Staunton SP

Staunton SP

Sunday, April 29, 2012

South Chicago Creek Trail, Mt. Evans Wilderness

South Chicago Creek Trail
Mount Evans Wilderness, Arapaho National Forest

Date Hiked: April 29, 2012

Distance: 4.8 mi (RT)

Elevation Gain: 1,800ft
Elevation Min/Max: 9,906 to 11,734ft
Trailhead Lat/Long: 39.665430 N; 105.631540 W
Managing Agency" U.S. Forest Service
Fee: None

S. Chicago Creek Trail Map (Google Maps)

Directions:  From Idaho Springs, take Chicago Creek Road south towards Mt. Evans.  Make a right (west) onto Hefferman Gulch Rd, a good dirt road.  Take this road to the end and you'll find the trailhead.

The South Chicago Creek trail provides for a pleasant escape into the Mount Evans Wilderness.  There really is no destination for this hike, about 2.5 miles in the trail disperses and you must choose your own adventure.  Some people use this trail to access Grey Wolf Mountain as the trail basically leads to the base of Grey Wolf.  I took it until the trail ended and turned around.  If I had more time, I would have pushed on for another mile to reach a ridge that, I assume, looks down onto the Chicago Lakes.  Whatever your destination, this hike is all about a pleasant walk in the woods,
with barely any people.  For this hike, it's the journey not the destination that makes it worthwhile.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Meadowlark > Plymouth Creek Loop, Deer Creek Canyon Park

Meadowlark > Plymouth Creek Loop
Deer Creek Canyon Park

Date Hiked:  April 20, 2012
  • Distance: 2.7 mi (RT)
  • Elevation Gain: 830ft
  • Managing Agency: Jefferson County Open Space
  • Fee: None
Deer Creek Canypn Park Website (Jeffco)

Directions:  From Denver take I-70 west to C470 east and exit at Deer Creek Canyon Road.  Take Deer Creek Canyon Road past the South Valley Park Trailhead and make a left at the park sign, onto Grizzly Drive and into the main parking area.

This is a great quick little loop in a park made up of otherwise lengthy trails.  The Meadowlark Trail is a hiker only trail (the park is very popular for mountain biking) and it leads across the meadow and up onto the foothills.  The trail rolls over the hills for about 1.6 miles before meeting the Plymouth Creek Trail.  From here turn left and follow the Plymouth Creek trail back to the parking area.  This section of the Plymouth Creek Trail is beautiful and looks down into canyons stripped with red rock intrusions.  At just under 3 miles, this is a great hike in the morning to start your day, or in the evening to help wind down and burn off some stress.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Triceratops Trail, Parfet Prehistoric Preserve

Triceratops Trail
Parfet Prehistoric Preserve

Date Hiked:  April 15, 2012

Distance: 1.5 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 100ft
Elevation Min/Max: 5,843 – 5,936
Managing Agency: Dinosaur Ridge
Fee: Parking Fee for CO School of Mines

Triceratops Trail Website (Dino Ridge)
Triceratops Trail Map (Google Maps)

Directions (From Dinosaur Ridge Website):  From Denver take I-70 west to Hwy 58 west.  Turn left (south) on Hwy 6 towards Golden.   Located just east of the 6th Avenue and 19th Street intersection.
Take 6th Ave West to 19th Street.  Turn right onto 19th street and take the first right into a School of Mines Parking Lot.  Pay before parking at the meter (weekends are free).  Turn right and drive to the back right of the lot (back toward 6th Ave).  Park there and walk up to the bike path. You will see a kiosk for Triceratops Trail with information and a map.  Follow the bike path to the left making a left turn at the gravel Trailhead for Triceratops Trail.  Follow your route back after your visit.

The Triceratops Trail is part of Dinosaur Ridge, an organization that also manages the Dinosaur Ridge Visitor Center and trail near Matthews-Winters Park.  The Dinosaur Ridge locations were recently designated as part of the Morrison-Golden Fossil Areas National Natural Landmark, a program administered by the National Park Service.   Triceratops Trail is remarkable for the fossilized triceratops foot prints as well as 68 million year old plant fossils.

The trail starts along a paved road and becomes gravel and natural surface as you head towards the golf course.  There are signs that point the way and take you down to a deep cut in the bedrock.  The trail follows the ridge of this cut and leads to an exposed rock wall with the fossils and interpretive signs.  The hike is short and easy and extremely educational.  Kids and adults alike will find the fossilized remains fascinating and enjoy taking a walk back in time to Colorado’s ancient past.