Trail Length: 6.64 miles (roundtrip)
Trailhead Elevation: 6,164’
High Point: 6,744’
Elevation Gain: +580’ (Total Elevation Gain: 896’)
Trailhead Location: The Button Rock Preserve Loop begins at the end of County Road 80 just northwest of Lyons, Colorado. From Lyons, take US 36 west 4 miles to County Road 80. Turn Left on County Road 80 for 2.8 miles to the dead end at the Button Rock Preserve parking lot. The trail begins just beyond the security gate on the service road.
A couple of weeks ago we decided to finally hike at Ralph Price Reservoir in the Button Rock Preserve. We first attempted to hike there three years ago in June of 2013. Before we arrived at the parking lot of the trail head, we were stopped by a park ranger who told us the area was closed that day as they were looking for a missing person. Before we made it back there, in September of 2013 the area was hit with a catastrophic flood which closed Ralph Price Reservoir for nearly two years while repairs were being made. It opened back up in June of 2015. So, finally over Memorial Day weekend of 2016 we made the hike.
We started down the trail which is actually a service road along North St. Vrain Creek. After 0.75 miles we came to the Sleep Lion Trail junction (6,135’).
We started down the single-track trail and Lisa became busy photographing the wildflowers along the trail.
We came across a hot pink cactus in bloom which we don’t see often. We have seen many yellow ones but not pink.
More wildflowers – this time some pretty yellow daisies.
After 1.75 miles from the trailhead, we came to the great views of Ralph Price Reservoir with Longs Peak (14,259’) and Mt. Meeker (13,911’)
After taking in the wonderful views, we continued down the trail which led us to the bottom of the dam. A few more wildflowers on our journey down.
At the bottom (2.7 miles : 6,253′) the water was coming out with quite a force from the opening in the bottom of the dam.
After watching the forceful flow of water for a while, we continued up the right side of the dam to get to the top to see the reservoir. Looking down on the way we had come up.
Once on top of the dam, we had great views looking across the water.
We took a lunch break at the lake and took in the views.
After our break we continued along the shore and came across a beautiful meadow of flowers.
From here we headed back down the service road to North St. Vrain Creek. We could see where the water had ripped through the area during the 2013 flood.
A few more wildflowers as we headed back towards the parking lot.
The map of our route:
So, after three years of waiting, we finally had a successful hike to Ralph Price Reservoir! It was worth the wait!