Grizzly Creek Trail Trailhead: Grizzly Creek Rest Area (Glenwood Canyon) Activities: Hiking Closest Towns: Glenwood Springs, Colorado Driving Directions to Trailhead: From I-70 in Glenwood Canyon take Exit 121. The parking area for Grizzly Creek trail is on the north side of the Interstate. Look for a short road that will take you to the upper lot. The parking area can be busy in the summer due to river access and users. Hiking Distance: ~ 6.8 miles (roundtrip) Description: The Grizzly Creek Trail is an out and back hike that generally follows the meandering Grizzly Creek. The canyon is one of the largest side canyons in Glenwood Canyon. This is a great hike for families and young children because the grade is relatively gentle (at least for the first couple miles). Begin hiking from the small kiosk located adjacent to the upper/northern parking lot. You will quickly leave the hustle and bustle of I-70 behind you as you pass two picnic tables within the first half-mile of the hike. The picnic areas offer perfect resting spots to enjoy the tranquility of Grizzly Creek. At approximately 2 miles into the hike, you’ll hit the first steep portion of the trail. This can be a great […]
Trailhead: Mount Sanitas Trailhead (Boulder) Activities: Hiking, Bouldering Closest City / Town: Boulder, Colorado Driving Directions: Get onto Broadway and then head west on Mapleton. The Mount Sanitas Trailhead is located just west of Boulder Valley Hospital on the north (right) side of Mapleton. Hiking Distance: 3.3 miles (loop) Description: This is an enjoyable trail located near the heart of the City of Boulder. Begin your hike by heading up the Mount Sanitas Trail towards the ridgeline to the north. Eventually, the trail will wrap around on the East Ridge Trail, head towards the east, and descend back south via the Mount Sanitas Valley Trail. This is a great hike to do during a weekday. The trail swells on the weekends and evenings; we recommend avoiding a hike during those times. Worth Noting: The bouldering along the trail is exceptional. There are numerous areas to jump on the beautiful sandstone. Suggested Materials: The following books all contain relevant information on this trail… Bob Horan, Best of Boulder Bouldering, pp. 7-14. Steve Johnson & David Weinstein, Best Loop Hikes Colorado, pp. 63-64.
Royal Arch Trailhead: Chautauqua Trailhead (Bluebell Mesa Trail) Activities: Hiking Closest City / Town: Boulder, Colorado Driving Directions: Take the Baseline exit off of Highway 36. Head west on Baseline (go past Broadway and continue up the hill). Continue on Baseline to the Chautauqua Trailhead (which is located on the left). You really can’t miss it!!! Hiking Distance: 3.0 miles (roundtrip) Description: This is a great jaunt anytime of the year. The hike commences at the ranger station in Chautauqua Park and follows the southward-trending Bluebell Road that is closed off to vehicle access. From there, it is just a matter of paying attention to Boulder City Open Space signs. You will gain approximately 1,100 feet of elevation along this switchbacking hike up to the Royal Arch. Worth Noting: Although you can make this hike year-round, ice on the trail during the winter can make the journey a little dicey. Bring some Yak Trax and you should be okay!
Trailhead: NCAR Trailhead (National Center for Atmospheric Research) Activities: Hiking, Birding Closest City / Town: Boulder, Colorado Driving Directions: From US-36, take the Table Mesa Drive exit and head west (left at the first traffic light). Continue on Table Mesa Drive as it climbs up the side of the Rocky Mountain foothills. Table Mesa Drive will eventually dead end into the NCAR parking lot. Distance: 2.2 miles (roundtrip) Description: Like most of the hikes in the immediate Boulder area, hikers can make the trip up to Mallory Cave just about anytime during the year. The hike takes anywhere from 2 to 3 hours, and you’ll gain approximately 1,000′ in elevation. Start out from NCAR on the Walter Orr Roberts Interpretive Trail. The trail will eventually rollercoaster down towards the Mesa Trail. After approximately .5 miles, take a left onto the Mesa Trail. Next, take an immediate right (west) onto the Mallory Cave Trail, which is clearly marked by City of Boulder Open Space signs. Follow this trail all of the way up to the Mallory Cave. We recommend this hike for people of all abilities. However, there is one moderately difficult section in where hikers must be able to scale […]
