Open Space & Trails

The Town of Erie maintains 1,143 acres of Open Space. Open space consists of protected lands of significant value that are conserved in their natural state, restored or improved with appropriate native landscaping to retain a natural or natural-appearing condition, or conserved in quality agriculture. 

 The benefits of open space include:

  • Separating or buffering communities to allow them to keep their individual identities
  • Enhancing community gateways
  • Conserving natural features and protecting lands of high ecological, scenic or cultural value
  • Providing visual separation between built areas
  • Providing places for types of outdoor recreation appropriate to the natural setting
  • Limiting development on lands that would adversely affect the community in some way
  • Providing places for local agriculture to continue
  • Preserving long distance views
  • Maintaining Erie's rural character and creating corridors for the safe and enjoyable movement of people and animals.

Erie's recreational trail system provides a community-wide off-road network that connects major destinations or activity centers and provides opportunities for trail loops with areas of interest along the route.

The trail system includes:

  • Spine Trails – these consist of a wide concrete trail with an attached crusher fines trail, and whenever possible, are the primary off-road connection between neighborhoods and major activities centers and regional trails.
  • Local Trails – these concrete trails within neighborhoods form secondary connections to residences, schools, businesses and the spine trail.
  • Primitive Trails – these stabilized crusher fines trails are usually within open space or rural areas where frequency of use is generally lower and a more natural experience is desired.

Printable and Interactive Trail Maps are available.

Special Use Open Space

Special-use open spaces are open space properties that support high-impact recreational opportunities such as mountain biking, disc golf, dog park, etc. These properties are not maintained or managed like traditional Town open space properties due to the nature of the usage. These properties require specialized management plans and cultural operations to balance the impacts of the high usage rates and the health of the surrounding natural resources.

  1. Boneyard Dog Park at Reliance Open Space
  2. Coal Creek Disc Golf Course
  3. Singletrack Trails at Sunset Open Space

Entrance gate with Boneyard at Reliance Park signage at Erie dog park.
Size: 7.75 Acres

Site Amenities:

  • Fenced in large dog, small dog, and training areas
  • Pet training features
  • Pet water fountain
  • Shelter complete with table
  • .5 miles of loop trails
  • Parking lot
  • Portable toilet
  • Benches, trash/recycling containers, pet waste dispensers 
  • Connects to Reliance Park
  • Connects to Coal Creek Regional Trail

Additional dog park information. 

The Town manages two reservoirs to preserve the resource and provide storage for the town’s water utility.  Both reservoirs offer year-round public access and a multitude of recreational opportunities including fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing, and more. Both reservoirs are drinking water reservoirs for the Town, as such there is no swimming or wading (pets or people) allowed.

The following activities, materials, and uses are also prohibited in either area:

  • Wading, swimming, or other bodily contact with the water
  • Boats or flotation devices of any type in or upon the water
  • Ice fishing
  • Use or possession of firearm, weapon or fireworks or other similar device/materials
  • Driving of motorized vehicles  in or around the reservoir area
  • Open fires
  • Horses and horse riding
  • Littering or dumping of trash/waste materials
  • Use of alcohol (without an approved permit)
  • Glass containers
Restricted activities and uses:
  • Dogs/cats are allowed on the premises, but must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet (6') at all times.  No other animals are allowed.
  • No dogs/cats may be allowed in the water at any time.
  • Pet waste must be appropriately removed from the area.


All fishing is regulated and stocked periodically by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The lake is stocked with trout, bass, bluegill, and crappie.

  1. Erie Lake
  2. Thomas Reservoir

Portable restroom at Erie Lake with blue sky in the background. Restroom is inside an enclosure.

Address: 3156 Highway 287 (North of Arapahoe Road on 287)

Size: 40 Acres

Site Amenities:

  • Fishing/ADA fishing access
  • .75 miles of multi-purpose crusher fine loop trail 
  • Parking lot
  • Portable toilet
  • Benches, trash/recycling containers, pet waste dispensers

Open Space Properties

The Town’s open space program maintains a variety of open space properties that offers a variety of passive and active recreational experiences. Each property has its own unique site characteristics and offers users varying amenities ranging from developed open spaces which have improved infrastructure such as pavilions, parking lots, docks, etc. to undeveloped open spaces that have little to no amenities. Town staff tailors and implements adaptive management strategies to meet the environmental stewardship and sustainability goals for each unique property.

  1. Coal Creek Open Space
  2. Highlands Open Space
  3. King/Johnson Open Space
  4. Linear Open Space
  5. Longs Peak Open Space
  6. Northridge open space
  7. Reliance Open Space
  8. Wise Woods

Trail signage for Coal Creek Open Space on wooden sign frame sitting on concrete sidewalk trail. Size: 364 Acres

Site Amenities:

  • 6 miles of multi-use trail system consisting of concrete and crusher for pedestrians, cyclists, and joggers.
  • Coal Creek Regional Trail runs throughout this open space and connects to City of Lafayette’s Coal Creek Trail system to the south 
  • Benches, trash/recycling containers, pet waste dispensers 
  • Connects to Coal Creek, Reliance, Serene, and Lehigh Parks
  • Connects to Boneyard Dog Park and Coal Creek Disc Golf Course

Agricultural Open Space

One of the goals of the Town’s open space program is to protect and preserve the agricultural heritage of Erie. The Town manages approximately 285 acres of agricultural lands on designated open spaces that are leased to qualified operators. These properties are not open to the public and have no site amenities.

  1. Allan Farms
  2. Schofield Farms/Streibe
  3. Wise Homestead Farms

Size: 79.5 Acres

Wooden and melt sign for Allan Farm Open Space property sitting in grass field on blue sky day.