Location: Jefferson County Open Space
Nearest town: Littleton
Distance from Denver: 24 mi / 0:35
Trail distance: 6.9 mi RT + (12.8 mi of trails available)
Elevation: 6,100 ft at TH; 7,057 ft at end of Golden Eagle Trail (peak of Bill Couch Mtn); 2,000 ft gain/loss
Direction notes: From C-470, exit at Ken Caryl and go west. In 0.5 mi veer left onto S Valley Rd; get a glimpse of the rocks and trails of South Valley Park. Head left at the T to avoid heading up the road to Lockheed Martin Corp (yes, they require a badge to continue in). At the stop, turn right on W Deer Creek Canyon Rd. In 0.7 mi turn left on Grizzly Dr. After 0.4 mi, just past a bend in the road, take a quick right at the sign into Deer Creek Canyon Park.
Dogs: On leash
Trailhead: Toilets, signage, brochures with maps, interpretive signs
Date hiked: Feb 2013
Jefferson County Open Space
Trail notes and photos:
This is one of the most southern of the Jefferson County Parks, just west of C-470 and with trail connections to both South Valley and Hildebrand Ranch Parks. Deer Creek Canyon Park has 12.8 miles of trails.
Today’s hike was 6.9 mi RT. I headed up the Meadowlark and Plymouth Creek Trails, then just 0.1 mi CCW up the Red Mesa Loop to the Golden Eagle Trail which heads 0.5 mi to the scenic viewpoint atop Bill Couch Mtn.
The Meadowlark Trail (hikers only) climbs gradually from the TH, providing expanding views of the red sandstone formations in nearby South Valley Park, the rocky Hogback formation which parallels the foothills, the Denver city skyline and the metro suburbs.
After 1.6 mi, I headed up the Plymouth Creek Trail. At this point I put on my Yaktrax for extra traction in the packed snow which covered the shaded trail.
Be sure to pay attention to staying on the Plymouth Creek Trail and avoid being diverted by signs for the Plymouth Mountain Trail. Follow the sign to go right (CCW) on the Red Mesa Loop, then very shortly after head right/down onto the Golden Eagle Trail (hikers only).
Heading down seemed counter-intuitive to me, thinking the view must be higher, but this 0.5 mi side trail ends at the top of Bill Couch Mtn for views north, east and south, with the hills of Deer Creek Park taking up the view to the west.
From the viewpoint I headed back the way I came. An easy option would be to add another 2.4 mi by completing the Red Mesa Loop before heading back down.