Staunton SP

Staunton SP

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Boyd Lake State Park

Boyd Lake State Park
Grassland Loop Trail

Date Hiked: August 30, 2011

Distance: .4 mi (RT) - With various other paved trails in the park

Boyd Lake State Park Trails Page

Directions:  From I-25, take exit 257 heading West. Continue onto Hwy 34 for 3 miles to Madison Ave.  Turn North on Madison Ave and make a right on E. 37th.  Follow signs to the Park entrance.

Boyd Lake State Park is certainly not a hiking park.  There is a 5 mile paved trail running the length of the western side of the park and connecting to the Loveland City trail system, but this is really better for biking or running.  That being said, the lake is scenic and warm for swimming in the summer, and there is a short nature trail called the Grassland Loop.  This .4 mile loop trail explores a small portion of the lake side and the meadow bounding it.  There is also an unofficial trail just north of the swim beach that follows the shoreline for a little while before abruptly ending.

A swim in the lake and a walk along the trails makes for a very nice summer afternoon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cattail Trail, Majestic View Nature Center

Cattail Trail
Majestic View Nature Center

Date Hiked: August 23, 2011

Distance: 1.5 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 300ft
Managing Agency: City of Arvada
Fee: None

Majestic View Nature Center Website (Arvada)

Directions:  From Denver take I-70 west to Wadsworth Blvd.  Head north on Wadsworth and turn left (west) on 68th.  Turn right on Garrison and head north to the Nature Center Parking Lot.

The Majestic View Nature Center and Park is a wonderful resource to the community.  The center offers all sorts of educational programs, interpretive trails, and a terrific garden focused on local flora.  The nature trail is short but very peaceful.  You can link to paved trails that head north into the park for a longer walk.

From the nature center head north on the paved trail and keep your eyes out for the narrow dirt trail heading down to the pond.  The pond is very peaceful and has a nice wildlife viewing area.  The trail skirts the eastern shore then links up to the gardens.  From the gardens follow the sign to the Cattail trail.  The trail will take you back south crossing Garrison Street.  Enter through an opening in the fence and follow the gravel path down to a wetland area.  There are interpretive signs along the way to teach you a bit about the riparian habitat. The trail then loops around and puts you back onto Garrison Street.  At the name implies there are nice views here of the Front Range foothills.  Walk along the street back to the nature center parking lot.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Diamond Lake, Indian Peak Wilderness

Diamond Lake
Indian Peaks Wilderness, Roosevelt National Forest

Date Hiked: August 20, 2011

Distance: 5.3 mi (RT)

Elevation Gain: 800ft
Managing Agency: U.S. Forest Service
Fee: None

U.S. Forest Service Trail Info and Map

Directions:  This trail starts at the Fourth of July Trailhead past the town of Eldora.  From Boulder, take 119, Boulder Canyon Drive, to Nederland.  Head South on the Peak to Peak Highway (72) and turn west on County Rd 130 towards Eldora Ski Resort. Once you pass Eldora and the pavement ends, the road becomes a bit rougher.  Take the dirt road for 5 miles to the trailhead.  This road is narrow and rocky but does not require a high clearance 4WD, although some high clearance vehicle is recommended.

From the trailhead follow the Arapaho Pass trail for 1.2 miles to the Diamond Lake trail junction.  The trail meanders through the forest and opens up frequently for majestic views of the Indian Peaks in the near distance.  Before you even get to the Diamond Lake Trail, you are rewarded with wildflowers, creek crossings, and tumbling cascades.

At the Diamond Lake trail, drop down .5 mi to a creek crossing with a wonderful waterfall off to the right.  Head back uphill switchbacking up for another mile to reach Diamond Lake.  Just before the lake the trail opens up to an expansive meadow surrounded by peaks.  Diamond Lake is a beautiful alpine lake with views of peaks in all directions.  Relax and enjoy the wilderness until you are ready to head back the way you came.  This is one of those hikes that will make you wish you could just keep on hiking deeper into the Indian Peaks, it would make for a great start to any number of backpacking options.