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The Best Ways to See the Levee Murals and the Riverwalk Along the Arkansas River in Pueblo, Colorado

Cleo is a native Coloradoan who explores the state's many wonders.

This article describes how to get to the Pueblo Mural Levee Project in Pueblo, Colorado.

This article describes how to get to the Pueblo Mural Levee Project in Pueblo, Colorado.

Art Meets the Outdoors in Pueblo

The city of Pueblo, Colorado on the eastern plains is far from its heyday as a steel town, but it offers a pleasant day’s outing for art and outdoors enthusiasts who want to explore the city’s murals and its riverwalk.

Sunflower Mural on the Levee

This sunflower mural adds a touch of summer to the Pueblo Levee Mural Project.

This sunflower mural adds a touch of summer to the Pueblo Levee Mural Project.

The Arkansas River and Pueblo

The Arkansas River begins high in the Rockies near Leadville, Colorado, winding down through the Royal Gorge and then spilling onto the eastern plains of Colorado where it widens and flattens. It flows through the center of the city of Pueblo, Colorado, and then continues on through Kansas,Oklahoma and Arkansas until it meets the Mississippi River.

Back in 1921, the river flooded and swept through downtown Pueblo killing hundreds of people and leaving destruction that spread for 300 square miles. The citizens understandably wanted to keep the devastation from happening again, so they got to work moving the river channel and building a levee that was about 3 miles long to help contain the river.

Bike Race Mural on the Levee

Bike riding is tremendously popular in Colorado, and this mural along the Pueblo Levee Mural Project pictures the Annual Pueblo Classic Bike Race.

Bike riding is tremendously popular in Colorado, and this mural along the Pueblo Levee Mural Project pictures the Annual Pueblo Classic Bike Race.

History of the Pueblo Mural Levee Project

Fast-forward to the 1970s when some college students sneaked out at night to paint a picture that was called “Fish in a Bathtub” near the Fourth Street Bridge. Before, the concrete walls had been a magnet for graffiti, and it turned out that people preferred the idea of somebody painting something pretty along the levee. The city started asking people to come and paint more murals, and over the next 20 years lots of people did.

In fact, by 1995, the 3-mile-long artwork of the Pueblo Levee Murals was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest continuous mural in the world. Alas, levees don’t last forever, and the concrete needed to be taken out and replaced, starting in 2016. Unfortunately, there was no way to save the artwork, and the concrete on which the murals were painted was ground up to form the gravel drive that is now on top of the levee.

By 2020, the levee rebuilding was complete, and its walls were once again a blank slate. And, the artists are starting to come back to paint more murals. As of press time in April 2022, the Pueblo Conservancy District reports that there are now just over 47 new murals that have been added in the past year and there are another 20 murals in the works. Most of them are concentrated near The Fourth Street Bridge. The city hopes to make a run for the world record once again, and future visitors can look forward to one day seeing a full 3 miles of murals.


Fish Mural on the Levee

Colorado is known for its fishing, and this mural on the Pueblo Levee Mural Project features the sport.

Colorado is known for its fishing, and this mural on the Pueblo Levee Mural Project features the sport.

How to See the Murals If You’re Planning to Walk to Them

If you are new to the city, it’s tricky to figure out how to get down to the concrete trail that runs by the levee in order to see the murals, and that is the reason I wrote this article. No one else on the Internet seemed to explain the best way to get there.

If you want to walk down to see the murals, the closest place to get to them is just west of the Fourth Street Bridge where West Fourth Street crosses the Arkansas River. Off of Fourth Street, you can turn south onto Chapa Place (Rocco’s Riverside Deli is on the southwest corner of this intersection). Continue down around the back of the Chinese restaurant, Tea Palace II (address 1212 W. fourth Street, Pueblo Colorado 81004) and you will see a dirt road that leads down to levee. You will see a concrete path near the river. That is the Pueblo River Trail. Walk north for a few hundred feet along the trail under the bridge and you will see the start of the murals.

