A hike along Plum Creek in the Columbine Open Space trail south of Castle Rock, is easy and features an original red barn and an old rock spring house.
By Patte Smith; courtesy photos
Winter can be chilly, but also invigorating. Coloradans are outdoor folks. It does not matter what the weather is, people love being outside ... well, most people.
Douglas County offers winter hiking options in the open space trails areas 365 days a year, weather permitting. The only exception being the east/west trail when the eagles are nesting.
The closest trail to Castle Pines is the Glendale Farm Open Space trail that was the Kroll family homesite back in the day. It is a short walk up to the top where there is a beautiful view of the front range – a must-see on a snow-clad, blue-sky day.
The Spruce Mountain loop trail in Larkspur has a forested north side with rock formations. When hikers reach the rock cliff at Windy Point, they enjoy the view of 14,114 foot, Pikes Peak.
If you want a short 1.5-mile trail, south of Castle Rock is the Columbine Open Space, where an old barn and 1800s rock spring house still stands. East Plum Creek meanders through the area with beaver dams, willows and old cottonwood trees.
A frosty winter walk with the family.
West is Roxborough State Park with its amazing sand stone rock formations. The area has numerous trails that are great for winter hiking and snowshoeing. For a long hike, south on Roxborough Park Road is the Sharptail Open Space trail that eventually leads to the Swallowtail Trail and Nelson Ranch Open Space. You can keep on hiking even further for several miles leading to the Indian Creek Trail of the Pike National Forest.
And for hikers who want to “blaze a new trail,” Douglas County Outdoors is offering four guided hikes at the future Macanta Regional Park on the East side of Crowfoot Valley Road between Lemon Gulch Drive and Pradera Parkway. The hike is 3 – 4 miles long and is offered on January 1, January 19, February 9 and March 2. There are some restrictions.
For more information about Douglas County Open Space and trails or to register for the guided hikes, visit www.douglas.co.us/dcoutdoors/.
Remember, if you are planning on hiking this winter, please take safety precautions. Do not hike alone, let family members or friends know where you are hiking, take a GPS device if possible, dress warm and take plenty of water and food.
For more information on hiking safety and hiking, visit americanhiking.org/hiking-resources/.