Tag Archives: Jefferson County Open Space

North Fork Trail- Reynolds Park Jefferson County open space, Pine CO Hiked 1/18/15, 3/21 & 3/28/15

26 Jul

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Starting Elevation: Approx. 7200 ft

Highest Elevation: Approx. 8000 ft. You can get as much descent and gain you want just go further.  Our last hike we climbed a total of 2300 ft, most of that heading back to the trailhead.

Trail Length: 9.3 miles one way – Each time we did different lengths but went as far as 6.5 miles one way the last time, for a total of 13 miles hiked.

Trail Uses: Hiker, biker, Equestrian and if the snow ever stayed maybe on a snowy day – snowshoe

Degree of Difficulty: Moderate

Bathroom: Yes in the parking lot

Pets:  Supposed to be on leash but I have noticed that many dog owners ignore this rule

Fees: None

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Humming Bird > North Fork Trail

It is an exciting moment in Colorado when  new open space opens or expands…. North fork trail is one such revelation that opened/expanded on 10/14/14.  I am not sure, but I think the ultimate goal is have it connect to the Colorado trail.  It goes over 10 miles one way through lots of privately owned land and through a burn scar.  I had read about it and thought it would be cool to check out as much as I could.  To be honest, I was also sick of repeaters which I had been hitting A LOT lately.

Looking down the first incline

Looking down the first incline

The hike we did actually starts across the street from the parking lot.  I think you can pick it up North Fork Trail other ways through the park but this is the way we went each time.  Hummingbird Trail is a steep climb and really the hardest part we experienced for the whole hike, other than that just the overall distance. Plus this initial part is totally exposed and so HOT in the spring, summer & fall so go early.

working our way around

After this initial climb, you come back behind the mountain and get some shade, which depending on the time of year could also mean snow/ice.mud.  But on the hikes in March it was a welcome relief from the sun. Hummingbird Trail is 1.3 miles and then you pick up North Fork Trail.

From this point there are lots of ups and downs, we went through a burn scar and just kept moving south and east.

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It was hard to turn around at 6.5 miles the last time because around each curve was more beauty I wanted to see but I could tell the harder part is the return trip, as we went down a lot more then we went up.  If you find yourself on this trail remember that, you climb more returning than you do on the way out.

Our First visit in January we essentially had it all to ourselves, the second and third visits in March were MUCH busier.  Mostly with bikers after the first 3 miles in.  Which I can totally understand why given the excellent distance and beauty it offers. I am categorizing this one as a mostly cool season hike, because of crowds and how exposed some of it is.

Fav 2 flat for a minute North fork trail

At the times We hiked this, I wasn’t sure I would keep blogging so I didn’t take that many trail identifying pictures. I can tell you it was beautifully planned and the path itself is very nice to walk, AKA not a ton of obstacles like roots and rocks. After the initial climb all the ups and downs are very manageable so don’t scared off from the Humming bird trail.

The parking lot for the open space is huge, which makes me think the park was pretty popular before this addition and only expect it to get more popular.  Also what is exposed… is really exposed so go early or late but remember that along with hours that the park is open which is an hour before sunrise to an hour after sunset.

The “new” trail is really super beautiful, I loved all the challenges it provided and the terrain was different enough to be extra memorable as it changes all through out.  Going from the beginning, through a burn scar and then all these beautiful rock formations it is worth you time.

After the directions are the few pictures that I thought were really great between the 3 hikes.

Directions:

13581 South Foxton Road, Aspen Park External Link Icon
From U.S. Highway 285, drive south 5 miles to the parking area on the south side of Foxton Road.

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Matthews/Winters Park, Lakeview CO Hiked 5/17/14

23 May

best view

Zorro Trail> Dakota Ridge Trail> Village Walk>Red Rocks Trail> Morrison Slide> Red Rocks Trail> Dakota Ridge> Zorro Trail

Starting elevation: 6055 ft

Highest Elevation: 6800ft ( total Elevation gain was around 1600 ft)

Trail Length: Approximately 9 miles, it took us 4 hours to do the whole hike

Trail Uses: Some sections are hiking & horses only, most are hiker, biker & horses

Degree of Difficulty:  Moderate-mostly because of length

Fees:  None

Bathrooms:  At the parking lot of both Green Mountain and Matthews/Winters Park parking lots

Pets:  Yes – On Leash

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At 5PM on Friday I found our hike for the weekend, it didn’t give me the climbing I wanted for the but it did give us some good mileage plus we had never done this one, extra bonus.  I had wanted to do this one for over a year, but I had written across the map “lots of snakes only hike in winter”  and yet this winter we were obsessed with snowshoeing and completely forgot about this one.

Saturday was strangely humid for Denver so when we pulled up to the trailhead we were cold but determined to not overdress this time.  We actually parked in the lot for Green Mountain (hike details)in Lakewood because that was the best place to start for the loop hike we wanted to attempt.

Starting out

Starting out looking towards the trailhead

The trailhead across Rooney Road

The trailhead across Rooney Road

Zorro is a nice easy climb up about 500 ft over the course of almost of a mile to the Dakota Ridge Trail.  The bad part of this section is all the noise from 470 on this side and then when we got over the ridge, I70 noise was also super loud.

