Darby's Top Reasons to Love this Hike:
1. The chance to get my feet wet in the North Fork of the South Platt (say that 3 times fast). This river is cool, fast, and deep!
2. You can connect to trails that are part of the Pike National Forest. Start off with a short walk around Pine Lake ( 0.6 mile), then walk up the steep stairs to the Park View trail (0.8 miles), which connects to the Strawberry Jack Trail or the Buck Gulch Trail (1 mile), to connect to a series of trails that create a 7.7 mile loop. The Strawberry Jack Trail climbs steeply for the first mile and intersects with the Homestead Trail, the Skipper Trail, and back to the Buck Gulch Trail.
3. This area has a lot of burned and fallen trees. It makes you stop and think about how fires affect the land many years later. Many of these trails are new because of subsequent flooding after the 1996 fire.
4. Open to bikers, hikers, and horses. Pine Valley Ranch has fishing, picnic shelters , and easy or difficult trails for multiple uses. There is an observatory program open to the public (scheduled through the Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Preserve 720-497-7600). More information about the park at Jefferson County Open Space
5. Dogs on leash are welcome!
County: Jefferson County
Round Trip Length: Varies: from 0.6 to 8.8, you can choose your ease and length. Bikes are not allowed on some of the trails.
Start and End Elevation: none to mild/moderate
Skill Level: Easy for hikers, moderate for bikers
Pet Regulations: Dogs are allowed on leash only
Weather: Almost all weather
Picnic Tables: Yes, several on the river
Restroom : Yes