|Elevation Gain||358 ft|
|My Time||1 hr 49 min|
Sandstone Ranch Open Space
Sandstone Ranch Open Space is a beautiful sprawling open spaces located in Douglas County in Colorado. Just south of Castle Rock in the town of Larkspur is home to this park with panoramic views of the front range and expansive trails that aren’t too difficult to enjoy.
Sandstone Meadow Trail Loop
A great majority of the hike I did was on the Sandstone Meadow Trail Loop. This is a long looping trail that takes you through most of the southern half of the park. I took the trail counter clockwise so that is how I will describe it.
This trail is beautiful. The front range mountains are directly in front of you for a majority of the hike. When they are not the trail is usually taking you through a small thicket of bushes or trees.
The trail will take stretch for .9 miles heading west before making the turn to the south. The turn to the south brings a modest elevation gain of about 70 feet over a half mile. The only real difference is that now the mountains and the ranch are off to your right instead of directly in front of you. Still very pretty walk though.
At the 1.6 mile mark you will come to a small spot of trees that form a bit of a canopy over the trail. You will then come to a junction to head down to the Ranch Overlook. The overlook has some great views but is not necessary to complete the loop. I would still recommend it if you have the time.
The Ranch Overlook trail is just a short spur of a trail that is less than a half mile one way. It will take you down to a point with some picnic tables and a great view down the range.
As you can see the meadow has two distinct rock formations that are popping up from the ground. I am assuming that this is how the ranch got its name. I spent a bit of time here because it was such a nice clear and calm day. It really was humbling to see this sort of landscape.
There are also some nice sandstone formations around the overlook itself and some of the pictures are in the gallery. Walking back up the trail to reconnect with the loop gave a great view of some of these formations framing what I believe to be Raspberry Butte in the distance.
Finishing the Loop
Once you retrace your steps and head back to the Sandstone Meadow Loop trail you will take the trail to the east. If you stay on Sandstone you will take a 2.3 mile loop back around the meadow to the parking lot.
Immediately after you reconnect the loop you will have your most consistent elevation gain of the hike. You will need to go up 150 feet in elevation in .8 miles. Not terrible but if you don’t like elevation it is important to know.
At the top of this “hill” you will also come to the Sunset Ridge trail. This is a shorter way back to the parking area if that is more what you are looking for.
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 4.86 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 358 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 6,865 feet. I was also moving for a total of 1 hour and 49 minutes.
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Not much of an elevation gain to this one and the effort was more of just a walk in the park. This one was pretty easy other than one slight hill so most people should be able to handle it. Here is the step count from my Fitbit.
The trails at Sandstone Ranch Open Space are in really good shape and well developed. They seemed to be at least 4 feet wide for the entire trail. There was a few rocks and ruts but for the most part the trail is flat and easy to handle. The day I went in late January had a bit of snow covering the trail. This hid some ice underneath that led to slick spots.
Sandstone Ranch Open Space is located on Perry Park Road in Larkspur, Colorado. There is a large parking area and picnic table at the trailhead. Hikers, bikers, and horseback riders are allowed on the trails. A few port-o-potties were also available at the trailhead.
This was just a very nice hike. Nothing was really that difficult. The views were large and all around. Rolling landscapes, sandstone formations, trees and foothills are all around you the entire time. The trail also isn’t too difficult and is really well maintained so it makes enjoying what you are looking at that much easier.
One thing to look out for is the long sections of exposure at the park. There are big sections with nothing but sunshine and wind around you and that needs to be something to consider before your trip. Overall I really liked this trail and I think it can easily be enjoyed by families and most skill levels.
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