|Mule Deer Buck|
The great thing about the Denver area is that there are plenty of hiking trails within a short drive of the metro area. Jefferson County Open Space and Denver Mountain Parks offer numerous choices for hiking, mountain biking, picnicking and more. These parks are free to anyone and many offer great views of the city and the mountains. There are also plenty of animal sightings, including Deer, Elk, Foxes and even the occasional Mountain Lion or Bear. With the great weather, my family and I decided to take a hike. We decided to hike along the Bear Creek at Lair O' The Bear Open Space. Lair O' The Bear is located west of the town of Morrison along Highway 74. The park offers both hiking and mountain biking trails.
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Although there is a lot more snow now than when we went hiking, the Jefferson County Open Space trails offer great year round access. Not only are most of the parks open year round, the lower elevation of these parks, compared to places like Rocky Mountain National Park, means that the snow will melt quicker and the temperatures won't be quite as cold.
If you want to take advantage the snow for hiking or even snowshoeing, you can always go to the parks right after a snow fall. I've gone snow shoeing in the past, but not very often. I'm hoping that this year I can try snow shoes a couple more times. To me it's an enjoyable experience to be out in the woods after a fresh snow. The pure white blanket makes it seem like you are the only person around. On the other hand, if you want to get out on the trails, but don't want to deal with the deep snow, waiting a couple days will most likely give a chance for Colorado's sun to come out and reduce the amount of snow. You can also check out some of the lower elevation hiking areas, such as North Table Mountain, where the flat mountain offers plenty opportynity for the sun to melt the snow and it gives you a great view of downtown Denver to the east and the foothills to the west.
|Chipmunk, Michael Seraphin, DOW|