Breathe in the Splendor of the Fall
Autumn…colorful foliage, pumpkin spice, crisp air, sweater weather, the first frost and Colorado blue sky. Take a whiff of the indescribable and calming scent of this spectacular season. Truly, many people’s favorite time of year, although not nearly long enough.
Time to head out to encounter beauty and serenity while walking or hiking the numerous Front Range trails close to Castle Pines.
Spruce Mountain Open Space in Larkspur is nearby and a well-known hiking and cycling area in Douglas County. Climbing the moderate, east upper loop switchbacks leads to rocky overlook views. If completing the entire trail, it gets steeper, and hearty hikers find it worth the spectacular views. For more information, visit https://www.douglas.co.us/.
Red Rocks Park in Morrison is stunning, hikes range from easy to moderate, and there are several trails to check out. Two to consider are the Red Rocks Trading Post Trail and Geological Overlook Trail. Both are rated easy, but the latter trail does have a few areas that involve a little bit of rock climbing. The Trading Post Trail is a must-do for kids who are always on the move. For more information, visit www.redrocksonline.com.
Staunton State Park outside of Pine, and located on U.S. Highway 285, features 30 miles of multi-use trails and eight hikers-only trails. Enjoy beautiful meadows, meandering springs, stunning aspens, granite rock formations and several historic homestead cabins. For those with a bit more stamina, try the favorite 12-mile hike to Elk Falls waterfall. For more information, visit cpw.state.co.us/.
Horseshoe Trail at Golden Gate Canyon Park is a bit further, but well worth the drive. It will accommodate hikers of all levels. Crossing bridges over small streams, and winding through aspen groves, this state park trail is a must during the fall season. A nice bonus is the wildlife viewing, so keep an eye out for birds and deer in the area. Stop at the visitor center for entry, information and to get a map. For more information, visit cpw.state.co.us/.
Kenosha Pass near Grant has hiking trails that are magnificent. View aspens, wildflowers, mountain views, a panoramic of South Park, and wildlife, including moose. Located about 65 miles in the Pike-San Isabel National Forests, the drive and hikes are incredible in autumn. Easy-to-moderate trails are out and back, so choose either the east side trail or the west and decide the desired hiking distance. For more information visit, www.fs.usda.gov/.
A reminder when hiking, pets must be on a 6-foot or shorter leash. Be sure to take plenty of water, food if needed, and adequate clothing in case the weather changes. Many websites have information on additional hiking areas and downloadable maps for each area. Also, be aware of fire danger.
By Patte Smith, courtesy photos