Day Hikes in: Conifer, Colorado

A while back, I put together a post about a handful of short hikes near the Colorado mountain town of Evergreen. Today I’ll be doing the same thing for a different – but nearby – location: Conifer.

The town of Conifer is located along Highway 285 about 30 minutes west of Denver. As 285 is the fastest route to the mountains from our house, this is a road we drive quite frequently. But for the first couple years in Denver, we never bothered to actually stop here.

More recently, I’ve completed a handful of hikes in the area. Most of these hikes are within Jefferson County Open Space parks. JeffCo parks are free and provide nice hiking opportunities for days we’re looking to stay closer to town and do something a little less strenuous, or for winter days in which it’s far too cold and snowy up in the mountains. They were also a good closer-to-home option for us during the height of COVID.

Eagle’s View Loop, Reynolds Park
Not to be confused with Reynolds Ranch Park, which is further north, Reynolds Park is located off Foxton Road south of Conifer. I visited this park with a friend on a chilly November morning. Snow from a recent storm still covered the ground, so we donned our microspikes and lots of layers and set off on the Eagle’s View Loop which is the main trail in the park.

Foothills hikes – for me, at least – are not usually very exciting, simply because I much prefer to be above tree line. But when everything is covered in snow it certainly adds a layer of beauty to the forested landscape. There were a couple high points along the trail as well, providing views mostly to the south, including glimpses of Pikes Peak!

Eagle’s View Loop

The stats: 5.6 miles (9 km) | 1100 feet (335 m) elevation gain

Shadow Pine Loop, Flying J Park
This is a very small park off CO Route 73 just north of Conifer. When it comes to hiking, there are really only a couple options. We chose the longest option, Shadow Pine Loop, which actually enters and exits the park a couple times as it weaves around through the forest. There were a lot of ups and downs as we made our way through the trees, but overall a good short and easy hike for those looking for such an option.

Shadow Pine Loop

The stats: 3 miles (5 km) | 360 feet (110 m) elevation gain

Legault Mountain, Meyer Ranch Park
We actually hiked at Meyer Ranch the same day as the previous hike, as the two parks are only a few minutes apart and our first hike was so short. While the Shadow Pine Loop was more of a leisurely stroll through the woods, the trails at Meyer Ranch climbed up – steeply at times – to the summit of Legault Mountain which apparently used to be a very small ski resort.

There are intersecting trails here, making for multiple routes; we chose the Lodgepole-Aspen-Ski Run trail loop, which made for some varied scenery and a little bit of a view at the summit. We bumped into a couple friends on the trail – what are the odds? – and then found ourselves speed walking the final mile back to the car in an attempt to outrun the incoming thunderstorm (see before and after photos below).

Legault Mountain summit view
View from the trailhead: before
View from the trailhead: after, as we attempted to outrun the storm

The stats: 4.9 miles (7.9 km) | 1233 feet (375 m) elevation gain

Loop Trail, Pine Valley Ranch Park
Our most recent foray into the forests around Conifer was to Pine Valley Ranch Park. This park is a couple miles past Conifer and then south off Pine Valley Road. Pat and I visited this quiet little area with another couple on Halloween morning; we even wore costumes (which yielded a lot of complements from fellow hikers and mountain bikers). I think Halloween costume hikes might become a new tradition.

Anyway. There are a couple loop trails at Pine Valley Ranch, plus an old road bed that climbs up to an observatory. We began by heading up the Park View Trail, which actually exits the park to the south before connecting with the Strawberry Jack Trail and re-entering at Buck Gulch. This led us back down to Pine Lake and back to the car. It was a pretty quick hike and we arrived early enough that we didn’t see too many other people. Since it was so early, we then decided to walk up to the observatory. I’m glad we did, as this was the location with the best views.

Views from the trail
View from the Observatory

The stats: 3.4 miles (5.5 km) | 720 feet (220 m) elevation gain

Tanglewood Trail
This final hike is actually a little further from Conifer, northwest off Deer Creek Road in the Mount Evans Wilderness Area. It’s a longer hike too, clocking at almost 9 miles. But I didn’t take too many photos and there isn’t too much of note along the way, so I didn’t feel it warranted its own post.

Tanglewood Trail was about Plan C for the day, if I recall correctly. Chelsea and I initially had another hike in mind but forest fire smoke caused us to change our mind. Eventually we headed to Tanglewood in hopes that it was far enough south to have better air quality. It was. The trail departs from Deer Creek Trailhead and climbs steadily along Tanglewood Creek up to a pass below Rosalie Peak. When we reached the pass we were the only ones around and the weather was fairly calm so we found some rocks to sit on and ended up just chatting and enjoying the view for nearly 45 minutes!

We weren’t able to figure out what this was. Possibly a filing cabinet. But the real question is how in the heck did it get here?
Looking back toward the trailhead
Approaching tree line
Almost there!
Rosalie Peak
Views from the top

Stats: 8.7 miles (14 km) | 2695 feet (820 m) elevation gain

23 thoughts on “Day Hikes in: Conifer, Colorado”

  1. I like the array of hikes you put together in this post. What makes it impressive is that, despite these day hikes being near one place, Conifer, they all widely vary in geography– from snow to lush greenery to even prairie! There’s a bit of everything for everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My wife Peggy lived in Conifer for a while in the 80s, taught in Evergreen, and owned an old log cabin up in the mountains above Conifer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When in the greater Denver area, I’m always amazed at the number of open spaces/natural areas both within as well as in close proximity to the city. Your post proves that it’s not too difficult to get away from the crowds to enjoy some solitude and great landscapes and views.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Evergreen and Conifer. The town’s founding were simply stating the obvious. I am with you Diana. The length of the hike does not matter, short or long. It is the views you get from the trail, peeks and vistas, hills and valleys, rivers and lakes. Walking/hiking is not just about the exercise. It is what you see along the way. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the name of the town. It’s always nice to explore closer to home every once in a while. Looks like there are some scenic trails here. I got a good laugh from the picture of you and Path in your costumes! You should totally make it an annual tradition!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nothing wrong with hitting a city or county park now and then. In fact, around here the city of Lakeway Texas has a couple of five milers that are some of the best hiking I have found nearby.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Colorado certainly is an outdoor lover’s paradise, rich in natural beauty and opportunities for adventure and it’s amazing how many beautiful and memorable hikes you get to experience as a local, Diana. I especially love the views from your hike along the Tanglewood Trail, they seemingly stretch forever and leave you breathless in more ways than one. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 1 person

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