Trail Length: 6 Mile Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 6,607’
Trailhead Location: From Interstate 25 in Castle Rock, take exit 182 which is the Wolfensberger/Wilcox exit. Turn west. Drive 1.4 miles on Wolfensberger to Coachline and turn right. Take Coachline Road 0.5 miles to the Ridgeline Open Space trailhead on your left.
I did a little research this past weekend and found another new trail in the area to check out. Since we had had another April snowstorm earlier in the week, I needed to look for lower elevation hikes unless we wanted to go snowshoeing. I came across the Ridgeline Open Space, which is part of the Castle Rock Open Space park system. We have hiked a few other trails that are part of the Douglas County Open Space Parks just south of Castle Rock but this would be something new.
Ridgeline Open Space is just a little over 30 miles from home. The park covers about 370 acres and traverses open grasslands and some area of Gambel Oak. The nice thing about this park is that it offers many loop options ranging from 1.2 miles to 10.2 miles. So, you don’t necessarily have to decide how far you want to hike before you start. You can kind of play it by ear and decide as you hike when you want to cut off and return to the trailhead.
Although we saw a few other hikers and one trail runner, the trails were filled with mountain bikers today. This park certainly is a great place for biking, however, it is slightly irritating as a hiker to have to continually move out of the way for the bikes (and I’m sure it’s probably irritating for the bikers as well to have to slow down until the hikers move). Some parks and open space areas have gone to a system on weekends of alternating days (between Saturdays and Sundays) for bikers and hikers. For example, one weekend may be: Saturday – hikers only, Sunday – bikers only. Then the next weekend it will swap and be: Saturday – bikers only, Sunday – hikers only. Although you have to check ahead before you head out and it limits you to only the one weekend day, both bikers and hikers can be out on the trail on their designated day without having to worry about yielding to the other. The system works fairly well for busy trails.
After a few more ups and downs from valley to ridge top, we were back on the ridge with another great view to the west. We had been on the trail for about an hour and thought we would take advantage of the bench and stop and take in the view.
A shot looking down the valley. You can see a mountain biker on the trail ahead of us.
As we looped back and were heading back to the east, we had some more great views behind us of the trail we had been on and the mountains to the west.
This shot was taken back near the beginning the trail. As you can tell from most of the pictures, there are very few trees in the area. This small group of green pine trees stands out against the brown landscape of the grasslands and small bushes, making quite a contrast.
We made our way back to trailhead after completing our 6-mile loop.