Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Matthew Winters Open Space

Colorado's Front Range has numerous opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing and other outdoor activities.  Among the many places to get outside and enjoy miles of trails are the Jefferson County Open Space parks.  Owned by Jefferson County and free to use, these parks offer a wide variety of recreation opportunities for just about everyone.  

One of the most popular Open Space parks is Matthew Winters Park.  It is easy to get to, located just off of I-70 and next to the Red Rocks Amphitheater.  The trails offer opportunities for hiking,  mountain biking and horseback riding.  The trails can be extended by continuing south through the park and into the trails at Red Rocks, or east to Green Mountain.

Matthew Winters is located just south of I-70 on Highway 93.  To get there, you take I-70 west from Denver.  Exit at Highway 93 and go south for about .1 miles.  The park is on the west side (right as you are traveling south).  You can also continue south along Highway 93 to get to Red Rocks.  Like the other Jefferson County Open Space Parks, Matthew Winters is open from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.

Matthew Winters trail map and trailhead.

Matthew Winters Park is 1,084 acres, nestled at the base of the foothills.  There are 9.2 miles of trails available, including both multi-use trails, bike only and hiker only trails.  As you leave the parking lot, the Village Walk trail is to the right.   This trail is for hikers and horses only.  The bike only trail, Village Ride, is to the left.  These two trails meet up at the Red Rocks Trail and morph into a multi-use trail.  

Don't forget, mountain bikers yield to hikers and horses.  Hikers yield to horses.  It is also courteous for down hill travelers to yield to up hill travelers.  This allows the up hill hiker or biker to keep up their momentum.  (Many up hill hikers will gladly step aside to allow themselves a short break however.)

Even with snow on the ground, the trails are well traveled and easy to follow.  Red Rocks Trail

Red Rocks Trail continues along the hillside and as the name implies, leads directly into Red Rocks Park.  If you want an additional challenge, the Morrison Slide trail switchbacks up on top of a small plateau, offering better views than you can get from down below.  On the south side of the plateau, the trails switchbacks down and meets up with the Red Rocks Trail again.  
Looking north from Matthew Winters.  Morrison Slide Trail.
From the parking lot of Matthew Winters Park, you can cross Highway 93 to the east and continue up onto the hogback.  The Dakota Ridge Trail will lead to the very top of the Hogback and provide views to the east, including Green Mountain.  Zorro Trails drops down the east side of the hogback towards the west parking lot for Green Mountain.  

Morrison Slide Trail.

Dinosaur Ridge Visitor Center is another nearby attraction.  On the west side of C-470 and Alameda, this visitor center provides information about the dinosaur tracks that have been discovered along the hogback between C-470 and Highway 93.  

Looking for other hiking opportunities along the Front Range?  Check out some of these other great parks:

Hiking In Waterton Canyon
Lair O' The Bear Open Space
Chatfield State Park

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Mt. Yale and Hartenstein Lake

Here is a photo that I took of Mt. Yale with Hartenstein Lake in the foreground.  Mt. Yale is one of Colorado's many "14ers."  These are mountains that are over 14,000 feet in elevation at the summit.  The trailhead to Mt. Yale is located close to the town of Buena Vista and is easy to access.  Nearby Mt. Princeton and Mt. Harvard are also visible as you hike to the summit.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Riding KLRs Along Highway 119

Here is a quick video of a recent Kawasaki KLR ride along the Peak to Peak Highway, Hwy 119, and some forest service roads in Gilpin County, Colorado.  We got rained on a little on the way back, but overall it was a nice day.

Monday, May 12, 2014

This is Fly Magazine- Free Online Fly Fishing Magazine

For those of you that are fly fisherman, I thought I would point out a great free online fly fishing magazine.  This is Fly is available to view online for free, or you can download the current and past issues for $2.00 each.  I think they do a great job with the photography and articles, especially for a free magazine.  The photo and link below go to the magazine and you can subscribe on their site to get notified when additional issues are published.


Do you have a favorite online fishing magazine?  Let me know in the comment section below.  I'm always looking for good quality online magazines, especially those that are free!

Check out some of my other posts below.  Click on the picture to view the post:
Tips For Safely Releasing Fish

Fly Fishing in Rocky Mountain National Park

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

View of Grays and Torreys from Mt. Quandary

As a follow up to my previous post here: Mt. Quandary Ascent, I wanted to post another photo from the same trip.  Here is a view from the east ridge of Mt. Quandary looking north towards Grays and Torrey's.  This was taken the previous morning before the snow storm moved in.  The snow in the foreground is where we built our snow cave to spend a night.

Photograph View from Mt Quandary by Luke Parr on 500px
View from Mt Quandary by Luke Parr on 500px

Mt. Quandary, Grays and Torreys are all 14ers.  These peaks rise above 14,000 feet above sea level and provide hiking and mountaineering opportunities for all different skill levels.  The popular routes on these three peaks are considered fairly easy climbs and can be done without technical equipment.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mt. Quandary Ascent

Here is a picture of a couple hikers ascending the east ridge of Mt. Quandary in April of 2014.  We spent two nights in a snow cave.  It was the first time that I have built a snow shelter and slept in it.  The temperature stayed a fairly consistent 30-35 degrees, which was about 10-15 degrees warmer than the temperature outside overnight.

The most interesting experience in the snow shelter was the stillness.  Compared to a tent, the snow shelter completely protecting from the wind and noise from the snow storm that hit us the second night.

Photograph Mt. Quandary Snowstorm by Luke Parr on 500px
Mt. Quandary Snowstorm by Luke Parr on 500px

These conditions aren't the easiest to ascend a 14er, but Quandary is a fairly easy climb in the summer.  The trail is fairly well marked and makes for an obvious route to the summit.  

Sunday, February 2, 2014

10 Essentials for Survival

The following is a quick list of items that you should bring with out on any outdoor adventure.  You can never predict when injury or sickness may strike, but having these items can help improve your chances of getting back to civilization after any catastrophe.  

  1. Water
  2. Food
  3. First Aid
  4. Map
  5. Compass
  6. Flashlight or headlamp
  7. Knife
  8. Matches or other firestarter
  9. Extra clothing
  10. Sunscreen