Tucked into the foothills of Jefferson County is an open space park ready to challenge your fitness level: Reynolds Park. This park is easy to ignore. It’s 20 miles from C-470. It’s five miles off a main highway (Highway 285). However, Reynolds Park is a place with fascinating history and two challenging loops. First, let’s tackle the Raven’s Roost/Eagle’s View/Oxen Draw trails.
From the main parking lot (directions below), walk down the dirt path to the sign board. Grab a map, follow the path around the bathroom and hike along the Elkhorn Trail. When you see the sign for the Oxen Draw Trail, remember this spot, you’ll be coming back. For now, follow the Elkhorn Trail to Raven’s Roost.
At the Raven’s Roost Trail, take a deep breath and get ready to climb. This trail gains about 500 feet in about 0.6 miles. The trail is a nice, wide, tree-lined road, but if you come at mid-day, it may be hard to find shade. Better to tackle this trail on a cooler day or in the morning or evening. At the trail split, take the Eagle’s View Trail.
The Eagle’s View Trail is a treat. There are some steep sections, but they never last very long. The best part of this 2.2 mile trail are the two scenic stops with impressive views. Enjoy each of the panoramic vistas. The first one is labeled with a camera on the park map. The second one is officially called the “Eagle’s View.” These are good spots to think about the people who visited this spot on the pack trains traveling between Denver and Leadville and the Mormons who once settled in this area. Between 1913 and 1942 the park was operated as a dude ranch known as “Idylease”. Teachers and ministers from as far away as the East Coast would spend their summers at the ranch to enjoy fishing, horseback riding, tennis, hiking, and croquet.
At the next trail split, turn right and take the Oxen Draw Trail. From here, enjoy the downhill trek through the trees, along a stream. There are lots of rocks, so watch your footing. The trail does get steep at times as it drops 600 feet in 0.8 miles.
At the Elkhorn Trail split, use your map to work your way back to the main parking lot.
Details: The loop is about 4 miles with about 1,200 feet of elevation gain. If you’re ready for more, then head for the Hummingbird/Songbird Loop on the other side of Foxton Road.
Directions: From C-470 and Highway 285, take Highway 285 south for about 14 miles to the right side exit to Foxton Road. Drive Foxton Road about 5 miles to the large dirt parking lot on the right side of the road.
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