Sunday, May 3, 2015

Reynolds Park: Oxen Draw-Eagle View-Raven's Roost Loop

Distance: 5 mile loop
Elevation: 7,265 ft - 8,179 ft
Elevation Gain: 914 ft
Bathroom at Trailhead: Yes
Dogs: On leash (Jefferson County Open Space)
Date Hiked: 23 August 2013

Banner Peak viewed from the Eagle View Trail in the Reynold's Park Open Space
Reynolds Park Open Space south of Conifer contains some pleasant Front Range trails that will get you moving even in the off season. On this trip I went with a group and we hiked up the Oxen Draw Trail for 0.6 miles to the Eagle View trail (2.3 miles) and then back down the Raven's Roost Trail (0.6 miles). This route traverses variable terrain with lush meadows near the parking lot, dark piney woods on the way to the view point, and sandy Ponderosa slopes on the way back down.

Trail map. Note that while the Elkhorn Trail is listed, it is far more convoluted on the ground.

Starting out on the Elkhorn Trail that traverses lush summer grasses. You can see why this might have been a good place to feed a mule train.

The one tricky aspect of this route is the Elkhorn Nature Trail, which serves as an intermediary connector trail to both the Oxen Draw Trail going up and the Raven's Roost Trail coming down. The Elkhorn Trail contains numerous social connectors and winds in a loop near the river. Be advised that finding the exact route might take a couple of tries.

Starting out on the Oxen Draw Trail. The lower reaches are shaded with lush riparian plants.

As the route climbs, the area becomes more wooded but still dark, a pleasant respite on a hot summer day.
The best aspect of this area is the middle portion of the Eagle's Roost Trail, which travels along an open ridge with views of the surround foothills. Here rocky Banner Peak (8, 504 ft) stands out in sharp relief.

Looking southeast across the foothills. That is Platte View Drive in the distance.

Hiker lounging on a log bench with a view of Banner Peak.
Reynolds Park does have an interesting history.  Before it became open space, it was once a stop for pack trains traveling between Denver and Leadville. Now locals can zip up the highway, hike, and return home in the time it took to water a mule!

The upper reaches of the Eagle View Trail continue along an open ridge.

Heading down the Raven's Roost Trail
Finally, this route is not open to mountain bikers, which lends a level of serenity that other trails in the area don't have.

The lower sections of the Raven's Roost Trail are dry slopes filled with Sagebrush and Ponderosa Pine.


Christina said...

Is there any way to get alerts when you post? Or follow this blog somehow? Maybe get an email? I love your blog so much! I just want to be in the loop. :)

sylvia murphy said...

Hi Christina,
Scroll down to the very bottom of the web page. There are two links to subscribe to an RSS feed that will notify you.

I am not posting very much these days. Been doing most of my hiking out of state.