The weather is finally warm, and the beauty of the state is on display. Instead of leaving Mom hanging after a heavy Mother’s Day Brunch, consider hiking a trail in or around Jefferson County.
There are 261 trails cross-crossing the county as a part of the Jefferson County Open Spaces system, according to the JCOS website. A total of 262 miles of trails, many of which connect to longer regional trail systems outside of the county. Some are easily paved jaunts along the county’s many waterways and parks. Others require good shoes and some minor pieces of gear.
The trails Jeffco has to offer are as diverse as a box of Mother’s Day chocolates. You can’t just open the box and start eating. That may lead to a bite into unsavory candy. Picking a trail is the same. It’s not wise to just pull up to a trail and start walking. You may end up in a 26-mile hiking-only space that is unpaved.
Fortunately, the JCOS offers resources to help the public scout a trail before they embark. It’s easy and can be done at the brunch table. The website has an interactive chart that allows users to isolate trails for specific information. Find out how long the trail is, its difficulty level, and its usage (hiking only, or friendly to horses and motor vehicles). An overhead relief map also shows altitude changes and connections to other trails. Pick a trail on the website and get directions to it in minutes on the JCOS website.
Be careful to consider all the information before you go off on any trail. For example, the Cynical Trail, a part of the Cathedral Spires Park trails is short, about a mile. It’s also located in Pine Colorado and is rated one of the most difficult hiking-only trails. That may seem exciting, but JCOS has more information on the hiking trail page. The entire park is closed until July 31 to protect nesting raptor birds. (Also known as birds of prey, raptors are the owls, hawks, eagles, and kestrels that live in Colorado.) Check the trail thoroughly before setting out.
A good trail to try is the 32nd Street trail at Prospect Park in Wheat Ridge. The trail is about three miles long, is paved, and accommodates bikes, wheelchairs, walkers, runners, and others. It’s a multi-use trail that is rated one of the least difficult by the JCOS. It’s quick and allows for a leisurely Sunday stroll.
A few considerations while on the trail
There are a few things to consider before heading off on a trail. Colorado Parks and Wildlife Public Information Officer Bridget O’Rourke recently reminded readers that baby animals and their mothers are out and about in Jeffco.
The JCOS also has a reminder that it is spreading to the public through social media: stay on the trails. The unpaved trails may be muddy from the weather. However, avoiding the mud and water ends up widening the trail, damaging the surrounding plant life. The JCOS post says this leads to trail “widening, erosion, and habitat loss for the surrounding area.” To combat this, they advise the public to “Remember to always walk through muddy sections rather than around or avoid muddy trails altogether and choose another trail or park.”
Consider exploring the beauty of space this Mother’s Day. Take Mom for a nice hike, a healthy and happy alternative to the empty post-brunch Sunday.