|Looking up at a really cool entwined tree|
It didn't take me long to decide what trail to hike yesterday morning, I knew I had to hike somewhere south of the metro area because I needed to stop by a friends house in the area. I jumped on the Jefferson County website to check out their park map and noticed this new park between Deer Creek and South Valley; it stood out to me because I didn't recall it being there last year. After asking my friend Laura who lives in the area, I found out that the trailhead was new, and she had noticed the parking lot being built recently.
Getting there: The park is located south of C-470 and west of Wadsworth on Deer Creek Canyon Road. I got to the trail by exiting Wadsworth south from C-470, then I took the first right turn on Deer Creek Canyon Road and drove just over 1 mile to the obvious trailhead on the left. (past the Botanic Gardens) You could also reach the trail if you exit Kipling and follow the signs toward Deer Creek Canyon Open Space, but make a left turn on Deer Creek Canyon Road when it intersects with Ute/S. Owens; the trail is just a few hundred yards past the intersection over the hill.
|Golden fields and bright blue skies|
The Hike: I arrived at the park at 10:30am on Wednesday morning and there was just 1 other car in the parking lot and the sun had just burned off the last of the snow clouds from the night before, and the sky was a bright blue. There was a light dusting of snow that quickly melted away as I stepped onto the trail after giving a quick glimpse to the trail map, which has one big loop in the park, the Two Brands Loop. I decided I'd do the whole loop and started walking west without taking a trail map, big mistake! But I thought, how hard can a loop be? There are no other trails at the park, just the loop and some short unmarked social trails.
The trail west starts going up a small bluff, and you can see views to the Tech Center, and Denver from the trail. After about 3/4 of a mile, the hard packed, well maintained trail, continues through a Prairie Dog habitat, with large holes all over the fields and side of the bluff. My dogs were going crazy as the Prairie dogs chirped at us and ran around, Rock, in her youth, would have taken off to chase them, but in her old age, she listened to me and stayed put, attempting to stalk the holes next to the trail. Belle, on the other hand, was on the leash the entire time; as a terrier she likes to dig and burrow so she would have been down the holes in a heartbeat, it was also her first time seeing prairie dogs.
|Prairie Dog, there are 3 habitats along loop|
Eventually, the trail starts to turn back east and loop around, it continues on the sides of the smaller bluffs, which provide great views looking south, and another prairie dog habitat. Then the trail turns north, and you continue your way back. However, the trail does pass through the large neighborhood which was far below you when hiking on the side of the Hogback Bluff. It was at this point that I wished I had a trail map, once entering the neighborhood there are several paved paths to take and none of them are marked as the Two Brands trail loop.
|Trail goes left or right; I came down the two |
trail tracks from the neighborhood in middle
Map Below; click it to input your personal directions. The trailhead is just 100 yards to the right or east of pin.
Check out some of these other hikes nearby too; Deer Creek Canyon, Roxborough State Park, and Waterton Canyon.
View Larger Map
Hat can be found on my site