HomeOutdoor177-Mile 'Denver Orbital Path' Affords Metropolis-Accessible Via-Hike

177-Mile ‘Denver Orbital Path’ Affords Metropolis-Accessible Via-Hike

Via-hikes, part hikes, FKTs, and different trail-centric mile-stacking aims are all the trend proper now. The Appalachian, Continental Divide, Pacific Crest, and comparable trails are seeing higher use than ever by hikers making an attempt to finish them — multi functional go or in sections. The Appalachian Path alone sees 3,000 tried thru-hikers yearly. In 2023, 1,201 efficiently accomplished it.

However thru- or part climbing any a type of long-distance trails takes a very long time and a hefty funding — each time and bills current a barrier that stops many individuals who could be from even making an attempt it.

Nevertheless it doesn’t need to be that approach, as Michael Tormey, 26, proved when he mapped and set out on his personal part hike: The “Denver Orbital Path” (DOT).

“Denver is basically blessed with a high-quality path community that’s totally built-in into the metro area itself. So that you don’t need to drive into the mountains. You don’t need to courageous I-70 site visitors,” Tormey informed GearJunkie. “Now we have these actually unimaginable trails, parks, open areas, and greenways simply ready so that you can uncover proper right here within the metro area.”

Denver orbital Trail thru or section hike
(Photograph/Michael Tormey)

The Denver Orbital Path is 177 miles lengthy. Tormey divided it into 28 sections, every designed to be approachable and accessible sections that nearly anybody may full as a day hike. It weaves throughout the foothills, previous Crimson Rocks, skirts Highland’s Ranch, and even forges by Commerce Metropolis.

The thought, as he described it, is to make thru- and part climbing extra accessible. Conceptually, you might hike a piece of the DOT daily to finish a thru-hike in 28 days (or much less). Or you might part hike it at your leisure, ticking off Tormey’s path segments over months and even years.

“That is an epic journey — an epic alternative — to find every thing that this metro area has to supply,” Tormey mentioned. “Each phase is totally different and has one thing to like.”

Denver Orbital Path: 28 Segments, 177 Miles


Tormey moved to Colorado final yr from the U.Okay. Whereas he typically talks like a spokesperson for the Metropolis of Denver or Colorado State Parks, he’s adamant that he’s new to the town and the DOT just isn’t related to any official initiative. It’s his personal ardour undertaking, and he’s on a mission to share it with others.

“Whereas I used to be within the U.Okay., I picked up this unimaginable tradition of strolling, particularly city strolling on public footpaths, and stringing collectively actually fascinating strolling routes,” Tormey mentioned. He describes himself as an “avid walker,” having accomplished a number of long-distance trails, together with Hadrian’s Wall in England.

When he moved to Denver, he realized the town and its satellite tv for pc municipalities had an enormous and well-maintained community of trails and paths. He began familiarizing himself with the map and realized that you might put collectively a full circumnavigation of Denver.

Denver orbital Trail thru or section hikeDenver orbital Trail thru or section hike
(Photograph/Michael Tormey)

“I began fascinated by all these totally different path efforts,” he mentioned, referencing orbital trails that exist round London, Manchester, and York. “I used to be actually fairly impressed with Denver’s present path community, and it began changing into clear to me that this was one thing that would exist … So, I mapped it, after which I set myself a objective of strolling all of it.”

From July to mid-October 2023, Tormey labored his approach across the metropolis. As a newcomer to Denver, he mentioned it was a good way to discover an unfamiliar place. Often, he would do a couple of part at a time when he ventured out. The paths are so walkable it wasn’t laborious to string just a few sections collectively.

Unsurprisingly, Tormey at the moment holds the Quickest Identified Time (FKT) for the DOT: “A bit over three months,” he mentioned with satisfaction.

Planning Your DOT: An Accessible Via- or Part Hike

Denver orbital Trail thru or section hikeDenver orbital Trail thru or section hike
(Photograph/Michael Tormey)

Tormey has the route and all of the sections mapped with AllTrails on the Denver Orbital Path web site. He additionally included a printable PDF and numerous info on transportation choices. A lot of the trailheads are accessible by way of public transportation like RTD, he famous.

On the DOT web site, Tormey has descriptions for the totally different sections. He’s grouped them into 4 blocks: Downtown Golden to Douglas County Open House, Highlands Level to Sand Creek Path, Highland Canal to Huge Dry Creek, and Standley Lake to Downtown Golden. The DOT navigates quite a few municipalities and even crosses county traces because it circles the town.

As a result of the DOT segments can all be accomplished simply inside a day, you don’t want backpacking or in a single day gear. Although the web site notes that it’s best to carry water, snacks, layers, and sunscreen.

Primarily based on elevation achieve and distance, greater than three-quarters of the segments are rated straightforward and reasonable on the climbing issue scale utilized by the Nationwide Park Service.

Can You Camp Alongside the DOT?

Denver orbital Trail thru or section hikeDenver orbital Trail thru or section hike
(Photograph/Michael Tormey)

There are some tenting areas not removed from the paths the DOT makes use of — particularly nearer to Golden and Morrison. Hikers must be cautious tenting outdoors of designated websites, although. Not solely is it harmful in some components of Denver, however it’s also unlawful inside the metropolis correct, in addition to in most of the municipalities that the DOT traverses. You could possibly get fined or ticketed.

The fantastic thing about the DOT is its accessibility, Tormey mentioned. The path segments are so brief, so near the town, and reachable by way of public transportation, it is a thru- or part hike you might do and nonetheless sleep in your mattress each night time.

Orbit the Metropolis: Hike the DOT

Michael Tormey on the Denver Orbital Path

The paths the DOT follows are all owned, maintained, and overseen by varied organizations (private and non-private). They’re solely answerable for the path circumstances. This was some extent Tormey was positive to emphasise.

“I need to categorical an enormous quantity of gratitude and in addition, push duty in a approach onto the prevailing path house owners, within the sense that I’m only a man who drew a line on a map,” he mentioned. “I don’t personal any trails. It’s on them, the path situation and issues like that.”

He needed to offer credit score the place credit score was due — and in addition the place it protected him from legal responsibility.

That mentioned, the organizations, municipalities, and counties that keep these trails do a typically good job of it. Tormey mentioned many of the trails are dry, clear, and walkable year-round.

To obtain a printable PDF of the path or try Tormey’s AllTails map, go to the Denver Orbital Path web site.

And for those who reside in an space with intensive path networks, it could be attainable to do one thing comparable in your metropolis. So, pull up a map and see for your self. You could possibly set up an Orbital Path of your individual — simply as Tormey has finished in Denver.