Summer is racing by at the speed of light and this weekend is no time for the indoors. With more days of sunshine than any other state, the Denver area offers some of the most challenging and spectacular hikes. One such hiking area is just 25 miles south of Denver called Roxborough State Park. Well known for its stunning red rocks, trails, and wildlife, this park is the perfect way to spend a day. Along with unique guided programs, it offers six trails of various levels for exploration and exercise.
A decent challenge, the Carpenter Peak trail leads hikers up an elevation gain of about 1,000 feet through narrow dirt and somewhat rocky paths. Although the hike can be done in tennis shoes, hiking boots are recommended because of the minor rock scrambling at the peak. This 6.4 mile adventure through sun and shade will land the hiker at the top of some rocks with a panoramic view of both downtown Denver and the Roxborough area. For some this provides training for future fourteeners, while for others, it is less than a three hour journey through green pines, aspens, and colorful bushes. Because of the lower elevation, this hike should be done outside the heat of the day, or even in the fall when the foliage colors turn to resemble the stark red rock formations.
Directions are fairly simple with an eight mile Southern drive down Wadsworth off C-470. Travelers will then turn left on Waterton road. Make right turn on Rampart Range Road and continue south to North Rampart Range Road and Roxborough Park Road (just before the entrance to Arrowhead golf course), and turn left onto Roxborough Park Road. Take the next right on East Roxborough Drive after the fire station and enter the park. Price per car is $7.00 for a day pass.