I want to make sure everyone "gets" my rating system on these hikes, so I decided to include a quick facts page with the criteria or description for each quick fact.
Park Quick Facts: (rated 1 - 3 with 3 being the most)
Difficulty- This is the difficulty of the hike. I take into consideration how the hike is on the body including: the terrain, high altitude, heavy breathing from lots of ups and downs, bad footing or lots of rocks, etc. I also wanted to include what you need to wear or take with you on this hike so that you are prepared!
1. Not difficult at all - wear your walking shoes, the trails are probably paved, gravel, or hard packed wide trails. You probably don't need water. (unless it is very hot, keep in mind this is Colorado!)
2. - Somewhat difficult - you could wear your walking shoes, but hiking boots are recommended. Carry some water depending on the length of your hike.
3. - Difficult - Hike requires hiking gear, including good shoes, carry ample water, food, there are lots of ups and downs along with rocky terrain.
3 ++ - Difficult with Altitude - This trail is very difficult, long or requires special gear.
Amount of Trails at the Park - How many miles of trails are there at the park? And how long can you go without hiking on the same grounds.
1. 2 miles or less - great for a walk in the park with your dog, not a hike on a trail
2. 2-5 miles - A good loop or out and back trail, but you can't hook up with other trails from these, and the open space is limited
3. 5+ - The park has ample miles of trails or the trails connect to other Open Space parks offering additional mileage.
Crowded? Is it crowded? Will I run into lots of people, or will I have a serene hike with few passers by? Keep in mind, many of Colorado's front range trails are busy on the weekends.
1. - peaceful- very few people around, great for peacefulness!
2. - moderate- amount of usage with steady passers by.
3. - busy trails- especially on the weekends, continual traffic
Distance: How far is it from the metro area? We are talking driving time to get to the hike here, Golden/Lakewood is my central point. For those of you who don't live in the Golden/Lakewood area, judge the distance from the Colorado Mills Mall. I will include drive time for each hike from there.
1 - Within a half an hour from Golden/Lakewood.
2. Over 30 minutes, but not more than 2 hours away, great for a weekend afternoon,
3. Over 2 hours away - anywhere from 2 hours to many hours! This is a long day hike or even a place to hike and stay overnight.
Length of time of hike - I will always include the time it takes me to complete this particular hike.
For the Dog Lover - What can you do with your dog there? Can they swim or drink water? Are there lots of rangers to ticket you for letting your dog offleash? Rattlesnakes or any other dangers for dogs will be listed here.
Are there bathrooms. Yes or No?
Every woman needs to know where a bathroom is, just in case :) And if there is no bathroom, where is the nearest bathroom. I will scope that one out for you too!