Golden gem offers scenic getaway just outside the metro

Outdoor recreation abounds in White Ranch Park

Bob Wooley
bwooley@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 7/4/22

At nearly 4,000 acres, White Ranch Park is the largest park in the Jeffco Open Space system.

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Golden gem offers scenic getaway just outside the metro

Outdoor recreation abounds in White Ranch Park

Posted

At nearly 4,000 acres, White Ranch Park is the largest park in the Jeffco Open Space system. Inside, you’ll find more than 21 miles of multi-use trails winding through a mix of moderate and rugged terrain. 

Most trails are open to the public with the exception of two sensitive areas which can be accessed only by permit. A 0.9 mile segment of the Longhorn Trail is designated as bike only.

Day trips, picnics, overnight camping — this place has it all. You can do trail runs, hike, mountain bike or saddle up and ride your pony. 

Birdwatchers flock to see warblers, red tails and several other species. And as with most open space in this part of the foothills, larger wildlife is sometimes close at hand. A lucky hiker might spot elk, deer, wild turkeys or even a black bear on a trip through the park. 

With elevations rising above 7,200 feet in some locations, the White Ranch Park has scenic views to channel your inner Ansel Adams or just add to your Instagram feed.

Hikers will find a walk around the White Ranch Loop Trail a great way to decompress with plenty of beautiful vistas, wildflowers and stately stands of Ponderosa Pine to make you forget you’re just minutes from the city. The Ralson Buttes are a sight to see, so have your camera ready for a closeup. 

White Ranch Loop Trail is 4.6 miles long and gains more than 900 feet of elevation, so give yourself a couple of hours to enjoy it. It will surely make you remember the reason so many people come to Colorado.

Although a few are designated to be pretty easy, most of the park’s trails require an intermediate level of ability. Some, including Belcher Hill, Mustang and Upper Longhorn, can be quite challenging, so water and some sturdy shoes will be your best friends.

Camping
White Ranch Park is one of two Jeffco Open Space parks that allows for permitted camping. Sawmill and Sourdough Springs Campgrounds offer semi-primitive, tent-only, walk-in camping in designated sites is available by online permit. Required camping permits must be obtained at least 24 hours in advance. Permits are $12 per campsite, per night and valid for up to three consecutive nights. Camping is limited to a total of six nights within a 30 day period.

The park is open daily one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. The open carry and discharge of firearms is prohibited, as are open fires, marijuana use and motor vehicles.

Special events or commercial activity requires a permit. Dogs must remain on leash.  Restrooms are available and parking can be found at both trail heads. 

 

white ranch park, Golden, nature, recreation, cycling, mountain biking, trail running, birdwatching, wildlife, camping

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