Trails traveled: Belcher Hill Trail, Mustang Trail, Longhorn Trail, Shorthorn Trail, Difficulty: Black (Difficult), Blue, (Moderate)
Loop, 5.6 mile round-trip, 1,729ft elevation gain
Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Weather: Clear, Sunny
- Ralston Reservoir
- Mountain Bikers
One of the perks of living in Colorado is that there are hundreds of hikes within a short drive of the Denver Metro area that you can get to and hike after work, possibly every night if you wanted.
I took the short drive after work yesterday to Golden, CO to White Ranch Park. This park is in the front range and has over 20 miles of hikes to explore.
One of the downsides is there are lots of mountain bikers that flock to these trails. I encountered at least ten mountain bikers whizzing by me as I hiked the trails. Thankfully, their bikes makes a lot of noise so I had no problem yielding the right of way and letting them pass while I hiked.
One of the prominent features of this hike was the plentiful amount of wildflowers. There all kinds of wildflowers, Indian Paintbrush, Blue Bells, Canadian Thistle Flowers, Gaillardia Flowers, Asters, and many more. There was every shade of pink, purple, white, yellow flower I’ve ever seen. It was so beautiful as they dotted the slopes of the trail.
The hike was strenuous in parts but not too hard. There trail was rated “black,” but I feel like they were more moderate hikes, not difficult. They did take longer than I am used to. I was looking to do a 6+ mile hike and only ended doing about 5 miles. The elevation gain of 1,729 feet was a factor, and maybe that is why it was rated as difficult.
Because the hike never climbed above 8,000 feet, all of the Spring snow was melted and the trail was very dry. There was one low spot that had a small puddle over the trail, but otherwise I didn’t see any mud or water on this hike.
The view of Ralston Reservoir off in the distance was also an added bonus on the hike that I wasn’t expecting. There were some great views of downtown Denver off in the distance from the hike as well on the trails on the East side of the park.
I am not sure what the wildflower below is, and if anyone knows, please tell me.
All in all, it was an enjoyable hike after a long day of work.