Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
880.00 ft (268.22 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
4.50 mi (7.24 km)
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The difference a few miles and a couple of thousand feet can make! Meyer Ranch Park is part of the Jefferson County's (JeffCo) open space series. With 667 acres and a trail network that takes you from soothing meadows to mountain tops, Meyer Ranch Park is an ideal destination for hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians. There are mellow options for families with younger children and during winter some of the lower loops are ideal for cross-country skiing. 

The summit is unnamed and easily accessible by Colorado standards. At the top, you get views of Conifer to the west, Kenosha Mountains in the southwest and Legault Mountain to the southeast. The hike also provides a front row seat to Colorado's pine bark beetle infestation. Between 8,200 and 8,600 feet, the forest is filled with the scraggly remains of dead lodgepole snags while the ground looks like, what is best described as a giant-sized game of pick-up sticks. Look closer at some of the dead trees and you'll see the bore marks from the trees' army of destructive invaders. Find a quiet place, stand near a living lodgepole and you may hear the tiny raspy sound of a larvae chewing its way through its victim's inner bark, which effectively girdles the tree preventing the products of photosynthesis from reaching the upper branches. 

Despite the grim sequence of ecology facing the lodgepoles, the trails are beautiful. Hikers wind through stands of aspen, and mixed groves of ponderosa, spruce and lodgepole. Views from above, looking down on the canopy are verdant. 

The 4.5-mile hike to the summit includes a combination of loops and there-and-back again segments of trails. From the parking lot follow Owl's Perch through grassy, wildflower rich meadows that are a favorite grazing ground of elk and mule deer. At the junction veer left to follow Sunny Aspen. The climb is steady but not strenuous. After one-half mile turn left on Old Ski Run Trail. Rocky sections, seasonal creeks, and a few switchbacks make this portion interesting. After about three-quarter mile Old Ski Run Trail becomes a loop. At the trail's north end a small spur leads up to a pile of large boulders. These are easy to climb and represent the peak of the small mountain. Scramble up for beautiful views of the Kenosha Mountains to the west. 

To return, follow Old Ski Run Trail back to Sunny Aspen. When you reach Sunny Aspen, instead of retracing your steps, turn left and follow the remaining section of Sunny Aspen that you haven't yet covered. This will curve around and connect with Lodge Pole Loop. At the junction turn left and trail will meander alternating between meadows and forest. After roughly three-quarter mile the trail reconnects with Owl's Perch and back to the parking lot.

 

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Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Mountain views. Varied landscape. Autumn color.

Cons

Highway and shooting range noise.

Trailhead Elevation

7,900.00 ft (2,407.92 m)

Highest point

8,720.00 ft (2,657.86 m)

Features

Big vistas
Big Game Watching
Horseback riding
Shelters
Vault toilet

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Biking
Horseback

Permit required

No

Location

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