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View from the trail looping back down from the Incline Challenge in Parker. The 28-mile East/West Regional Trail crosses the vicinity. Photo by Seth Boster, The Gazette

Residents of Denver's southern suburbs are celebrating the completion of a long-awaited trail connecting their neighborhoods.

More than 20 years in the making, the East/West Regional Trail has been completed.

Douglas County officials recently hosted a celebration near the Rueter-Hess Incline, a portal for the regional trail in Parker. A 4.7-mile stretch from that recreation hub to a trailhead by RidgeGate Parkway represented the filling of the final gap along the 28-mile East/West Trail.

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The path has been described as "the backbone" for a network of local trails, tying together Highlands Ranch, Castle Pines, Lone Tree, Littleton and Parker, as well as other commuters, runners and cyclists throughout the metro area. From Chatfield State Park to Parker, the East/West Trail skirts major urban corridors and the quieter countryside of grasslands and oak-covered bluffs.

The concept was conceived as far back as 1986, when neighbors proposed a path connecting their developing work and retail centers. Construction on the trail started in 2002.

The last 8 miles of the build-out were made possible by a $2 million grant from lottery-funded Great Outdoors Colorado.

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