Matthew/Winters Park was the destination for this past weekends Hike for Discovery group hike. This was also a Friends, Family and Fido hike as participants in Hike for Discovery were able to invite others on the hike. Located next to Red Rocks Amphitheater just off of I-70 at Morrison Road Matthew/Winters Park is quite popular with hikers but also mountain bikers. As there was not much shade on the trails here it was nice it was a cooler day than the hikes the last few weeks. With blue sky over the foothills and threatening skies towards the city it made for an interesting contrast in the skies as we started to hike.
We started off on the Red Rocks trail and headed into the park going through meadows, small gulches and finally to the junction of the Morrison Slide trail. As we headed up the switch backs of the Morrison Slide trail we were greeted with more views of the surrounding area and out towards the plains. We also found less mountain bikers to contend with on this trail. At the top of the switch backs there was an open meadow leading towards the foothills west of the trail and the vista in the other directions. Descending down the Morrison Slide trail we reached the trail junction of the Red Rocks trail and took this over to the end of the trail near Highway 26. As we crossed the highway we quickly made up any elevation we had just lost as it was a steady climb up to the top of Dakota Ridge (aka hogback). Like last week at Heil Valley Ranch , it was quite obvious on the trail as we passed through the different layers of rock making up the ridge. As we reached the top we were welcomed with a view of C-470, as well as Green Mountain shown below. There was also signage showing us the different layers of rocks making up the ridge and other details about the area.
For the last two miles we hiked on the top of Dakota Ridge rolling with the terrain and contending with a rocky trail. This was one of the first trails I attempted to mountain bike upon moving to Colorado 11 years ago, and whenever I hike along the ridge I question why I did this trail first. Reaching a junction for the Zorro trail, we stopped and waited for the rest of the group to catch up for one last uphill section of the ridge and then back to the parking lot in the final mile. While waiting I took the following image of Chad (a fellow hiker) and his friend Tiffany who hiked with us this week.
As this trail was quite close to the city it was nice it was a little cooler, as the summer brings some additional warmth to our hikes. But overall the 6.8 mile hike was a nice short hike, as the upcoming group hikes will easily be twice this distance.
Hike for Discovery is the endurance hiking fundraising program for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society . If you would like to donate as I raise money for the LLS visit the Neil Corman Hike for Discovery Donation page . I thank you for supporting my hiking this summer and more so the LLS.