Meadowlark> Plymouth Creek> Homesteader ( Twice)> Plymouth Mountain> Plymouth Creek> Back to Meadowlark
Starting Elevation: 6110 Ft
Highest Elevation: 7428 Ft ( Total Elevation gain of 1300+)
Trail Length: 8.6 miles of trails is what we did( My fitbit said 10 miles) and it took us 3:25 hours. But you have lots of options on where to loop it or go on.
Trail Uses: Some parts are hiker only but most is Hiker, Biker & Horses
Degree of Difficulty: It depends on how far you decide to go and the route you take, overall it is moderate.
Bathrooms: Only at the trailhead/parking lot and they are flush toilets. I am not positive but they felt heated yesterday although it was pretty cold outside.
Pets: Dogs allowed, I believe they are supposed to be leashed but they often are not.
This trail has been one of our go to hikes for a long time. It is close to Denver, has beautiful views when it isn’t snowing and gave us the opportunity to work on our stamina in the beginning. We haven’t been there for almost 3 months and at least 18lbs ago, since the weather was going to be bad this weekend it was the perfect time to come visit it again. It is a nice trail, not a lot of rocks and when it is wet outside, not as much mud as some other trails might get. Plus you can easily make it challenging by increasing your distance and/or taking different routes to keep you moving up and down constantly. My hiking Idol Wendy, once told me doing this one is a great way to train for more difficult trails because the first 1.6 miles has a steady 10 % grade. I would always struggle through this first part, get on Meadowlark Trail directly right of the open space sign which is hiker only, my only goal was to try to stop only once to catch my breath until we hit the first turnoff at 1.6 miles ( I think I only succeeded once).
As a side note, typically I am pretty excited to share our photos, on this hike not so much. It was just 30 degrees when we started and it was sleeting/ snowing, so we didn’t take our nice canon but our tough Olympus and stopping to take pictures was a cold wet endeavor. We kinda of held our breath and just pointed, clicked and moved on…. it didn’t work out all that well so I am sorry about the blurry pictures I had to use.
Anyway, after 3 months of constantly challenging ourselves with higher and harder trails this first part was now cake, we practically ran up. I didn’t have to stop once to catch my breath. We got to the first intersection of trails, in half the time it had taken us in the past. We met up with the Plymouth Creek trail and went right after the bridge, you can also go left and down if you want to just do a quick 2.7 mile hike. Plymouth trail is a multiuse trail and in spring/summer/fall there are a ton of bikers at this point. It goes up a steep rocky portion that makes for interesting people watching when bikers are trying to navigate up it….there are stairs for the rest of us…
We went up of course and at the next intersection about a half mile up, you can go left and take switchbacks up to the highest point on the Plymouth Mountain trail or stay straight and tough out the climb all at once, then switchbacks down. We stayed straight so that we could pick up the Homestead trail and get an additional 2 miles of distance. I don’t recommend this unless you are simply looking to get more mileage, its beautiful but normally crowded with runners and while it was empty this time we often would find ourselves stopping and dodging quite a bit. Yesterday though, again we practically jogged it ourselves. Quickly enough our 2 extra miles were knocked out and we got right to the trail where we left continuing onto to Plymouth Mountain.
This is a quick loop around the mountain at 1.7 miles and then back down the way we came. We always take the Meadowlark trail back mostly because it is hiker only and in the fall/summer/spring the bikers get pretty intense on the Plymouth Creek trail. I am so proud of us, after all we did this summer and ending with our first 13ner last week, to come back and do this trail so quickly and easily was a wonderful reward!
In general this trail is very exposed and HIGH HIGH, SUPER HIGH traffic. We would come here if we could get on the trail by 7:30AM or earlier, a few hours after that and the hike takes on a different attitude. Early in the morning it is veterans who know rules of hiking courteously, after about 11AM you get all kinds and the bikers are typically less nice/patient. I saw a girl hiking it in her bikini one time this summer….a bikini! People in street clothes sweating it out with one small bottle of water and a lady carrying her dog in her purse. And those are just the highlights…. Oh and there are snakes, in fact I saw my first one here, as well as they could be heard all along the trail.
It will always be a favorite of mine and I will always consider it for when company is in town, but now outside of bad weather days and pure distance challenges we will likely hardly ever visit it. After the directions I will put a few more pictures that we got which weren’t blurry but nothing special…
Directions: 13896 Grizzly Drive, Littleton CO 80127 From the metro area, travel south on C-470 to Kipling exit. Turn west, (right) on W. Ute Avenue, then west (right) on Deer Creek Canyon Road. Turn left on Grizzly Drive, then right into Deer Creek Canyon Park.