The Fantastic Front Range: Enjoying trails near the Denver Metro all year round!

The Fantastic Front Range: Enjoying trails near the Denver Metro all year round!

We are going to be using our Runners Roost Race Team Members to highlight local trails you were you run, hike, and walk. Colorado is a beautiful state. We know how much it has to offer and that it can get overwhelming to always know where to go. Today’s trail review is from Rooster JoAnna Masloski who is bringing us to her favorite at Mount Falcon Park.

Location: Morrison, CO
Trail Length: Full Loop ~16 miles with cutoffs and turn around for about any mileage desired.
Altitude: Gradual ascent and descents but up or down most of the time. Up to 1,200 gain.
Terrain Types: Rocky | Pebble | Single Track
Views: Red Rocks | Downtown Denver | Mt. Evans
Support: Please bring hydration and energy as there isn’t any water or stock areas on this route.

Starting at the bottom: 3825 Vine Street, Morrison CO
Starting at the top: 21074 Mount Falcon Road, Indian Hills, CO

Detailed Maps:

Who’s that Rooster?:
JoAnna resisted running until reality hit that she wasn’t a ballerina, rugby player or deep sea diver..oh, about 25 years ago! Now, dog-mom to 11 year old cocker spaniel Moby, mother to 7 year old son, Cole, author of ‘Closer to Fine’, executive in the fitness industry and honored Rooster, JoAnna would rather never have to do without a day on the trails (in fact there are very few that she misses). Weekdays that means out the door in the crisp, dark morning air and weekends, time is tight but trail-time so important. That daily consistency might not get more than an hour but it works for races ranging from ½ marathon to 50K with a passion for running uphill (favorites being Mt. Evans Ascent, Pikes Peak and Vail’s Berry Picker). JoAnna looks forward to sharing with Roost Fans the quickest way to arrive at great Front Range trails and get that necessary trail time without taking away from all that other things that the rest of life has to offer (family, food, a few beverages and even a weekend nap or two).

Why I love this route:

  • Works for that “trail time” without the travel time – within :30 min. of most areas in the Denver Metro
  • Variety of terrain (especially the “gradual” ascent) but all trail
  • Fully runnable ascent and descent (ok, this is all relative)
  • Mix of sun and shade with wind protection from the mountains making the trail clear most of the year
  • Variety of mileage with decent views for almost all miles

Featured Route:
In keeping with the trail time vs. travel time theme, start at the Vine St. trailhead (why waste time driving up the hill in a car when you can run it)! Oh, and… once you get to the top (ok, it’s about 5 miles) you will have it “easy” all the way back. After all, what goes up must come down – just keep repeating that all the way up. Last, but certainly not least, I have never seen a rattler on this trail (one of the few on the Front Range where I haven’t had a sighting). Might be the frequency of use because there are certainly rocky, sunny spots for those snakey things but I haven’t seen one. So, what are you waiting for, print the route below and get out the door! Oh, did you want to know the mileage? Well, I’m not much into those details but my iphone health app says 16 (if that helps).

  • Trail head at 3825 Vine Street in Morrison – This route starts only 5 min. from 470 and has plenty of parking (whether in the lot or side road to the lot) and bathrooms

    Red Rocks Amphitheatre!
  • Turkey Trot to Castle – Make sure to enjoy views of the Red Rocks as you get geared up for the first 4 miles which will take you gradually up and to the left (south) with destination of Walker’s Dream trail.
  • Castle to Walker’s Dream – at about 2 miles you will come to a T in the trail where you will keep going up and to the right. On this trail you may encounter bikers coming quickly down the mountain (they were prohibited on Turkey Trot) so keep your head up while you jump up and over this rocky part of the trail
  • Walker’s Dream is about 1.5 miles out and back but worth the view of Mt. Evans at the end of this trail
  • Castle to Parmalee Trail (loop) – Once you have come down from Walker’s Dream take a right to head further up towards the trailhead about 1.5 more miles ahead. Just stay up and to the right to find the Parmalee Trail right after the bathrooms near the upper trailhead
  • Parmalee Trail to Devil’s Elbow Trail (loop) – After the bathrooms there is sign for Parmalee Trail, a single track loop of gradual ascents and descents. At the end of the loop (there are two benches here to enjoy a short breather if you choose) you can take Meadow Trail back to Castle and head back down the mountain
    Castle Trail to Walker’s Dream

    or take the Devil’s Elbow loop. Devil’s Elbow is less frequented but has good views of Downtown Denver and the metro area.

  • Meadow Trail to Castle – After finishing the loop, you can extend your route by taking Meadow up towards the Tower Trail or the short cut back to Castle Trail and back down the mountain!
  • Castle to Turkey Trot – Upon taking Meadow to Castle you start to head back down to your car! It’s a rocky but fun journey. Stop a few times to catch the views of Denver. Make sure to turn about 2 miles down onto Turkey Trot to get rid of the bikers that sometimes frequent the Castle Trail.

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