New park recently opened!
Sandstone Ranch Open Space Park is a new, Douglas County park that opened late September of 2020. It is about 3 miles west of Larkspur, Colorado. Douglas County secured this land in 2018 and opened the area to the public in September of 2020.
We hiked on a Sunday, two weeks after the park opened and, by coincidence, we arrived just as the last of about 40 horse trailers parked. As it happens, this was an equestrian club that normally would not have been there. At first we were worried the trails would be crowded with horses, but there was plenty of space for all of us. We did run into one larger group, but otherwise they were nicely spread across along the trail.
The trailhead is right off the parking lot through a gate. (There are several around the loop. Because this is still a working ranch be sure to close each gate as you pass through). The 3.8 mile trail (4.5 from where we parked) is well maintained and wide enough to pass anyone along the way. It is loose dirt and sand (something to keep in mind if you hike after a rain or snowmelt). I would rate the trail as easy, but if you do go clockwise the initial climb might make it a moderate.
Brian, president of the Douglas Land Conservancy, happened to be the greeter the day we hiked, and advised us to go counterclockwise rather than the other direction. Why? “Because everyone goes clockwise.” After hiking it, I agree. The elevation climb is minimal (about 400 feet) and if you go clockwise it is all done in the first mile.
Much of the hike is open meadows with Pike National Forest as a backdrop against sweeping vistas. The scrub oak was a brilliant contrast of orange, yellow, and red against the dark greens of the pine trees of Pike. Beautiful. The area felt wide open through the meadows along with shady spots as well.
Getting to Sandstone is easy. From I-25 take exit 173 at Larkspur. Turn west at Perry Park Avenue and follow this for about 3 miles. At the T-intersection turn left onto County Hwy 105. The entrance to the trailhead is on the right about 1/2 mile from Hwy 105 and Perry Park Ave.
Read more about Sandstone Ranch Park.
Enjoy your hike!!