Trailhead: Pawnee Road Trailhead Activities: Hiking Closest City / Town: Manitou Springs, Colorado Driving Directions: From Colorado Springs, head west down Highway 24. Get off at the Manitou Avenue exit and head left (westerly direction). Continue on Manitou Avenue through the City of Manitou Springs. Approximately halfway through Manitou Springs, take a left (south) on Pawnee Avenue. Continue up Pawnee, which is a very steep paved road, until it turns into a gravel road. There is a small parking area on the right next to a large drainage. This is the trailhead parking lot. Hiking Distance: approximately 2.5 miles (roundtrip) Description: The trail begins by heading out west along the Paul Intemann Trail. Approximately 0.5 miles from the trailhead, you’ll see a sign for the Red Mountain spur trail. Take a left at the junction, and head up to the the top of Red Mountain. It is 0.75 miles, all uphill, to the top. The trail ends at a false summit. There is an old building foundation at the top. Word has it that the area was actually used as a gentleman’s club many years ago. One other note, the Intemann Trail Committee constructed the entire trail. Worth Noting: The views […]
Trailhead: South Turkey Creek Road & Highway 285 Activities: Hiking, Mountain Biking, Sledding, Snowshoeing Closest City / Town(s): Aspen Park & Conifer, Colorado Driving Directions: From Denver, head west into the mountains on Highway 285 for approximately 16 miles. Jump off on the exit that is located 0.5 miles before reaching Aspen Park (the exit is on the right-hand side of the highway). Go beneath the overpass and park in the parking lot immediately in front of you (The lot is actually off of the beginning of South Turkey Creek Road). Hiking Distance: There are a number of different loops that you can hike throughout the park. The route described on this page is approximately 5.0 miles roundtrip. Description: Meyer Ranch Park is one of Jefferson County Open Space’s crown jewels. Hiking in the area offers great wildlife viewing potential and a sense of solitude. There is a nice picnic area located 0.5 miles away from the main parking area. Just follow the Owl’s Perch Trail up to the picnic facilities. Also, the area provides wonderful sledding possibilities during the winter months, all within eyesight of the parking area. As for the best hiking opportunity in the park, take the Owl’s […]
Reynolds Park Trailhead: Northwest Trailhead (the first trailhead that you come to while traveling down Foxton Road) Activities: Hiking, Camping, Mountain Biking Closest City / Town: Conifer, Colorado Driving Directions: Take U.S. Highway 285 south out of Denver. Take a left (south) on Foxton Road. Drive 5.5 miles down Foxton Road; park in the parking lot on your right (south). Hiking Distance: 4.0 miles (roundtrip) Description: Reynolds Park is one of our favorite hiking destinations because of its close proximity to Denver and its little known, little hiked, and well maintained trails. Camping is available during the summer at the small Idylease Campground, however, advance reservations are required. As a side note, Jefferson County Open Space supplies paper maps at each of its major trailheads — be sure to grab a map before you begin your trek. From the trailhead, head west towards the restroom facility. Continue beyond the restroom to the Raven’s Roost Trail. Raven’s Roost is .9 miles long, all uphill. However, the hike is relatively gentle. Next, you will come to a junction with the Eagle’s View Trail. Hang a right on the Eagle’s View Trail, following it for one mile to the top of the ridge. Once […]
Hummingbird Loop Trailhead: Northwest Trailhead (the first trailhead that you come to while traveling down Foxton Road is the best access for the Reynolds Park – Hummingbird Loop) Activities: Hiking, Camping, Mountain Biking Closest City / Town: Conifer, Colorado Driving Directions: Take U.S. Highway 285 south out of Denver. Take a left (south) on Foxton Road. Drive 5.5 miles down Foxton Road; park in the parking lot on your right (south). Hiking Distance: 2.0 miles (roundtrip) Description: Reynolds Park is one of our favorite hiking destinations because of its close proximity to Denver and its little known, little hiked, and well maintained trails. Josh, one of the website authors, used to work for Jeffco Open Space; that’s how he became so familiar with Jeffco Parks. Camping is available during the summer at the small Idylease Campground, however, advance reservations are required. As a side note, Jefferson County Open Space supplies paper maps at each of its major trailheads — be sure to grab a map before you begin your trek. From the trailhead, cross the small creek to the west, jump onto the Songbird Trail, and hike to the southeast. Follow the Songbird Trail for .5 miles, until you eventually reach […]
