A Walk in the Woods – Deer Creek Canyon
By Bill Bruner
The journey I take when I walk through the woods is more to me than just the discovery of the beauty of nature, it is truly the discovery of myself. For when I walk amongst the natural world I find a quiet and peace within me that I know nowhere else.
This month’s journey is to a beautiful place in Jefferson County: Deer Creek Canyon. To get there, take C-470 to Wadsworth Avenue South, turn right at South Deer Creek Canyon Road, go approximately 4 miles to Grizzly Drive, turn left and wind your way for ¼ to a ½ of mile to the parking (on your right).
The trails we took created our own loop. The total hike is approximately 2.7 miles, it begins at an elevation of 5,950 feet, and peaks at a height of 6,450 feet. The total elevation gain is 500 feet, and it’s a glorious romp through the foothills that gives you amazing views of the Front Range, Denver, and the surrounding Deer Creek Canyon area. I would consider this hike an urban hike, as it’s nestled in a neighborhood but rarely do you see the homes, businesses or any reference to the neighborhood.
On this trail, you are allowed to bring your dogs as long as they are
leashed. We began on the Meadowlark Trail, which starts right from the
parking area, and heads west into the foothills.
The trail winds through the hills, and in & out of pines and gamble oaks. The elevation gain begins after about half a mile, but because of the switchbacks and winding trail in general, you don’t really feel the elevation gain like so many other trails.
The red rocks on the walls of the canyon around this area are beautiful anytime of the year, but I love the way the white snow sets off the colors all around you. The Meadowlark trail is only open to hikers so there’s no concern on this part of the trail for bikers or people on horseback. After continuing for about a mile, you reach the highest point of this hike. The views all around you are amazing, as you can see most of the Front Range, as well as Denver.
Once you’ve taken in the views from the top, you begin to slowly move back down. You’ll leave any thought of being in an urban neighborhood behind as you wind between two hills and into an alpine forest. At the end of the Meadowlark trail, you’ll cross a bridge and turn to your left. The evergreen trees envelop you as you start back towards the parking lot. In addition to the evergreens, you have sections of the trail that have large boulders.
You follow this section of the trail for approximately half a mile once you leave the forest behind.
You’ll have a hard turn to your left. This section of the trail isn’t well marked. Ahead is Plymouth Creek Trail, which Meadowlark trail runs right into. If you continue straight, you’ll continue back up a steep climb. Instead, follow the Plymouth Creek trail back to your left, and you’ll wind your way back to the parking lot in just over a mile.
This hike was a lovely way to spend a couple of hours. We enjoyed the views and the topography of this hike a lot. I encourage you to check it out when you have a chance.
I’m always looking for new ideas for this article! If you have a favorite hike you’d like me to go on, feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Till next time,