Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lookout Mountain, Boettcher Mansion; a snowy hike on a sunny January day

Clearly, I didn't hike this trail very recently; it was actually hiked in January 2012, but as a busy mama with a 2 month old baby, I didn't get a chance to blog about it until now.  But, its worth the write-up, so here it is!  The trailhead starts at the Boettcher Mansion and Nature Center on the top of Lookout Mountain; which is worth the visit even if you don't like to hike.  The mansion was built as a summer home in 1917 by a prominent business man Charles Boettcher and the property was donated to the Jefferson County Open Space in the late 60s.  Its a beautiful, rustic property on the top of the mountain and is a great place to visit in the springtime with all the wildflowers in the area. 
Lookout Mountain offers a great number of trails and several places to park to pick up these trails.  We decided to hike here because it got us up into the mountains, a little bit, and it's a trail that I hadn't hiked before. 
It was a bright and sunny day in Golden as we drove up Lookout Mountain, and we quickly realized that there would be deep snow along the trail and I hoped it wouldn't be too much of an inconvenience for my sister and brother in law, who didn't bring their hiking boots to Colorado this trip.  However, they braved the snow, and we saw some elk, so it was worth the wet feet and knee deep snow drifts. 

Getting there and Specs:  The address is 910 Colorow Road, Golden CO 80401 and the trailhead can be reached via I-70; if you are driving west, take exit 256 and turn right. Eastbound, use exit 254 and turn left. Then follow the brown highway signs to the mansion, which is about 10 minutes off the highway.   This trail is for hikers only, NO dogs, horses or bikers allowed.   The trail in its entirety is only 1.4 miles, and is very easy. 
The park has a trail map and large parking lot; you can find the map here, and you can find more information about the park on the Jefferson County website here.  

The Hike:  My sister and brother in law were in town to meet their first niece and we of course had to get out on the trail for at least a little hike.  This trail seemed perfect!  It wound through the woods on the forest loop before heading into the meadow; I heard something off to the right and glanced up and saw two elk running from the forest into the meadow and we were able to snap some photos as they ran by. 

The start of the trail in the snow got a little confusing, and we had a hard time figuring out where to go, but we managed to get on the Forest Loop Trail and then hooked up with the meadow trail.  We didn't realize dogs weren't allowed until we got there, and decided since there was no-one else around to take them anyway. 

Some of the trail in the 0.6 mile forest loop. 

Magnolia in her Ergo carrier on the trail, she fell asleep pretty quickly and enjoyed the hike snuggled next to me. 
Once out of the forest we continued on the Meadow Loop Trail, which offers views of the city below. 
The Boettcher Mansion offers a lot of cool places to check out; a rock gazebo is pictured above, along with a really cool quite on a tree along the trail.  "Heaven is not a place that you go to when you die, its the moment in life when you feel alive." 

The Boettcher Mansion is above; a great place for weddings, social gatherings and more!  I'd love to have had my wedding here, or it would be a great place to take photos! 

Here is a trail map of the park, you can connect to several other trails from this parking lot.
The full loops of this trail are only 1.4 miles long, however there are many other hikes in the area including the Beaver Brook Trail which spans 8.65 miles from Genesee to Lookout Mountain and The Grant Terry Park which follows Clear Creek near the bottom of Lookout Mountain are two of the closest trails. 
Please leave a comment or questions in the section below! 

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