Atkinson Canal Trail

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 3.1 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5758 - 5858 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 1 hr. 30 mins.
Trailhead: 27th Street or Midland Ave.
Fee: none
Attractions: Paved river trail




View Atkinson Canal Trail in a larger map

The Atkinson Canal trail is located along the Roaring Fork River in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The trail was built over an irrigation ditch that was constructed in 1884 to supply water to the area that is currently the site of the Glenwood Meadows shopping center. The canal fell out of use in the year 2000. The Atkinson Canal trail is connected to the Glenwood Springs River trail by the 27th Street Bridge and a short section of Grand Avenue.


This post begins at the north end of the trail on the west side of the 27th Street (Sunlight) Bridge. The only parking near this end of the trail is a small gravel area on the south side of 27th Street.


The entire trail is paved and wheelchair accessible. The section of the trail that parallels the river stays mostly flat. Both ends of the trail climb from the level of the river to that of the city streets and may require a little assistance.


An elevated bridge works conveys the trail around the rocky embankment beneath 27th Street.


From there the trail passes through private land where travel is restricted to the trail itself and no river access is available. Runners will enjoy the gravel jogging path beside the trail.


Most of the residences have their own set of stairs that give them private access to the trail and their property along the river.


The Old Cardiff Bridge comes up just under the 1 mile point of the trail.


A picnic area and swim beach are on public land near the south end of the trail.


There is a more official trailhead and parking area along Midland Avenue at the south end of the trail.


Tubers, kayakers and paddle boarders enjoy floating down the Roaring Fork River.


Wildflowers and berries border the entire length of the trail. These chokecherries happen to be on a private section of land although there were also some in other places. There really aren't enough to make jelly though.


Here you can see the small gravel parking area off of 27th Street. For those on bicycles you can park at the Two Rivers Park and ride the Glenwood Springs River Trail in conjunction with the Atkinson trail. That would add about 4 miles to the round trip distance. If that isn't enough for you then add the Glenwood Canyon trail to the north end and the Rio Grande trail to the south end and you will have about 60 miles of fun that will take you from near Dotsero to Aspen. However you choose to go about it the Atkinson Canal trail is a great addition to the Glenwood Springs trail system. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.