Longhorn > Maverick > Belcher Hill Loop
White Ranch Park
Date Hiked: September 7, 2012
- Distance: 7.8 mi (RT)
- Elevation Gain: 1,300 ft
- Elevation Min/Max: 6,175 to 7,439ft
- Managing Agency: Jefferson County Open Space
- Fee: None
White Ranch Park Website (Jeffco)
Longhorn > Maverick > Belcher Hill Trail Map (Google Maps)
Directions: From Denver take I-70 west to Hwy 58 west to 93 north. Turn left on W. 56th Ave for 1 mile to the trailhead and parking area.
The eastern portion of White Ranch Park is vastly different from the higher elevation of the western portion. White the western hikes ramble through evergreen forest and meadows, the eastern portion climbs up from the plains through dryer scrub bushes and smaller evergreen trees. The reward is a fun and challenging hike with a great aerobic workout.
The hike starts at the eastern trailhead and follows the Belcher Hill Trail along the edge of the foothills to the junction with the Whippletree Trail. Turn right onto Whippletree and zigzag downhill to the Longhorn Trail. This is where the fun begins. The trail climbs up, up, and up, switchbacking up the foothills with ever increasing vistas of the red rock hogback to the east. You gain plenty of elevation here but the trail grade is steady which makes for a fun climb. If you want to make this a shorter loop, you can take the Shorthorn trail back down, otherwise stay on the Longhorn Trail until it meets up with the Maverick Trail.
Follow the Maverick Trail south rolling along through the meadows and forests with wonderful views to the east. Once you reach the Belcher Hill Trail, turn left (east) and head down hill. The Belcher Hill Trail is very popular and you won't be alone here. However, the trail is very scenic and provides great views of the Table Mountains as you descend back to the Whippletree Junction. Keep on the Belcher Hill Trail back to the parking area.
With fewer people and a vigorous up-hill workout, eastern White Ranch is a real treat. You can configure various loops in this area but if you complete the big loop described here, you can drink your post hike beer with pride...and aching legs...