South Valley Park

Red Rock Spires at South Valley Park.

Overview

The views within the South Valley Park are stunning, and it is easy to see why those with deep pockets have chosen to make this valley their homes. The sandstone spires that dot the trails of the park are picturesque to say the least. All of the rock spires in the park are fenced off to keep would be climbers at bay which severely distracts from the natural beauty of the area. For an aerial view of the park take the Lyons back trail, Grazing Elk trail, or head over to Deer Creek Park for great views of the whole area. The trails in the park are easy with little elevation gain, and there are paved paths for those that are looking for a great place to take their road bikes or strollers. While there are not many opportunities for a picnic in the area there is an abundance of trails. If you are looking to make some trail connections, Deer Creek and Hildebrand Ranch Parks are a very short distance away and have interconnecting access trails.

7.4 Miles of Trails

Park Details:

  • Dogs are allowed but must be leashed.
  • Hikers allowed
  • Mountain Bikers Allowed
  • Centaurs Equestrians
  • There is an outhouse at the southernmost parking lot
  • Flush Toilet facilities and water fountains at northern most parking lot
  • All of the trails are well marked and easy to follow
  • Picnic area at northern parking lot
  • Camping is not allowed in the park
  • Park hours are one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset.
  • Little elevation change on all trails
  • Hunting or firearms are not permitted
  • Beautiful red sandstone pillars
  • No Entrance fees

Emergency contacts:

Jefferson County Sheriff’s office @ (303) 277-0211

If the event is life threatening dial 911

Quick Reference  Map

A static copy of the parks map can be downloaded to your phone from Jefferson County Parks

As always free GPX files are available to help you plan your next trip.

Cathy Johnson trail

Difficulty Rank3 (Easy)
Views Rank3
Distance Rank2.1 Miles
Time NeededAbout 40 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trail: Columbine trail
  • Light elevation gain/loss
  • No tree cover
  • Closest parking area: There is parking at the trailhead off Deer Creek Canyon Rd. or South Valley Rd.

Trailhead directions: Starts from either parking pull off

Trail Highlights:

  • More of a service road than a trail

Review:

This is a dirt road or more of an access trail than a true hiking trail, but its flat surface and the fact that there is little elevation change makes it a great option if you are looking for a trail run that is close to Denver. The trail runs through a canyon between the hog back and the South Valley Park on the west side of the ridge. The views are nice along the trail but are nothing in comparison to the scenery on the west side in South Valley Park. There is no tree cover on the trail but you can get some reprieve from the sun if you jump on the Columbine trail when the opportunity arises.

Columbine Trail

Difficulty Rank4 (Easy)
Views Rank3
Distance Rank1.1 Miles
Time NeededAbout 23 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Cathy Johnson Trail and the Lyons Back trails
  • Small change in elevation
  • Scrub oak for most of the trail offers some shade.
  • Closest parking area: There is parking at the trailhead off Deer Creek Canyon Rd. or South Valley Rd.

Trailhead directions: S-Cathy Johnson Trail either direction

Trail Highlights:

  • Scrub oak and views of the Valley between the ridges

Review:

Sporting a little tree cover, this Columbine trail is located about 1/2 mile in from either the north or the south entrances for the Cathy Johnson trail. The trail offers much better views than the Cathy Johnson trail and is a popular trail for mountain bikers and hikers alike. There is not much in the form of elevation change, but this is a decent place to strut through the woods nonetheless.

Coyote Song Trail

Difficulty Rank2 (Easy)
Views Rank6
Distance Rank1.5 miles
Time NeededAbout 32 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Lyons Back, Grazing Elk, Swallow, and Valley View trails
  • Very little elevation change
  • Very little tree cover
  • Closest parking area: South lot

Trailhead directions Starts at parking lot

Trail Highlights:

  • Amazing rock formations
  • Vivid red rock formations
  • Meadow views
  • OneSunChasers favorite trail in this park

Review:

True this is an easy trail and it’s very close to Denver, but the views are amazing. There are red sandstone pillars everywhere you turn. The valley is truly beautiful so make sure you bring your camera along for the trip. The trail has little in the way of elevation change making it a fantastic trail for the elderly and those with small children. The trail runs from the Valley road in the northern reaches of the park down to the southern parking lot.

