce amenities like a pedestrian bridge, trail lighting, and plaza.

Download the presentation in English and Spanish(PDF, 4MB)
Watch the meeting recording in English
Watch the meeting recording in Spanish

Download the presentation in Vietnamese
(PDF, 6MB)
Watch the meeting recording in Vietnamese

Future Projects

Additional projects will continue along the South Platte River for the next several years. Please check back for updates and news about impacts to trail users as they are implemented:   

Globeville Levee:

As part of the Dept. of Transportation and Infrastructure's Globeville Levee Improvements project, the trail will be rebuilt to modern regional trail standards with construction work done during four low-flow seasons from 2024-2027.

Grant Frontier Park:

As part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' South Platte Ecosystem Restoration project, the trail will be detoured while upgrades are made. Construction is planned to begin no sooner than fall 2025.

Mississippi Ave. to City of Englewood:

The design phase for a trail improvement project from Mississippi Avenue to Englewood city limits is funded/scheduled to begin in 2024, with funding for construction between Mississippi and Florida allocated in 2026.

River Mile Development:  

This long term, mixed-use development plan includes improvements to both the river and trail. The initial phase is anticipated to begin in early 2022 and will reconstruct the existing trail on the east bank of the South Platte River, bringing it to the new 12’ wide standard for regional trails. The general project area is W. Colfax Ave to Speer Blvd. More details on impacts and detours will be provided closer to construction beginning.