One of the views as we approached the top of Zorro

One of the views as we approached the top of Zorro

Some rocky steps close to the top of Zorro.

Some rocky steps close to the top of Zorro.

As we were on this side of the mountain or hogback, there were clouds all over the front range and they were low.  Green mountain just across the road was covered in clouds, when we got to the top it was all blue skies over Red Rocks.

Green Mountain all cloudy

Green Mountain all cloudy

Dakota Ridge Trail - Go right.

Dakota Ridge Trail – Go right.

Yay Blue skies

Yay Blue skies

Me on Dakota Ridge with Red Rocks in the background

Me on Dakota Ridge with Red Rocks in the background

We walked along this until we crossed over to the west side and through some trees, had a small break from traffic noise until we could see I70 and then the noise was all back.  We could also see the parking lot for Matthews/Winters Park below us.

Coming down Dakota Ridge

Coming down Dakota Ridge

There is Matthews/Winters Park...and I70

There is Matthews/Winters Park…and I70

Coming down Dakota Ridge was the most muddy part of the whole hike but wasn’t super bad and before we knew it we were at the road crossing to get to the next set of trails.

Matthews/Winters Park

Matthews/Winters Park

Trail Map

Trail Map

As we got to the next section of our hike, there were a bunch of vault toilets that we could take advantage of.  It was also the start of all of this fantastic red beauty and because of all the snow the weekend before, the green was amazing against the red.  We took Village Walk ( no Bikes allowed) To the Red Rocks Trail.

Changing over from Dakota Ridge to Village walk.

Changing over from Dakota Ridge to Village walk.

The next trail section starts just after this creek crossing.

The next trail section starts just after this creek crossing.

Village walk

There is an old Cemetery just off the Village Walk Trail.

There is an old Cemetery just off the Village Walk Trail.

Red Rocks goes back to bikers and hikers

Red Rocks Trail start

Red Rocks Trail start

I have to tell when we got to this part of the hike, I was so glad it snowed the week before because the flowers were so plentiful and as we got to the lowest part on this trail there was an oasis of green & red with the running water was stunning.  It was the best part of the hike!

An Oasis

An Oasis

2nd creek DSCN1721

From here we started climbing back up to the Morrision Slide trail, which climbs up to a lovely flat with lots of views of everywhere we had been so far and where we were going.  It is also the highest part of the hike.

Picking up Morrison Slide

Picking up Morrison Slide

Views of Red Rocks and the Part of Dakota Ridge we had already been on

Views of Red Rocks and the part of Dakota Ridge we had already been on

Morrison Slide flat part on a beautiful day

Morrison Slide flat part on a beautiful day

After the beautiful flat top of Morrison Slide we started descending back to Red Rocks Trail.

Back on Red Rocks Trail

Back on Red Rocks Trail

Trail Conditions coming down Red Rocks Trail

Trail Conditions coming down Red Rocks Trail

I have to tell you coming down this portion of red rocks trail was really hard to not keep looking behind us as it was just a perfect view.  Which made the next section a little disappointing because it was detour on a regular road with car traffic, down to the other side of the Dakota Ridge Trail which also is known as Dinosaur Ridge.  I saw that the construction in Red Rocks had forced a detour of the trail but I never guessed it was actually on the road.

Boo - Detour :(

Boo – Detour 😦

Crossing over to the Dinosaur Ridge part and a closed road.

Crossing over to the Dinosaur Ridge part and a closed road.

This is cool!

This is cool!

I have heard about this place but I have to tell you it was way cooler then I thought it would be.   They left dinosaur bones in the rock so that people could see what they look like when they are discovered!  We were like little kids checking it all out, oohing and ahhing

Dinosaur bones

As we finished up reading about all the bones and the changing landscape, we got back to the original Dakota ridge trail.

End of detour

no more paved road

no more paved road

This last section of the hike was all white and felt so different from the rest of the hike and I loved the change!

The last stretch

I really enjoyed this hike and I honestly think we did it with perfect conditions, on the best day possible.   It is a really exposed trail which means in the summer it is likely HOT, I mean it didn’t get much above 60 while we were hiking and the sweat was pouring off of us-now I get why there are typically a lot of snakes here.   The downside(outside of the snakes of course) is how close it is to both 470 & I70, the noise went away for a good portion of the hike but when it was around it was pretty bad.   Despite that, I will for sure do it again and likely bring guest hikers here because of the great views of Red Rocks.  After the directions will be pictures of all the flowers we had the good fortune to catch before they burn off in the sun.

This 3 day weekend we will get in 2 hikes that will both likely be repeaters!  I hope you all have great plans for the holiday weekend that includes a hike!  Life is too short… you should hike more!

Directions: Take I-70 West from Denver for about 9 miles to C470-East exit (exit 260). Go about 2 miles on C470 East and take the Alameda Parkway exit. Turn right onto Alameda Parkway, then take your first right onto Rooney Road. Go about 1.5 miles and the trail head parking lot will be on your right.

