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.