You are here

Pets allowed
No
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
Loop
Distance
2.30 mi (3.70 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Dramatic red-orange sandstone hogbacks, spires, and monoliths slice through the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at Roxborough State Park. Meandering beneath these behemoths feels definitively prehistoric, and taking an afternoon to enjoy this 3,500-acre Colorado Natural Area promises to deliver show-stopping views year round.

If you only swing in for an afternoon or are with kids, the Fountain Valley Trail hike is an excellent middle-of-the-road choice in terms of length and difficulty compared to the other hikes within the state park. It’s even ADA accessible most of the time—when the weather is fair and the ground is dry, it’s fairly easily navigable, and it’s always very well maintained. 

This 2.3-mile loop meanders through prairie grasslands, scrub oak meadows, and evergreen forests, and it serves up an excellent sampling of both the stunning geology and the impressively varied ecology of the park. At the height of the loop sit the preserved remains of Henry S. Persse’s 1903 vision to convert what was then Washington Park into a premiere tourist destination, complete with a golf course, a well-stocked lake, quaint cottages, and a state-of-the-art electric train to transport its patrons from nearby Englewood. The second level of the house that’s built into the hill is what remains of his own private quarters—guests would dine in the kitchen below.

Several years after he set out to realize his vision, he and visiting guests were addressing the ethical implications of marring the magnificence of the landscape with human infrastructure. His guest book made it into the historical records, and one prominent and influential Denver man wrote, "A park made by Nature's hand alone—the arts of man could only mar it." Eventually, Persse’s work was put on hold, and after his death, his family sold the Colorado State Division of Parks a 500-acre swath of land that was later expanded to become the 3,500-acre park it is today.

Thanks to Persse’s family and the work of various state park organizations, the park is home to a remarkable variety of plant and animal life, and visitors can almost appreciate it for how it looked before Persse first took it over. Deer, elk, prairie dog, and rabbit are among the most common mammals to be spotted. The park is also home to over 150 species of birds, 11 species of reptiles, and elusive mammals like mountain lions, coyotes, and black bears.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

State Park Fee

Pros

Primary trail through Roxborough's red sandstone formation. 1903-built historic homestead. Wildlife.

Cons

Dogs, climbing and mountain biking prohibited.

Trailhead Elevation

6,230.00 ft (1,898.90 m)

Net Elevation Gain

110.00 ft (33.53 m)

Address

Roxborough Dr
4751
Littleton, CO 80125
United States

Features

Historically significant
Bird watching
Wildlife
Big Game Watching
Big vistas
Wildflowers
Geologically significant
Big Game Watching

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.