Grazing Elk Trail

Difficulty Rank4 (Easy)
Views Rank6
Distance Rank2.5 miles
Time NeededAbout 52 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Coyote Song, Valley View, and Rattle Snake Gulch trails
  • Slight elevation changes
  • Very little tree cover
  • Closest parking area: There is a parking pull off just after Grizzly Dr. on the south side of the road

Trailhead directions: Cross Deer Creek Canyon Rd. | S-Rattlesnake Gulch on the north side of the road | Either R or L on Grazing Elk Trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Sweeping views of red rock formations
  • Views of prairie

Review:

Nice flat trail with great views of the surrounding rock formations and the meadows that surround them. This is a good hike or bike ride for those that are looking for a nice stroll but don’t want the hustle and bustle of the rest of the park. I have seen deer on this trail several times and they are not at all bothered by the presence of people, it in fact it sometime takes some effort to keep them at a distance as they will walk right up to you to check out what’s going on. There is no tree cover on this trail so protection from the sun is a must.

Lyons Back Trail

Rock steps on Lyons Back trail in South Valley Park
Rock Steps at South Valley
Difficulty Rank5 (Moderate)
Views Rank4
Distance Rank0.2 miles
Time NeededAbout 6 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Coyote Song and Columbine trails
  • Moderate elevation change
  • Partial tree cover
  • Closest parking area: North lot

Trailhead directions S-Coyote Song Trail | L-Lyons Back Trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Great overview of the park

Review:

While rated as moderate the short 0.2 mile stent will not leave your breathless from exertion but the views might. Lyons Back trail also offers a great connection to the Columbine trail that runs on the east side if the ridge. The trail presents a unique view of the surrounding park, but the power lines that run up the trail spoil the natural beauty that this valley exudes.

Prairie Falcon Trail

Difficulty Rank3 (Easy)
Views Rank4
Distance Rank0.5 miles
Time NeededAbout 10 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Coyote song, Swallow trails
  • Little elevation change
  • Very little tree cover
  • Closest parking area: North lot
  • Trailhead directions: S-Sparrow Trail | R or L on Prairie Falcon Trail (Right leads to South Valley Rd.)

Trail Highlights:

  • Meadow Views
  • Rock Spire views

Review:

Prairie Falcon trail is a great trail if you are looking to get to Swallow trail and make your way to the more northern parking lot. The trail is very flat, and can be used to make some loop trail options in the park. The trail also runs through a meadow with a wetlands area and eventually leads out to the road. There is no tree cover to speak of on this trail, but the views of rock spires are plentiful.

Swallow Trail

Difficulty Rank2 (Easy)
Views Rank4
Distance Rank0.8 miles
Time NeededAbout 17 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Prairie Falcon Trail, Coyote Song trails
  • Hiker only trail.
  • Minor elevation change
  • Little tree cover
  • Closest parking area: North lot

Trailhead directions: Trail starts from parking lot

Trail Highlights:

  • There is a private reservoir with no public access next to this trail.
  • Great Meadow views
  • Great views of the rock spires

Review:

If you are looking for an easy stroll with great views this is the trail for you. The trail has little elevation change, good views all around save for power lines and houses in the distance and a plethora of bird life stirring in the scrub oak along the trail.

Valley View Trail

Difficulty Rank1 (Easy)
Views Rank3
Distance Rank1.2 miles
Time NeededAbout 24 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Coyote Song, Grazing Elk trails
  • Gradual elevation changes
  • No tree cover
  • Closest parking area: South lot

Trailhead directions Trail runs along the west side of South valley Rd.

Trail Highlights:

  • Great Meadow views
  • Great views of the rock spires

Review:

Skirting the South Valley road along the entirety of the park, this trail is perfect for those on wheels, or those that are not looking to walk in the dirt. Essentially this is not so much of a trail as it is a bike path off of the main road.

All the information listed in this post is also available in an E-book which can be purchased from Amazon. Please consider purchasing a copy, or one of the other outdoor guides we have available!

Front Range Hikes

Looking for Free Colorado Camping?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s