Ridgeline Open Space

Trail Length: 6 Mile Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 6,607’
Difficulty: Easy
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.

We started off down the trail around 11:45am.  We climbed from the parking lot up to the ridge and had a great view of the mountains to the west. Ridgeline Open Space-Continental Divide

We also had great views to the south of Pikes Peak. Ridgeline Open Space-Pikes Peak

A shot of a couple of other hikers on the trail. Ridgeline Open Space

A shot of a mountain biker on the trail. Ridgeline Open Space

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.

A view back to a section of the trail we had just been on. Ridgeline Open Space

I liked the layers of clouds looking back to the east. Ridgeline Open Space-Clouds

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. Ridgeline Open Space-Bob Bench

Ridgeline Open Space-Hiking Boots

Ridgeline Open Space

We came across some gamel oaks on the trail and Lisa got some good shots of the moss growing on the trees. Ridgeline Open Space-tree moss

A shot looking down the valley.  You can see a mountain biker on the trail ahead of us.

Ridgeline Open Space

We came across this fence line along the trail and found it interesting that it had so many turns in it and wasn’t a straight line. Ridgeline Open Space

A small green plant along the trail.  We thought it looked like an “Indian toilet paper” plant with its big, soft leaves. Ridgeline Open Space-Indian Toilet Paper

Looking at the trail down in the valley. Ridgeline Open Space

Here’s a shot of a section of the trail passing through some gamel oaks. Ridgeline Open Space

I loved this view of a lone tree along the ridge. Ridgeline Open Space-lone tree

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.

Ridgeline Open Space-Mountain view

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.

Ridgeline Open Space

We made our way back to trailhead after completing our 6-mile loop.

6 thoughts on “Ridgeline Open Space

  1. Love the idea of endless connecting loops. The plant looks like lamb’s ear…maybe? The leaves of lamb’s ear are incredibly soft as you can imagine from the name. Thanks for taking us on the trail with you!

  2. Interesting solution for Bikers, there is a huge discussion here in Switzerland too but I don’t think this system of alternating weekends would work here. I never had big problems with bikers apart from some run ins but they either stopt so you could pass them or you just let them through.
    I think it might be better to just get dedicated bike trails, of course that dosen’t always work, does it?

    It looks like a great place to hike with the mountain range at the back.

    Cheers

    • Thanks for reading my blog. Bikers and Hikers sharing the trail isn’t a huge problem but more of an annoyance sometimes for me of having to step off the trail to let a biker pass – especially when there are a lot of them on the trail. Most bikers I come across are very nice. Given an option though, I’d prefer to not have to share the trail.

      • Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like to share either. I don’t have a problem with bikers only if they go downhill on a narrow trail and go with a certain speed and don’t look out for hikers or others. Just the possibility of injury don’t really like to think about that…

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