Staunton SP

Staunton SP

Friday, May 31, 2013

Cathy Johnson > Columbine Trails, Ken Caryl Ranch Open Space

Cathy Johnson > Columbine Trails
Ken Caryl Ranch Open Space

Date Hiked: May 31, 2013

  • Distance: 3 mi (RT)
  • Elevation Gain: 500ft
  • Elevation Min/Max: 5,696 to 6,157ft
  • Managing Agency: Ken Caryl Ranch Metropolitan Recreation District
  • Fee: None

South Valley Park Website (Jeffco)
Cathy Johnson Trail Map (Google Maps)
Ken Caryl Ranch Open Space Website

Directions:  This trail can be hiked starting at either South Valley Road or Deer Creek Canyon Road.  From Denver take I-70 west to C470 east.  Exit Ken Caryl Ave and make a left on S. Valley Road or take C470 to Deer Creek Canyon road west to the trailhead.

Yes, Ken Caryl has an open space, you can't hike there.  Unfortunately the hiking trails at Ken Caryl are for residents only, not open to the public...except for the Cathy Johnson Trail.  This trail is adjacent to and connects to South Valley Park.  The trail is a straight shot from S. Valley Rd to Deer Creek Rd sandwiched between 2 hogbacks, and surprisingly scenic.  The Columbine trail loops off of the main trail and heads up to a connector with South Valley.  It also makes for a good balloon loop.  Take the Columbine trail up the hogback to a great view point down into South Valley and the impressive red rock formations.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Harriman Lake, Foothills Parks & Recreation District

Harriman Lake
Foothills Parks & Recreation District

Date Hiked: May 17, 2013

Distance:  1.7 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain:  Negligible
Elevation:  5,616
Managing Agency:  Foothills Parks & Recreation District
Fee:  None

Harriman Lake Trail Map (Google Maps)
Harriman Lake Park Website (FPRD)

Directions:  The trailhead for Harriman Lake Park is located at the intersection of Kipling Street and Quincy Ave in Lakewood.  The trailhead and parking area is on Kipling just south of Quincy.

Harriman Lake is a nice easy walk around a pretty lake with good views of the foothills.  The trail is natural surface and passes through a nice wetland area on the eastern portion of the lake.  The trail then parallels Quincy Ave for a little ways before turning south and circumnavigating the lake.  The trail on the south shore of the lake follows Harriman Canal back to the parking area.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Devil's Head (Winter)

Devil's Head National Recreation Trail
Rampart Range Recreation Area, Pike National Forest

Date Hiked: May 12, 2013

Distance: 4 miles (RT)

Elevation Gain: 940 ft
Elevation Min/Max: 8,793 to 9,762ft
Trailhead Lat/Long: 39.275580 N; 105.107669 W
Managing Agency: U.S. Forest Service
Fee: None

U.S. Forest Service Website
Devil's Head NRT Winter Trail Map (Google Maps)

Directions:  The Devil's Head trailhead is at the end of Rampart Range Road.  From Sedalia head west on Jarre Canyon Rd (67) for 10 miles.  Make a left on S. Rampart Range Road and travel 8.5 miles to the parking area and trailhead.  S. Rampart Range Rd is a dirt road but passable by most passenger cars.  In the winter the road is closed approx. 1 mile from the trailhead.  This adds a mile of hiking each way but the trail is so short (2.5 mi RT) that it doesn't make much difference.

The Devil's Head trail is extremely popular and for good reason.  The trail is short but steep and weaves through beautiful aspen forest (great for fall colors) and large rock formations.  Views of the Rampart Range's rock outcroppings are abundant.  The real joy of this hike however, is the fire lookout tower.  The tower was built over 100 years ago and has a view that simply must be experienced.  Once you arrive at the base of the stairs you may have to wait for folks to come down before you head up, but patience is a virtue here.  Climb the many metal steep stairs, don't look down, and prepare to be amazed.  There is often a volunteer on hand to answer historical questions.  Be sure to look south for an incredible view of Pike's Peak.

This has to be one of the top ten front range hikes and IS the best view this close to Denver.