Friday, July 25, 2014

White Ranch Park- Jefferson County,Colorado

This is another Jefferson County open space park, just a few miles northwest of Golden. At over 4,000 acres it's one of largest parks in this system, and absolutely beautiful to boot. It was a happy change of scene for us, despite the gray skies and  intermittent rain, to be in a lush, green place such as this.The hillsides and valleys were thick with tall grass , punctuated with copses of evergreen trees.This park sits up a few thousand feet from the plains below and as we got out of the car we had  views back towards Golden and all the way to downtown Denver. We walked across the road and started on the Sawmill trail, which led us past the old ranch house( and sawmill?) and then  curved west toward the camping area. Campers here must backpack in their  own equipment and supplies,but there is a bathroom, firewood,  water,  trash cans and a gray water station provided. We admired this other forward thinking, practical concept by the good folks of Jefferson County. We continued on up the rocky hillsides, past a small grove of aspens, wildflowers and small stream fed by a tiny spring, to the top of Blecher Hill where we saw a doe and fawn. From there we worked our down hill, across the road we drove in on( there is a smaller trailhead parking area here) and then down again into  an expansive meadow area where the trail took us back up to the large parking area to complete our loop. Our visit to this park was a last minute change of plans. I had intended to  drive out to the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness area, but time constraints,changing plans and the fact the high mountains were entirely socked in with continuous black cloud had us doing this hike instead. It was fun and so convenient compared  to  Las Cruces, where the cool forests where we can do some summertime hiking are at least 2 hours away.

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