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History hikes in Golden: Hiking the Kinney Run Trail to the Cambria Lime Kiln

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Years ago, I heard there was an historic lime kiln on a bike path in Golden. It took some exploring, but I found it on the Kinney Run Trail between a neighborhood and the Fossil Trace golf course.

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Most of the directions for the Kinney Run Trail say the trail starts at Heritage Square (directions below). Cross a bridge and you'll immediately see a trail split. The trail to the left goes to Apex Park, but continue walking north to stay on the Kinney Road Trail. You'll pass a picnic table, a trash can and a sign that explains some of the history of the area.

The Kinney Run Trail is a wide, paved bike path, so watch out for fast-moving cyclists. A short distance into the hike, you'll find yourself climbing a small hill. After this, it's downhill to the kiln, so you'll have some elevation gain on the way back. After cresting the hill, you may notice a small garden and a bench on the right side of the trail. A plaque explains that this small garden is a Columbine High School Memorial Garden in honor of the tragic shooting in 1999.

Continue walking on the main path, crossing a street to Heritage Dells Park. The city of Golden's website says, "In 1987, this foothills park was built to serve the Heritage Dells Subdivision. Currently, it is located at the midpoint of the Kinney Run Trail, and makes for a great resting place along this regional trail." The park has a basketball court, playground, restroom and drinking fountain. I was especially impressed with the view as we crested the hill and dropped into the park.

About 0.4 miles from the trailhead, in the park, the paved path splits. Continue on the right trail, the downhill trail, as it winds through the park and to another trail split below the park. At the next trail split, there is a covered bench and once again, I had to decide which way to go without a sign. Because the path to the right appeared to go uphill to another neighborhood, I turned left. Left was correct.

Follow the trail downhill to a bridge, then a place where it appears the trail just ends in a neighborhood. Descriptions of the Kinney Run Trail says it's 0.75 miles. At this point I had walked 0.71 miles, according to my GPS. However, I had not found the kiln. But I did find a sign that said, "To continue on the Kinney Run Trail, go uphill on Tripp Drive to Crawford Street, turn right on Crawford Street, go North on Crawford Street to Tripp Road, turn right on Tripp Road, bear to the left and continue on the Kinney Run Trail." It sounds confusing, but it's not bad and it's a short distance of walking through the neighborhood to get back on the trail.

I stayed on the Kinney Run Trail another 0.6 miles from where I thought the "end" was and suddenly I spotted the kiln. It's a brick structure right next to the bike path on the east side.

Photos on the internet show there were signs here explaining the history of the kilns, but the signs were gone when I visited in June 2014. According to the internet photo, the signs said the kiln is the only known surviving made-made industrial component of any of Golden's brick-making operations and may be the only historical industrial kiln remaining in Jefferson County.

The Cambria Brick and Tile Company operated in Golden from 1879 to the mid 1890s. The company built this kiln using native sandstone and not brick, which was rather unusual, the sign said. Raw lime was fired in the kiln, heated to a high temperature, and transformed into bricks and other forms that could be used to build homes, smelters, pottery and tile products.

Look around the structure and imagine what it was like being here in the late 1800s when kilns were operating. It was probably loud in the area and it was probably too hot to sit very close to this structure.

When you're done exploring, it's time for the hike back. The city calls it "taxing" because of the uphill climb back to the parking lot.

Details: The hike from the Heritage Square parking lot to the kiln and back is 2.6 miles with about 250 feet of elevation gain on the way back.

Find more hikes in this list of 200+ hikes across the state. Don't miss any of my trip reports, sign up for an email alert by clicking on subscribe at the top of this page and follow me on Facebook.

Directions: Take I-70 West to Exit 259 (Morrison), take a right off the exit bearing North, proceed for ½ mile until you see a sign for Heritage Square on your left. Enter the parking lot and go to the northeast corner to find the trail.

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