Deer Creek Canyon Park

View of South Valley Park from Deer Creek Canyon Park.

Deer Creek Canyon Park Overview

Rising above the South Valley park area, nestled along the western edge of the valley between where the mountains begin and the hog back ends you will find Deer Creek Canyon Park. Trails ranging from a gentle stroll to vigorous workout are found here. The interior trails give a feeling of seclusion as they meander through the forests. If you are hiking in the hotter months keep an eye out for rattlesnakes, particularly in the lower areas of the park as they do enjoy the sun as much as the other occupants of the area. There are many hiker only trails in this park so be sure to look for the signs to let you know where you are allowed to be if you are rolling along.

13.4 Miles of Trails

Deer Creek Canyon Park Details:

  • Dogs are allowed but must be leashed.
  • Hikers allowed
  • Mountain Bikers Allowed
  • Centaurs Equestrians
  • There is a restroom with flush toilets at the parking lot
  • All of the trails are well marked and easy to follow.
  • Camping is not allowed in the park
  • Park hours are one hour before sunrise until one hour past sunset
  • No hunting or firearms allowed
  • No entrance fees
  • Seasonally drinking water is available at parking area

Emergency contacts:

Jefferson County Sheriff’s office @ (303) 277-0211If the event is life threatening dial 911

Quick Reference Map:

Looking down on the hog back from Golden Eagle Trail in Deer Creek Canyon Park.
View of Red rocks on Golden Eagle Trail in Deer Creek Canyon Park

Golden Eagle Trail

Difficulty Rank5 (Moderate)
Views Rank7
Distance Rank0.5 miles
Time NeededAbout 11 Minutes

Golden Eagle Trail Details:

  • Connecting trails: Red Mesa Loop, and Plymouth Creek trail
  • Hiker only trail
  • Decent elevation change
  • No tree cover
  • Closest parking area: Deer Creek Canyon parking lot

Trailhead directions: S-Plymouth Creek Trail | R-Red Mesa Loop | R-Golden Eagle Trail

Golden Eagle Trail Highlights:

  • Great views of the South Valley Park area
  • Good views out to Denver
  • OneSunChasers favorite trail in this park

Golden Eagle Trail Review:

Golden Eagle trail is a short easy to moderate hike off Red Mesa Loop that leads you out along a ridge that overlooks the parking area. All of South Valley Park and out of the Valley into the Denver area stretches before you near the end of the trail. The trail does not have a huge amount of elevation change but you can expect to get a decent work out if you keep the pace brisk. There are often birds of prey hunting in the area high above the trees and this trail offers an opportunity to watch them catch the thermals on their ride up to a better vantage point.

Homesteader Trail

Difficulty Rank3 (Easy)
Views Rank7
Distance Rank1.0 mile
Time NeededAbout 20 Minutes
View of the forest on Homestead trail in Deer Creek Canyon Park
Homestead Trail in Deer Creek Canyon Park

Homestead Trail Details:

  • Connecting trails: Plymouth Mountain and Plymouth Creek trails.
  • Little elevation change
  • Dense forest
  • Closest parking area: Deer Creek Canyon parking lot

Trailhead directions: S-Plymouth Creek Trail | L-Homesteader Trail

Homestead Trail Highlights:

  • Beautiful Forest trail
  • Hiker only
  • Easy walk

Homestead Trail Review:

This trail has one of the more beautiful forests in the area. Even in the late fall there is plenty of green to be seen and a fairly thick forest teaming with the smaller creatures of the woods. mountain bikers are not allowed on this trail so if you are looking to take a break from them head over to this trail rather than finish out the Plymouth Mountain Trail back down to the Plymouth Creek Trail, which by the way is also a very nice trail.

Meadowlark Trail

Difficulty Rank6 (Moderate)
Views Rank6
Distance Rank1.5 miles
Time NeededAbout 35 Minutes

Meadowlark Trail Details:

  • Connecting trails: Rattlesnake Gulch and Plymouth Creek trails
  • Hiker only trail
  • Respectable amount of elevation change
  • No tree cover
  • Closest parking area: Deer Creek Canyon parking lot

Trailhead directions: Starts at the parking area

Meadowlark Trail Highlights:

  • Views of the South Valley park area
  • Denver skyline

Meadowlark Trail Review:

Meadowlark trail is a nice moderate hike up the side of Bill Couch Mountain. There are lots of great photo opportunities along the way and you wind up the hill side. This trail is just as popular as the Plymouth Creek Trail which this trail meets on the way up the hill, but if you are not looking to meet mountain bikers this is the path you should choose. The trail is exposed the entirety of the way so if it is very hot and sunny you will want some protection from the sun.

