|Happy Rock dog on the Red Rocks trail|
Distance: There are many miles of trails starting from this trailhead; but the main trail is a 4.2 mile loop that can be completed in about 4 hours, or less. The trail loop starts with the .3 mile 'Village Walk' trail, which continues to the Red Rocks trail for .8 miles. Next there is an intersection where the loop starts and ends; take either path for a 2 mile loop, and then follow the path you came back to the parking lot.
Difficulty: Easy for about 1 mile, then moderate as the trail gains elevation.
Specs: There are picnic tables, grills, and restrooms (pit toilets) at the trailhead, and along the river. There is ample parking during the week, but the weekends often find crowding. Overflow parking across the street. Dogs need to be leashed per Open Space rules.
Getting there: From I-70 take exit # 259 South toward Hwy 93 for .2 miles to the trailhead on the right or west side of the road. There is a large Open Space sign at the entrance. Click here for the trail map and here for more info.
Trails in the area: There are several trails nearby that are easily accessible; one of my favorites is Hogback Mountain/Dakota Ridge; another is climbing to the top of Mount Morrison.
The loop trail at Matthews Winters has a lot of diversity, it starts with open fields that are filled with cactus roses and wildflowers when we have gotten enough rain in the springtime. There is a river crossing after 1.2 miles for your dogs to cool down, then the trail continues around the loop with views at the top of the Morrison Slide trail, and amazing Red Rock formations on the backside of the mountain hiking down to the Red Rocks Trail.
Views from the meadow along the Village Walk Trail which is the start of the hike.
The only confusing part of the trail, this is a steep downhill (hard to tell from photo) and when you see this hill, there are other trail splits; just continue down the hill as the photo shows and then continue back up the mountain on the Red Rocks trail. (there is a sign to signal this turn)