Staunton SP

Staunton SP

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wynetka Ponds

Wynetka Ponds
South Suburban Recreation District

Date Hiked: April 30, 2014

Distance: .75 mi (RT)

Elevation Gain: 100ft

Wynetka Ponds Park Website & Map
Wynetka Ponds Trail Map (Google Maps)

Directions: From Denver take Federal Blvd south to Bowles Ave.  Head west on Bowles and turn right (north) on S. Lowell Blvd.  The parking area is to the west.

This is a hike little walk in a pleasant open space park.  It's not that far from where I work so this makes for a nice lunchtime escape to get some fresh air and detox from the florescent lights in my office.  There is a nice small pond, a few historic buildings and large grassy areas near cottonwoods.  Overall just a pleasant park, a hike...maybe not, but a nice walk and a nice spot anyhow.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Pine Valley Ranch - Narrow Gauge > N. Fork View Loop

Narrow Gauge > N. Fork View Loop
Pine Valley Ranch Park
Jefferson County Open Space

Date Hiked: April 27, 2014

Distance: 3.1 mi (RT)

Elevation Gain: 463ft

Elevation Min/Max: 6,759 to 6,953ft

Pine Valley Ranch Park Website (Jeffco)
Narrow Gauge > N. Fork View Trail Map (Google Maps)

Directions:  From Denver take 285 South to Pine Junction.  Make a left (south) on Pine Valley Road (126) and follow to just before the Pine Historic District.  Make a left on Crystal Lake Road (following the signs to Pine Valley Ranch) and take this to the Park's parking area.  The trailhead is located next to the bathrooms at the west end of the lower parking lot.

This trail makes for a wonderful flat and easy hike following the North Fork of the South Platte River.  The trail highlight of this trail is the rock formations and cliffs on both sides of the Platte.  This area is part of the Buffalo Creek wildfire burn area and while the vegetation is growing back nicely, the burn area offers a unique landscape.  Burnt trees against red rock cliffs visible due to the lack of foliage on the trees. Tragic, but natural and beautiful in its own right.

The North Fork View trail is an option on this hike and it gets away from the river and closer to the towering cliffs, highly recommended.  After about 1.5 miles, the trail abruptly ends at a gate across the trail, from here you have no choice but to turn back the way you came.  For a longer more strenuous hike, try the Park View, Strawberry Jack, Buck Gulch Loop, its one of my favorite Jeffco Open Space hikes.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Flagstaff Mountain - Ute > Boy Scout Loop

Flagstaff Mountain - Ute > Boy Scout Loop
Boulder Mountain Parks

Date Hiked: April 26, 2014

Distance:  2.2 mi (RT)

Elevation Gain: 593ft

Elevation Min/Max: 6,720ft to 6,941ft

Flagstaff Trailhead Trail Map (Boulder)
Ute > Boy Scout Trail Map (Google Maps)

Directions:  From Boulder, follow Baseline Rd west until it enters the Boulder Mountain Parks and becomes Flagstaff Rd.  The Road will climb up steeply and in about 2.5 miles you will reach the summit of Flagstaff Mountain.  Turn right into the parking area (fee required).

This area is very popular and great for kids as the trail are relatively short and there is little elevation gain.  In the summer, you can drive to the end of Flagstaff Mountain Drive, but when the road is closed park at the gate.  The Ute trail starts climbing steeply until it levels off and winds through beautiful pine forest. Stay on the Ute trail past several junctions and turn left onto the Boy Scout Trail.  The trail will descend with great views until it connects with a spur trail.  Take the spur trail and soon you will scrambling up a boulder pile.  Keep going up and over the pile and the trail will take you to a wonderful viewpoint.  The views of the Indian Peaks are spectacular.  Head back over the rock pile and keep on with the Boy Scout trail.  The trail from here rolls along the north face of Flagstaff Mountain and will eventually lead you to the road and parking area by the Flagstaff Nature Center.

From here you have several options, you can find your way back to the Ute trail, continue exploring the area, or walk back along the road.  We took the road as we had our little guy in tow (his first hike/being carried while I hiked) and he was getting pretty crabby.  It's a quick walk back to the parking lot but has a tremendous view of the back of Green Mountain and the 1st Flatiron.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Tunnel #1 Trail - Clear Creek Canyon Park

Tunnel #1 Trail - Clear Creek Canyon Park
Jefferson County Open Space

Date Hiked: April 25, 2014

Distance: .8 mi (RT)

Elevation Gain: 212ft

Elevation Min/Max: 5,745 to 5,865ft

Clear Creek Canyon Park Website (Jeffco)
Tunnel #1 Trail Map (Google Maps)

Directions: From Denver take I-70 W and 58 West to Golden.  At the intersection of 58 and 93, head west into Clear Creek Canyon.  The parking area is to the left (south) of Tunnel #1, turn off the road (VERY CAREFULLY!!) to the parking area.

This trail is popular for hiking, photography, rock climbing, and partying....  You will see old fire rings and beer cans from time to time.  However, Clear Creek Canyon is an amazing canyon and this short trail gives you a rare opportunity to walk through a portion of it.  The trail descends from the parking area and follows the bend in the creek to the other end of Tunnel #1.  There are various small side trails that take you down to the water.  The flow of clear creek is impressive here as are the towering canyon walls, making this short easy hike a rare gem.

This was also a great opportunity to test out my new camera, the Sony a6000!