Rattlesnake Gulch

Difficulty Rank5 (Moderate)
Views Rank3
Distance Rank0.8
Time NeededAbout 19 Minutes

Rattlesnake Gulch Details:

  • Connecting trails: Grazing Elk, Plymouth creek, and Meadowlark trails.
  • Easy changes in elevation
  • Scrub oak tree cover
  • Closest parking area: Deer Creek Canyon parking lot

Trailhead directions: Starts at the parking area

RATTLESNAKE GULCH Trail Highlights:

  • Scrub oak tree cover
  • Views of the South Valley Park


RATTLESNAKE GULCH Review:

Rattlesnake gulch lives up to the name, this short hike not only connects Deer Creek Canyon Park to South Valley Park, and it also connects you with the chance to spot a rattler. Just remember to keep your distance. The trail if taken from the Deer Creek Canyon parking lot heads downhill back to Grizzly drive. Once you have reached Grizzly drive you will need to follow the road north for about a hundred yards to where you can cross W. Deer Creek Canyon Rd. and meet up with the steeper section of the trail that leads you onto Grazing Elk and into the South Valley Park. If you are looking for a short but vigorous workout I would suggest parking in the pull off area just past Grizzly Dr. and hike the trail up into Deer Creek Canyon Park.

Red Mesa Loop

Difficulty Rank5 (Moderate)
Views Rank5
Distance Rank2.4 miles
Time NeededAbout 48 Minutes

Red Mesa Loop Details:

  • Connecting trails: Golden Eagle and Plymouth Creek trails.
  • Minor elevation change
  • Partially forested
  • Closest parking area: Deer Creek Canyon parking lot

Trailhead directions: S-Plymouth Creek Trail | R or L on Red Mesa Loop

Red Mesa Loop Trail Highlights:

  • Views of Denver
  • Beautiful forest
  • Views of a probable Dwarf mining operation

Red Mesa loop Review:

The trail is on the lower side of moderate for sure, but you will be doing a bit of hiking just to get to it. The views along the trail are good but no better than the other trails in the park. It is somewhat popular with mountain bikers but because of the distance traveled on other trails to reach this one, it is less traveled by hikers. There is a good mix of tree cover and a couple exposed areas with great meadow views. The trail is well marked and easy to follow as it loops around the summit.

Scenic View Trail

Difficulty Rank5 (Moderate)
Views Rank7
Distance Rank0.4
Time NeededAbout 11 Minutes

Scenic View Trail Details:

  • Connecting trails: Plymouth Mountain Trail
  • Minor elevation change
  • Light tree cover
  • Closest parking area: Deer Creek Canyon parking lot

Trailhead directions: S-Plymouth Creek Trail | R-Plymouth Mountain Trail | L-Scenic View Trail

Scenic View Trail Highlights:

  • Denver skyline views
  • South Valley Park views
  • Chatfield Reservoir can be seen in the distance

Scenic View Trail Review:

This is a short trail that leads out to some rock outcroppings at the top of Plymouth Mountain and offers up some truly great views of the surrounding area. There are lots of smaller paths that lead off this trail to cliff drop offs and views of all the different sides of the mountain. Be sure to stop off and prowl around the rock spires near the start of the trail too.

Plymouth Creek Trail

Difficulty Rank8 (Hard)
Views Rank5
Distance Rank2.3 miles
Time NeededAbout 45 Minutes

Plymouth Creek Trail Details:

  • Connecting trails: Rattlesnake Gulch, Meadows, Red Mesa loop, Homesteader and, Plymouth Mountain trails
  • Strong elevation change in places
  • Strong tree cover
  • Closest parking area: Deer Creek Canyon parking lot

Trailhead directions: Starts at the parking area

Plymouth Creek Trail Highlights:

  • Scrub Oak that quickly turns into a Pine forest with towering cliffs and a steep incline

Plymouth Creek Trail Review:

This trail starts of at a modest climb while you wander down the trail with million dollar homes surrounding you and Lockheed Martin in the distance. As you reach the valley where Plymouth Mountain and Bill Couch Mountain meet the ascent begins to get steeper and steeper. While you will not need to use your hands to do any of the climbing you are going to need to stop for some rests if you are not in pretty good shape. The views are great along the way and there is plenty of shade to keep you protected from the sun. Be on the lookout for mountain bikers in the area as they sometimes have the tendency to be coming down the trail rather fast.

Plymouth Mountain Trail

Difficulty Rank5 (Moderate)
Views Rank7
Distance Rank2.1 miles
Time NeededAbout 45 Minutes

Plymouth Mountain Details:

  • Connecting trails: Plymouth Creek, Homesteader, Scenic View and Black Bear Trails
  • Gradual elevation change
  • Partially forested
  • Closest parking area: Deer Creek Canyon parking lot

Trailhead directions: S-Plymouth Creek Trail | L-Plymouth Mountain Trail

Plymouth Mountain Trail Highlights:

  • Views of the Denver skyline
  • South Valley Park views
  • Chatfield Reservoir can be seen in the distance

Plymouth Mountain Review:

You might as well just leave the camera out on this trail as there is always a great view that needs to be in one of your soon to be new favorite photos. The trail is less demanding than the climb up Plymouth Creek trail, but those that are not in pretty good shape and moving along at a decent pace will need to take a minute to catch their breath and take in the scenery of the area. The loop is a good mix of trees and some exposed areas so there is some shelter from either the heat of the sun or the cool of the forest depending on the time of year you are hiking the trail.

All the information listed in this post is also available in an E-book which can be purchased from Amazon. All sales assist in the creation of more content!

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