It’s no secret that I’ve taken up a hobby of playing on dusty (or rocky!) trails lately. After being dragged off of my cozy pull-out couch at Blend one morning by Heidi (who runs 50+ miles for fun FYI), I discovered that trail running is much more interesting than road running. I’m going to pull a super cheese-ball move here, but the trails have really shown me how beautiful the world can be… especially when you’re exploring it all on foot.
You guys probably think this isn’t even Marissa, right?! Don’t worry — I still like to play with chalk and lift heavy things. My barbell has just been splitting time with my cush-y trail shoes.
I’ve been running weekly with a group of gals, making our way through the front range trails each Wednesday night. Since I’m new to this whole trail-thing, but not-so-new to this whole running things, I figured I’d give you guys a run down on the trails that are minutes from my door!
[view trail website]
To get here, take I-70 to highway 93 and go south for about 0.1 miles. The parking lot is up the road (you’ll see the sign) to the west. The parking lot can get rather full in the evenings, so if it is — head over to the stegosaurus lot right across the street!
The loop I usually do is village walk –> red rocks trail–> morrison slide–> red rocks trail –> village walk. It’s a little over 4 miles and has a few ups and downs. The first half mile or so is a gradual incline [that literally kicks my ass], before dropping down into a little forest-type area. Not going to lie, this first part is always the toughest for me. Maybe because it’s not the prettiest, or maybe because the incline is a trickster. You think it’s not the steep, but BOY can you feel it in your legs!
After the decline into the wooded area, you go back up-up-up with some switchbacks. This is where I saw my first trail rattlesnake, just hanging out in the sun. It was a baby, and there was NO way I was jumping over that thing. So, we decided to climb up the small cliff/hill/whatever and out of little snakeys way. He wins.
This part offers a lot of photo opps, so feel free to take lots of breaks to take pictures [aka catch your breath…it’ll be our little secret].
It’s an awfully pretty place to run for being so close to Golden, Lakewood, Morrison, etc. Not really even sure what “city” this is located in… but I know that it’s ten minutes from my house. Holla!
After you reach the top [at about 2ish miles], it’s [almost] all down hill from here! Some parts can get a little technical, and I’m not the most graceful person, so I usually end up going pretty slow down the rocky parts.
My legs feel FREEEE after this! Until you reach a hill made of rock. No seriously. It’s a hill. Made of rock. A red rock? Red Rocks? Whatever. Run/hike/climb. Do what you gotta do. I always feel like this would be the perfect place for mountain lion home. So I usually freak myself out and then proceed to get jumpy whenever I see a deer [have I told yo the story when I got chased by a deer?].
It’s pretty smooth sailing from this point on. The loop ends up dropping you off near the wooded area, in which you follow the same path you took up!
This trail is a wonderful one for beginners, and one of my favorite to run. Since I ran it with my running “group” I’ve gone back a handful of times. It ends up taking me about an hour, and total distance is a tiny bit over 4 miles.
You can also hike this entire thing if running isn’t really your thang.
If you live in Denver, Golden, Lakewood, Wheatridge, Morrison… YOU GET THE DRILL… get your butt outside and hit this trail!
Oh, and if you’re not a trail running newb, or you want to know of more trails in Colorado, hit up Heidi’s trail running page. She’s got the scoop and can probably promise that you won’t get lost/break your face if you listen to her trail directions. Me on the other hand….