Staunton SP

Staunton SP

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Creekside Trail & Wetland Loop, Star K Ranch

Creekside Trail & Wetland Loop
Star K Ranch

Date Hiked:  May 17, 2011

Distance: 2 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Managing Agency:  City of Aurora
Fee: None

Star K Ranch Trail Map (Aurora)
Morrison Nature Center at Star K Ranch Website (Aurora)
Map to Morrison Nature Center Trailhead (Google Maps)

Directions:  From Denver head east on I-70 to Chambers Road.  Turn right (south) on Chambers Road and turn left on Smith Road.  Make a right turn on Laredo Street and enter the Nature Center parking lot.

Star K Ranch is truly a hidden gem, it is a beautiful park and if you are looking for a easy hike through wetlands and cottonwood forest, this is a great option.  The Morrison Nature Center is also a wonderful resource offering exhibits and educational programs galore.  There are basically two trails in the park, the Creekside Trail and the Wetlands Loop.  Linking these trails via the Sand Creek Regional Greenway pieces together about 2 - 2.5 miles of hiking.  You can hike longer if you wish by hiking east or west along the Sand Creek Greenway.

From the parking lot head south and when you come to the fork in the trail bear left, do not yet enter the wetlands loop area.  Follow the trail south until you reach the Sand Creek Greenway, head east (left) for a short time and turn right onto the Creekside Trail.  The creekside trail will follow Sand Creek back to the west.  At the fork, bear left and continue to follow the creek to the west.  When you meet up again with the Sand Creek Greenway turn right.  You'll soon see the gate in the fence that leads to the wetlands area.  Go through the fence and go either left or right at the fork.  Both trail will take you back to the parking lot, but the right goes through the heart of the wetlands area and is (in my opinion) the more scenic option.  Follow the trail back to the nature center and parking lot.

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