Trailhead: Mount Vernon Trailhead at Matthews Winters Park Activities: Hiking, Mountain Biking, Bouldering Closest City / Town: Morrison, Colorado (Denver) Driving Directions: Take I-70 to the Morrison Exit (Exit 259); Get off on the Morrison Exit, and then hang a left and head south (if you’re coming from Denver); Go south on Colorado Highway 26 approximately 0.1 mile and turn at the park entrance. There is a large parking lot near the entrance, but plan to arrive early – especially on weekends. The parking lot tends to fill up in a hurry. Hiking Distance: 4.8 Miles (roundtrip) Description: From the parking lot, head south towards the restroom for .3 miles. Cross Mt. Vernon Creek and take a right, continuing for another .3 miles. Keep an eye out to your right for an early homesteading cemetery with tombstones dating back to the mid-1800s. Take a right at the second trail junction, following the Red Rocks Trail for another .8 miles. This portion of the trail rollercoasters through a series of perennial creek drainages. At the third trail junction, hang a right on the Morrison Slide Trail. Continue on the Morrison Slide, first climbing and then descending, for another 1.2 miles. At the […]
Trailhead: Golden Gate Canyon Road Trailhead at Mount Galbraith Activities: Hiking Closest City / Town: Golden, Colorado Driving Directions: From Golden, drive north on State Highway 93. Take Golden Gate Canyon Road west approximately 1.5 miles to the parking area and trailhead. The parking area is located on the left (south) side of the road. Hiking Distance: 4.2 miles roundtrip Description: The main trailhead for Mount Galbraith Park, a Jefferson County Open Space icon, is located at 6,200′ in elevation. The hike tops out at 7,200′, so expect to gain 1,000′ in elevation along this trek. There is only one trail – Cedar Gulch Trail – that heads out of the Golden Gate Canyon Road Trailhead. Follow Cedar Gulch Trail 1.3 miles until you reach an obvious trail junction. The Cedar Gulch Trail offers great views of North Table Mountain, South Table Mountain, Golden, Coors Brewing Factory, and Denver. When you reach the trail junction, avoid the Nightbird Gulch Trail by taking the Mount Galbraith Loop Trail. This loop around the summit of Mount Galbraith is 1.6 miles. The southern portion of the loop is very exposed to the sun; be sure to bring adequate sun protection (sunscreen, hat, etc.). On […]
Trailhead: Heritage Square Parking Lot Activities: Hiking, Mountain Biking Closest City / Town: Golden, Colorado (Denver) Driving Directions: Take I-70 to the Morrison Exit (Exit 259); Get off on the Morrison Exit, and then hang a right (north); East access is on the northeast corner of the Heritage Square parking lot; The trailhead is well signed. Hiking Distance: 5.6 Miles (roundtrip) Description: The Enchanted Forest Loop in Jefferson County’s Apex Park is probably the least used route in the open space – especially during the winter months. This route closely parallels the old Apex and Gregory Wagon Road. The route is relatively gentle. From the Heritage Square Trailhead, hike 2.5 miles up the Apex Trail. This trail is well delineated and should not be difficult to follow. Once you reach the top (west end) of Apex Park, hang a left (heading south) on the Enchanted Mesa Trail. Follow the Enchanted Mesa Trail for 1.3 miles; you’ll eventually run back into the Apex Trail. Hang a right (east) on the Apex Trail, following it back down to the parking lot. Worth Noting: Apex Park is full to the brim with historical value. The Apex and Gregory Wagon Road was carved through Apex Gulch […]
Trailhead: West Parking Lot Trailhead (this will be the second trailhead that you get to) Activities: Hiking, Mountain Biking Closest City / Town: Evergreen, Colorado Driving Directions: Travel south of Evergreen on Highway 73. Turn west (right) on Buffalo Park Road, approximately 1 mile to the east parking lot. A second parking lot is located another 1/2 mile along Buffalo Park Road on the right-hand side of the road. Motorized vehicles are confined to the parking areas and roadways. We recommend parking at the west parking lot, which contains better restrooms and more parking than the east lot. Hiking Distance: 2.9 miles (roundtrip) Description: Alderfer/Three Sisters Open Space Park has hiking (and biking) options for just about anyone. The various trails rollercoaster, and rarely will you find yourself on a prolonged incline or downhill. The park contains 770 acres of open space. Ever since Evergreen was settled, the four rock formations called “The Three Sisters” and “The Brother” have been landmarks, providing spectacular views of the Bear Creek Basin and beyond. Over 10 miles of trail lead you around the Three Sisters and up to The Brother and connect to Evergreen Recreation District property. Our favorite adventure begins at the west parking lot. Jefferson County Open Space […]