Unicorn Mural on the Levee

This unicorn mural on the Pueblo Levee Mural Project is reflected in the waters of the Arkansas River in Colorado.

This unicorn mural on the Pueblo Levee Mural Project is reflected in the waters of the Arkansas River in Colorado.

How to See the Murals If You’re Planning to Bike or Ride a Scooter

About 40 years ago, Colorado started a lottery and decided to dedicate most of the money earned to Colorado’s outdoors. As a result, the state has an amazingly well-kept and extensive bike trail system, including the one that runs parallel to the Arkansas River in Pueblo.

The best place to park to access the trail is a small parking lot just to the west of the Main Street Bridge. Turn south on the first road west of the bridge, and you’ll find a little parking area with a small park and some benches. Parking is free. You will see a path that you can take down to the Pueblo River Trail.

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If you head north about a mile and a half, you will get to Fourth Street and will be able to see the murals. Along this trail, you can also get to the Wildhorse Levee Loop, the Kayak Park Levee Loop, a nature center, Lake Pueblo, and Colorado State University-Pueblo.

Rental scooters have made an appearance in the city, and you should be able to find some along the trail if you want to use them to explore. You can also kayak along the river, and there are several amenities for that purpose.

View of the Pueblo Mural Levee Project from High Ground

Here is a photo taken from the parking lot of Dutch Clark Stadium which shows several of the murals in one shot.

Here is a photo taken from the parking lot of Dutch Clark Stadium which shows several of the murals in one shot.

How to See the Murals from Above

To see the murals from a high vantage point, you can drive to Dutch Clark Stadium at 1001 W. Abriendo Avenue, Pueblo, CO 81004. If there’s no event going on, you can pull to the east end of the parking lot and park for free. Then you can walk to the edge of the hill and see the murals on the levee down below. I would suggest taking binoculars with you because some of the murals are pretty far away from there, but you can get a good sense of how far they stretch.

The Pueblo Riverwalk

Pear trees in bloom  in April along the Pueblo Riverwalk.

Pear trees in bloom in April along the Pueblo Riverwalk.

The Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo

This former steel town has done a lovely job with creating a spacious and well-kept riverwalk along the mile-long channel which runs through the center of town along the Arkansas River.

You can take a look at the map of the Riverwalk to see all the amenities including restaurants, shops, parks, artwork, restaurants, and parking.

There is abundant parking, most of it free, and a good place to start is the Main Street Garage at 110 S. Main Street, Pueblo Colorado 81003. It provides good access to the Riverwalk as well as the shops downtown, and at press time, the parking was free there.

During the summer, you can also take a narrated boat tour or tour around yourself on pedal boats. Do note that the sidewalks are meant for pedestrians, so you will need to leave your bicycles and skateboards at home on the Riverwalk.

Pueblo can be hot, near 90 or 100° in the summer time, and the best times to visit would be in the evenings. Late spring or fall also have nice temperatures for enjoying the Riverwalk during the daytime.

You can find out more information from the Pueblo Riverwalk official site.


Sculpture on the Riverwalk

This beautiful sculpture of a Native American woman graces the Pueblo Riverwalk in the Gateway Park area

This beautiful sculpture of a Native American woman graces the Pueblo Riverwalk in the Gateway Park area

Art and Structures Along the Riverwalk

Pueblo has really invested in art, and this area boasts 54 pieces of art along the paved walkways. Some highlights are the Zebulon Pike area which celebrates the explorer who gave Pike’s Peak its name, and the sculptures in the Goodnight-Loving Trail Display, which has several sculptures depicting the historic cattle drives from Fort Worth Texas to Denver Colorado.

Homage to veterans is a theme, and you can walk the Veterans Bridge which includes 7,000 names of men and women who have served our country along with the names of Pueblo’s four Medal of Honor winners and seals from each of the five military branches.


© 2022 Cleo Lodorre

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