Flying J Ranch

Distance3.9 mi
Elevation Gain390 feet
My Time1 hr 23 min
DifficultyEasy
Nearest TownConifer
Food NearbyConifer Cafe

I needed a bit of a simpler hike than I had been doing to try and break in a new pair of hiking shoes and settled on the Flying J Ranch. The Flying J is located on Route 73 in Conifer and was the nice stroll through the woods that I needed on a Sunday. It reminded me of Sunday drives before the internet and Netflix when people would go drive through the country to pass the time. Kids go ask your (grand) parents.

There are two parking areas that I saw to access the Flying J trails. I parked at the second one and by 8:30 on a Sunday morning they were both pretty much filled up. The first parking area will put you at the Junction House trail head which will connect to the Shadow Pines loop. The second parking area will put you right at the entrance to the loop. The loop seemed like the longest path available at the the park and that is the one I took today.

Teh begining of the Shadow Pine Loop in Flying J Ranch park in Conifer, Colorado

The loop is a pretty easy walk through the woods for the most part. It circles for about 3 miles with some small elevation gains but they are spread out and never very long. The park also had a lot of trail runners and mountain bikers on it which slowed the pace down a bit because of stepping off the trail the let them pass.

The trail is mostly packed dirt and well defined and very easy to navigate. There are occasional rocks but the biggest hazard is the tree roots that are prevalent throughout the trail.

I started on the Shadow Pine loop counter clockwise and then jumped onto the Junction House trail until I realized it was just heading to another parking area. After doubling back to Shadow Pine the trail starts to go a bit uphill and becomes more densely covered in trees. There is plenty of shade on this hike which is nice. After crossing a maintenance road, the trail will go from dense pines to the a bit of a rocky outcrop. The trail gets a little rockier here for a bit before depositing you back into a denser forest. This was a pretty short hike at just about 4 miles for the loop and has some nice forested features. Here are some stats before the gallery.

Elevation and Distance

If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 3.9 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 390 feet including undulations. That put the high point at just under 8,300 feet at 8,286. I was also moving for a total of 1 hours and 23 minutes.

Effort

This was a fairly easy hike with out too much of an elevation gain but enjoyable and a nice way to start to break in a new pair of shoes. Here are the stats from my fitbit.

Stats from today's hike on fitbit.com.  Today's hike was 8,784 steps.

Terrain

The terrain is very easy to navigate on this trail. The path is mostly hard packed dirt with a few sandy spots. There are a lot of tree roots that are sticking up that could be trip hazards and a few small rocky areas. The biggest concern to keep an eye on is the amount of people on bikes, running and walking dogs on this trail.

Access

The trail has two parking areas both on route 73 near Conifer. The main area has a sign and a small access road to get to it and there are about 15-20 parking spaces that were filled up by 8:30 on a Sunday morning. There are bathroom facilities at the main parking area and also some picnic areas with covered tables.

Wrap up

Overall the Flying J Ranch park was a really nice walk in the woods. There aren’t too many diffiuclt areas with long elevation gains and I think this hike can be enjoyed by all skill levels. I did see a lot of kids on the trail today as well as plenty of small dogs and bikes. It is a good hike for people just starting out or people who are looking for a nice easy walk in the woods on a Sunday.

As this was a shorter hike not quite as many pictures today. After the hike I made it over to the Conifer Cafe for a nice brunch and an elk sausage omelette.

If you have a suggestion for a hike that you would like me to try, feel free to email me at fatmanlittletrails@gmail.com or you can follow me on the below social media platforms. I have also added this hike to the interactive map that you can find here.

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