Matthew Winters Park

View or Red Rocks Ampitheater from Dakota Ridge Trail.

Overview

Matthew Winter Park offers some great easy to moderate hiking opportunities close to Denver. With easy access to the park from I-70 just off of C-470 and access from US 285, you can quickly get to the park no matter what direction you are coming from. The park offers hiker only, biker only and equestrian only trails. Dogs are allowed in the park, and the parks trails are accessible year round. If you are looking for a great place to take the kids Dinosaur ridge lies within the park boundaries offering a look into Colorado’s prehistoric past.

9.2 Miles of Trails

Park Details:

  • Dogs are allowed but must be leashed.
  • Hiking
  • Mountain Biking on most trails
  • Centaurs err…. Equestrians
  • Climbing
  • Picnicking
  • There are clean restrooms at both parking lots that emit zero odor.
  • All of the trails are well marked and easy to follow.
  • Park entrance is one hour before sunrise
  • Park closure is one hour after sunset
  • Camping is not allowed in the park
  • Hunting or firearms use is not allowed
  • No Entrance fees

Emergency contacts:

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

If the event is life threatening dial: 911

Quick Reference Map

Static versions of the park map can be downloaded to your phone from
Jefferson County Parks

Free GPX files are also available to help you plan your next trip.

Bail out

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)5 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)5
Distance0.4  miles
Time NeededAbout 8 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Dakota ridge, Red Rocks, and Mount Vernon trails
  • Moderately steep switchbacks
  • No tree cover
  • Closest parking area: Red Rocks entrance 2 parking area

Trailhead directions: S- head East towards Dakota ridge | Cross 93 to begin trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Connection to Red Rocks Park trails

Review:

Rather than diving right off the Dakota Ridge trail after you cross Alameda and taking the Red Rocks trail down the hill, you also have the opportunity to follow the ridge for about another half a mile and take this new trail down to the same crossing area that the Red Rocks trail will take you to. There are some nice views of Denver and you get a great view of Bandimere Speedway just before you hit the trailhead. The trail is a short set of switchbacks with persistent views of Red Rocks Amphitheater and meets the Red Rocks trail at the crossing for highway 93.

Cherry Gulch Trail

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)3 (Easy)
Views Rank (1 – 10)3
Distance0.3  miles
Time NeededAbout 6 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Red Rocks, and Morrison Slide trail
  • Little variance in elevation
  • Good tree cover
  • Closest parking area: North lot

Trailhead directions: S-Village Walk | R-Red Rocks Trail | R-Cherry Gulch

Trail Highlights:

  • Small creek

Review:

You will access the Cherry Gulch trail from the Red Rocks Trail at either the south or north trailhead. This is a great little hike if you are looking to shave a little time off your Red Rocks Trail hike. The trailhead will take you slightly up the side of the mountain instead of out into the snaking meadow path portion of the Red Rocks trail. Once on the side of the mountain you will traverse some rocks and drop down a few switchbacks to the creek bed where there is an easy point to cross. Once you make it back up the hill on the more south mountain you will quickly reach the junction with the Red Rocks trail as well as the junction for the Morrison slide trail.

Dakota Ridge

Road leading to Morrison from the Dakota Ridge Trail
Ledge View on Dakota Ridge
Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)5  (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)8
Distance 3.0 miles
Time NeededAbout 46 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Zorro, Village Walk, Bail out, and Red Rocks trails (You must cross 93 to connect the Village walk and Red Rocks trails)
  • Can be noisy from traffic
  • Great trail for a sunrise hike
  • Moderate to steep elevation deviations throughout hike
  • Some tree cover mostly exposed
  • Closest parking area: Stegosaurus lot on the east side of 93

Trailhead directions: Starts at the parking lot

Trail Highlights:

  • Follows the ridge of the hog back
  • Steep rock cliffs
  • Some places on the trail are narrow
  • High cliff faces
  • OneSunChasers favorite trail in this park

Review:

