The History of the Trail System:
The Greenway Foundation is one of the partners that built the 100+ miles of hiking and biking trails in Metro Denver. Look at the new River Vision Master Plans to see what upcoming projects we have planned for the South Platte River.
On June 16, 1965 fourteen inches of rain fell in just over four hours sending a torrent of water down the South Platte River through the heart of Denver. The resulting flood was the most devastating natural disaster in Denver’s history. Homes, bridges, and businesses were destroyed and washed away. As the floodwaters began to recede, debris littered the South Platte River from city limit to city limit.
In 1974, Denver Mayor Bill McNichols appointed State Senator Joe Shoemaker as chairman of the Platte River Development Committee (PRDC). The Committee was charged with initiating the reclamation of the South Platte River. As the work along the South Platte began, it quickly became evident that funding from the city alone would not be sufficient for the ambitious reclamation goals of the PRDC.
In 1976, the PRDC evolved into The Greenway Foundation (TGF), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization focused on the solicitation and obtainment of public and private contributions with a mission to revitalize, restore, and reclaim the South Platte River as an environmental, recreational, cultural, scientific, and historical amenity for the city of Denver.
For over 40 years TGF has partnered with numerous public, private, and philanthropic organizations to collectively create over 100 miles of riverside trails, over 100 acres of riverside parks and natural areas, over 100,000 linear feet of water quality and recreational improvements with the River, and invest over $100 million in green improvements along the South Platte River and its tributaries in Metro Denver. This ongoing commitment to Denver’s greatest natural resource has resulted in over $10 billion of economic benefits to the areas adjacent to the River.
River Vision Master Plan:
There are big plans in store for the South Platte River in the next few years. Click here to see the plans for the future of the River.
Denver Parks & Recreation
Click here to visit the official DPR website & learn more about Denver's incredible park and trail systems.
Click here to check out a google map specifically made for Denver's river parks.
If you want to know the ins and outs of all of Denver's bike paths, the best way to do it is get a map and start exploring. See the Map (pdf)
Click here for information about many of the parks that sit adjacent to Denver's urban waterways. Find a park that fits your needs, and explore the countless open spaces Denver's river corridor provides.
A Trash Free South Platte River:
The Greenway Foundation has a long term plan to achieve a trash-free South Platte River called PURE (Protect our Urban River Environment). You can read more about what this plan looks like, how is being enacted, and how you can be involved here.
Ever wondered where the South Platte River goes after flowing through Denver? Check out the map below to see how the Platte's water finds its way to the Mississippi River and eventually the Gulf of Mexico. (Click here to view a larger version).
View South Platte River From Start to Finish in a larger map