Deer Creek Canyon Park

On a peaceful and sunny Monday morning, I decided to drive down the street and visit Deer Creek Canyon Park. It was pretty quiet with only several people around for most of the time I was out there. Here’s some more info about my hike that day:

  • Date Hiked: July 8th, 2019
  • Miles Hiked: 2.65 Miles
  • Route: Meadowlark Trail to Plymouth Creek Trail

For this hike, I made a nice little loop. Starting up on the Meadowlark trail is a nice set of steps that eventually lead you through a forest area.

Heading up the Meadowlark Trail.

Pretty soon, the trail starts to go up the side of a mountain with the help of some switchbacks. The views of the red rock formations quickly become visible. Also, a thunderstorm was starting to build just to the west of the park despite it being 11am.

View of the red rocks.
A storm forming to the west.

For it being a short hike, it definitely was pretty scenic. The views of Denver are pretty remarkable and it’s just enough of a workout to feel satisfying.

Further up the Meadowlark Trail.
Looking out towards Denver.

With the storm bearing down, I decided it was time to head back to the trailhead. At this point, the storm was pretty close with cloud to ground lightning becoming visible nearby.

Heading down the Plymouth Creek trail.

Although I didn’t get to hike as much as I wanted, I was perfectly alright with that. Just being able to visit this park always proves to be a nice retreat. I say this because they close this park a lot, especially when it gets extremely muddy.

Overall, this is definitely one of the more enjoyable open space parks near Denver and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

Centennial Cone Park Loop

A day after hiking to the summit of Mount Sniktau and probably sleeping about twelve hours, I decided to do a much longer hike the following day since I felt so well rested. Although I woke up too late to hike a larger peak, I figured I’d stay closer to Denver and check out Centennial Cone Park. I must admit that this might be one of my favorite parks in the Jefferson County Open Space system.

Nonetheless, here’s some more info about my hike:

  • Date Hiked: July 2nd, 2019
  • Miles Hiked: 12.5 Miles
  • Trails Hiked: Elk Range and Travois Trails

Getting There

Centennial Cone Park has several trailheads to pick from as you can see on the park map. I chose to park at the Ralph Schell trailhead where I found only two other cars that day.

The Journey

From the trailhead, I started down the Elk Range trail. It felt really pleasant to hike through the meadow and only encounter several mountain bikers as well as the occasional family every now or then. After a short time, the trail comes to the top of a nice ridge which offers some views of the surrounding mountains and valley below.

Looking back to the east while on the Elk Ridge Trail.
Continuing west on the Elk Range Trail.

Pretty soon, I found myself leaving the meadow and entering into a more wooded part of the hike. Right before reaching the west trailhead, I took the Travois trail where the Elk Range trail meets it and continued on with the hike despite the clouds starting to build to the west.

Right before going onto the Travois trail.
A regular afternoon storm building out to the west.

After a couple more miles, some pretty remarkable views of Clear Creek Canyon opened up right in front of me. At this point, it was starting to get pretty hot and the fact that their was no shade around didn’t help. But that’s how it is sometimes.

The trail with Clear Creek Canyon on the right.
A nice view of the foothills with Clear Creek Canyon down below.

I should also mention that their is a pretty significant change in elevation throughout the duration of the hike. I definitely felt it on the way back. With the thunder growing steadily louder, it seemed like the perfect time to pick up the pace before all hell broke loose.

One last nice view.
The storm closing in.

Overall, I thought this was a pretty enjoyable hike. Wouldn’t mind doing it again at some point!

Bruin Bluff Trail

A short time back, I hiked the entirety of the Bear Creek Trail which starts in Lair O’ The Bear park and ends at Pence Park about six miles away. Because that hike proved to be pretty enjoyable for early March, I decided to head back out that way and check out some of the other trails that Lair O’ The Bear park has to offer. With that being said, here are some other details about my hike:

Date of Hike: March 7th, 2019

Miles Hiked: 1.6 Miles

Trail Conditions: Muddy with melting snow

From the parking lot, I made my way to the nearby Creekside trail. For several minutes, I stood by the creek to take in everything that was going on around me. The snow was melting and the birds were singing as spring was slowly getting closer with each passing day. Additionally, several parents and their kids were sledding down on one of the remaining areas of snow that was left in a shaded area.

Just off of the Creekside trail listening to nature.

Moving on, I then headed up the Bruin Bluff trail which was the main focus of my hike that afternoon. Because it was during the week, their was not that much traffic on the nearby road which really made it seem much more tranquil. Nonetheless, I headed up a small ridge and then into the woods.

Going up a small ridge.
Walking through the woods.

After a short time, the woods open up and reveal an excellent view of the surrounding foothills.

The view of the surrounding foothills.

Later on down the trail, I stumbled upon a unique rock outcropping that really caught my eye. At this point on the trail, the snow had melted away revealing a whole lot of mud. Turning the corner and descending back into the woods was a completely different story as the trail remained covered in ice before looping back around to the creek and eventually the parking area.

The unique rock outcropping.
Walking through the woods on snow and ice.
Another view of Bear Creek before I depart.

Overall, I was able to complete this trail within an hour despite stopping to take pictures and enjoy being out in nature. It was a perfect short hike to complete after a long morning of work. I also really enjoyed it because of the fact that it really gave me a reminder that spring was finally on the way!