The best of both worlds as the trail is a good workout with amazing views in all directions for the entire trail and is very close to Denver. Jump right off the highway and right above it all, this trail offers spectacular views of Red Rocks to the west and the southwest urban corridor to the east. Everywhere you turn there is something great to look at. This would be a technical trail for a mountain bike, but I always see several people having a great time riding the ridge lines when I hike here. The trail is strait forward to follow and well-marked. When you reach W. Alameda Pkwy., you will want to hike up the hill on the road if you want to reconnect with the trail. Once you reconnect with the trail you can keep hiking or join the Red Rocks trail and hike back on a different route. Currently after you reconnect you can continue on the Dakota ridge trail for about another half mile before you reach the trail junction with Bail out a new trail. You can either go left or right and continue on a little loop and the junction for the new unfinished portion of the trail. Per the trail signs at the writing of this guide, there are plans to continue the trail further south and there is a very large amount of the trail done at the time of the writing of this book, but the trail turns into more of a feat in navigation after about another mile of hiking. This should be an epic trail when it is fully complete,

Morrison Slide

Morrison Slide trail in looking at Red Rocks Park.
Morrison Slide trail views
Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)5 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)6
Distance1.6  miles
Time NeededAbout 37 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Red Rocks, Village Walk, Dakota Ridge, and Morrison Slide trails
  • Parking is limited in Red Rocks.
  • This trail uses a part of the red rocks trail to complete the loop.
  • Descent elevation gains if hiking this from the south trailhead.
  • Mostly exposed little tree cover
  • Closest parking area: Take Red Rocks Park Rd. Right on W. Alameda PKWY., a little over ¼ mile past Box office and will call there is a parking area

Trailhead directions: S-Red Rocks Trail | L- Morrison Slide

Trail Highlights:

  • Magnificent close up views of Red Rocks
  • Vista of the Red Rocks Valley

Review:

This short heavily trafficked hike is often completed as a loop starting at the small parking lot off of W. Alameda Parkway within Red Rocks Park. From the small parking lot cross the street and starting out on the Red Rocks trail which leads up to the Morrison Slide Trail. There is little elevation change but the views from the top of the trail are great for viewing the Red Rocks area. The alternative start to the hike is to come down the Village Walk trail and join the Red Rocks trail, then hike up the Morrison Slide trail from the north side.

Village Walk

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)2 (Easy)
Views Rank (1 – 10)3
Distance0.4 miles
Time NeededAbout 10

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Red Rocks trail and the Dakota ridge trail (Must cross 93 to connect with Dakota ridge trail.)
  • Very busy trail
  • Small change in elevation
  • Exposed little tree cover
  • Closest parking area: North parking lot

Trailhead directions: Trail starts from parking lot

Trail Highlights:

  • Views of Dakota Ridge

Review:

This very short trail serves as the access point to the north side of the Red Rocks trail. The hike has very little elevation gain and is easy to travel for all ages. There are often crowds on this trail particularly on the weekend so if you are looking for a more secluded hike there are some other great options in the area to explore.

Zorro

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)4 (Easy)
Views Rank (1 – 10)3
Distance0.9 miles
Time NeededAbout 25 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trail: Dakota Ridge trail
  • Access to Green Mountain area
  • Light elevation gain/loss
  • Exposed little tree cover
  • Closest parking area: Rooney Road Trailhead parking area

Trailhead directions: Cross S Rooney Rd. S-Zorro Trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Connects Green Mountain and Matthew Winters Park

Review:

Legend has it that Zorro himself carved this path into the hillside on his way up to the Dakota Ridge trail to fight with Chuck Norris; who definitely lost this battle. This path is not particularly steep and is mainly used to connect the Matthew Winters Park trails to the Green Mountain trails system. There is almost no tree cover on the trail and the constant hum of C-470 persists the entirety of the trail at all hours of the day and night. The top of the trail does have some great views of the hog back and some very interesting stone steps.

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!

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