Trail Length: 3 mile loop
Trailhead Elevation: 6,800’ – 7,350’
Trailhead Location: From C-470, take the Morrison Road exit west. The road passes through the small town of Morrison and becomes Highway 74/Bear Creek Road. From C-470, the drive to the park is 8 miles.
Lisa and I decided to explore another new park/trail a couple of weeks ago. Always looking for a new trail to explore, I realized we had never hiked in O’Fallon Park. I guess I’ve always overlooked this park as I’m often looking at trails in the Jefferson County Open Space parks when looking for someplace to hike close to home. Although O’Fallon Park is located in Jefferson County, it is actually part of the Denver Mountain Parks. O’Fallon Park was created after Martin J. O’Fallon donated 860 acres of land to the City and County of Denver in 1938. O’Fallon is one of several parks along Bear Creek in Bear Creek Canyon.
Shortly before 1:00pm we headed out. We drove through the small mountain town of Morrison on our way up to O’Fallon Park. However, the police had Highway 74 blocked just on the west side of town so we had to turn around and take the longer way around to get to the park by driving back to C-470, then northwest to I-70, I-70 west to the Evergreen exit, and then down into Evergreen and back east to get to O’Fallon Park. We later found out there was a motorcycle accident on Highway 74, which caused the road closure.
After our detour, we finally arrived at the O’Fallon Park trailhead.
We parked and headed on up the trail. The trails were not very well marked from the parking area and we almost headed up the wrong trail. Our plan was to hike the Meadow View Loop but we almost headed up the Picnic Loop instead. There were also no trail maps at the trailhead. Fortunately, I had printed off a small map from the internet and had also printed off a trail description from another hiking website that helped us get onto the right trail.
After passing a small picnic area, we followed an old road along Bear Creek. A shot of a break in the ice along the frozen creek.
A short distance down the old road, we came to a bridge crossing and a sign indicating we had found the Meadow View Loop Trail.
Less than a half mile from the trailhead we came to a marked split for the Meadow View Loop. While you can go either direction, we took the loop clockwise, so we turned left. After another 0.15 miles, we came to another trail split intersecting with the Bear Creek Trail. We continued to the right on the Meadow View Trail. The trail was snow-packed along this section.
The water droplets on this aspen leaf on the trail caught our eye.
We continued climbing up through the forest. A couple of people on horseback came riding up the trail behind us. We were surprised to see them as the sign at the trailhead indicated that neither horses nor bikes were allowed on this trail. A break in the trees provided us with a view to the northwest.
At 1.10 miles from the trailhead, a sign pointed us toward Vista Point.
We arrived at Vista Point around 2:50pm. Here we had an excellent view of Mt. Evans to the west.
Mt. Evans is one of Colorado’s 14ers (peaks over 14,000’ high). It ranks 14th out of the 53 14ers in Colorado. It is also home to the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, America’s highest paved automobile road.
We found a giant marble rock which we thought made a great place for our lunch stop.
Beautiful views in all directions from the vista point.
The clouds and sun provided for some great photos.
After our lunch break, we headed back onto the loop around 3:15pm.
A shot of the late afternoon sun along the trail.
We continued back down the trail, arriving back down along Bear Creek around 4:00pm. We captured some nice shots along the creek with some partial reflections between the ice of the creek.
A reflection of an old stone chimney.
Some close-up shots of ice crystals on the creek.
A look down the creek.
After enjoying the late afternoon sun and the quiet of the creek, we headed back to car and made our home around 4:30pm.