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North Table Loop – North Table Mountain Park, Golden CO 2/9/13

10 Feb
North Table Loop

North Table Loop

North Table Loop ( Jefferson County Open Space)

Lowest Elevation: 5850-ish Feet

Highest Elevation: 6500-ish feet (we went up and down a few times so the overall elevation gain was 900-ish feet)

Trail Length:  Officially 7.5 miles via a full loop and my fitbit wasn’t too far off at just over 8 miles.  It took us almost exactly 3 hours to complete

Trail Uses:  Hiker, Biker and Horses and rock climbing cliffs ( at least 3 designated areas)

Degree of difficulty:  Moderate but mostly due to length and the initial climb but the trail is very nicely planned the declines and inclines (mostly except the first one) seem mild and easy to conquer.

Bathrooms:  At the trailhead and so nice, brand new and super clean….as I stepped towards the toilet a fan went on, I don’t know if it was a heater or just ventilation but I was impressed.

Pets:  Yes – But Leash only.

Park Map

Park Map

Today’s hike was one I learned about from my hiking super hero friend Wendy.  She said that it is a staple for her and her husband on bad weather days and when they want to focus on inclines.  Not because the whole park has hard inclines but the first one is a killer and so they just go up and down it to help them get in shape….after hitting it myself, she has once again cemented her reign as my hiking superhero!  I have been holding it in my back pocket for a bad weather day and today was supposed to be a bad weather day here, so all week this is the trail I prepared for us to do.  It was supposed to start snowing around noon and continue to Sunday, then 1, then 4……it actually started at 2 but then it only lasted for a sneeze, which is way too bad because we desperately need it here.  I guess the good thing is the mountains were supposed to get the majority of it and I think their storm at least came through.

Cool map upgrade

As we went to grab a map and a surprise to me,  they had it app enabled so that you can scan the code and have the park details handy on your phone….strangely I haven’t downloaded the bar code app so we went old school and just took the brochure… But I thought this was so cool!  I love how the Boulder and Jefferson county open spaces are on top of social media and smart phones!

wicked Incline

wicked Incline

Let’s talk trail, we did the whole North Table Loop which starts right at the parking lot.  You can grab it 2 places but either way you are making the climb so like ripping off a band-aid we took the trail that starts right at the park map and heads south.  We huffed and puffed and struggled up an almost 500 foot elevation gain in just  under a mile, it is definitely a calf and butt burner.  Usually this would have me concerned about the rest of the trail but in fact I knew already this was the hardest part but maybe still harbored a little doubt.

Trail marker 1

This trail was recently lengthened, and it looks like they updated everything but I liked this part the best, half the trail markers are on rocks and the North Table Loop is incredibly well-marked so getting lost is impossible.  After climbing up initially,  there  is then a very slow descent that is just lovely.

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As we came out of this beautiful canyon we started getting views of Coors Brewery and then Denver in the distance and for some reason today there was a bizarre fog/smog early in the morning surrounding Denver so my picture wasn’t great but this is exactly what it looked like to us too.

Denver

The trail itself goes from a wide road to a single track and back again which was nice because passing was easy and there were sections we could walk side by side.

Trail 2

If you want to cut the trail down to just 5 miles you can take the Mesa Top trail back to the parking lot, otherwise keep on the North Table Mountain Loop.

trailbreak 2

As we came around the Mountain it got decidedly residential but still very beautiful, I couldn’t help but grab a picture of this house it was so interesting and it kinda made me think of a Hobbit hole…..

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And then the views of the front range just took over, we saw where we hiked the weekend before in front of the flatirons and way northwest.

View northwest on the back end

Then Southwest as the storm clouds started rolling in.

View Southwest on the backend

This is the worst part of the trail in the last 2 miles there is a brief stretch where you walk past these power lines and man were they crackling

Power lines

Just before the second power line tower is the last trail break and then it is not long before you get back to the parking lot.  It is an alternate to the final small incline to the end of the trail, plus residential access we decided it would be awesome to have this park be your backyard it was perfectly challenging and beautiful.

Last Trailbreak

We were surprised at how much we liked this trail, I will admit that the residential views were a little concerning at first but the overall views of the mountains west, north and south not to mention the beautiful views of Denver and Golden, put it all to rest.  We encountered moderate traffic, mostly bikers and joggers and everyone was so nice and friendly such a refreshing change from last weekends bizarre meanness.   I had expected there to be a lot more people there since the new section just opened a little over a month ago but it wasn’t too bad although I am sure it was because of the uncertain weather expected for the day.   One other thing worth mentioning is this trail is entirely exposed, there are almost no shady parts which means it is HOT trail in the summer  so go early or late and slather on the SPF!  There is also a seasonal closure fast approaching on the Rim Rock trail 3/15- 7/31 as it is a nesting ground for cliff nesting birds.  This is a new favorite for us so I hope you check it out if you get the chance.

Directions:

4758 Highway 93, Golden CO 80403
The trailhead is north of Golden on State Highway 93, just north of Pine Ridge Road. There are six dedicated spaces for horse trailers. Left turns are not permitted when leaving the parking lot and turning onto Highway 93.

Us

Us