3 Things You Didn’t Know About Clear Creek

ccw-map-lgWhere does it start and where does it go?

Clear Creek is a creek that is a tributary the South Platte River and runs about 66 miles long! If you think that is a lot, it has a watershed of about 575 square miles.   It starts at the continental divide near Loveland pass in the front range of Clear Creek County and heads eastward through the multiple towns of Silver Plume.  The Clear Creek then continues through Golden and into the Denver Metropolitan area.  It then has a section that is ignored that forms a wooded park with a bicycle and hiking path.  This creek eventually ends up joining the South Platte outside of Thornton, Colorado.

Multiple Namesimages (15)

Clear Creek used to be called Cannonball Creek because of the rocks at the bed of the creek. This name was given by the French hunters of the Stephen H. Long expedition as far back as 1820.  The name changed again in the 1830s to the Vasquez Fork after Louis Vasquez (fur trader) set up his fort at the mouth of the creek.  Sometime around 1860, it got its current name from the gold rushers due to the clearness of the water and ability to see the gold at the bottom.

raft & zipUses

One of the Clear Creeks biggest uses was during the Colorado Gold Rush of 1959. It is located in the location for the most intense mining activity.  Clear Creek also served as a map for multiple things; it provided the route of the Colorado Central railroad, and later on, U.S Highway 6 and I-70, as they go up towards the Continental Divide. Due to its large watershed, Clear Creek has had many agricultural uses throughout the years as well as providing a source of water to many outlying areas.