Juniper Valley Loop – Sandstone Ranch

Distance3.76 mi
Elevation Gain371 ft
My Time1 hr 22 min
DifficultyEasy
Closest TownLarkspur
Food NearbyCharritos

Juniper Valley Loop

The Juniper Valley Loop is an easier hike on the northern part of the Sandstone Ranch Open Space in Douglas County, Colorado. The trail should be good for most skill levels and would be great for children as well. Keep an eye out for mountain bikes and horses though.

Getting Started

The Sandstone Ranch Open Space has a large parking area on Perry Park road. There are several trails at the open space including the Ranch Overlook which I did at another time. To get started on the Juniper Valley Loop you will want to walk towards the picnic gazebo and turn right to head to the north.

The Loop

The Juniper Loop starts with a long walk through the tall grasses and leading up a to a manageable hill. On top of the first hill you begin to see some of the rock formations that the area is known for.

One of the smaller sections of rock formation of the Juniper valley loop of Sandstone Ranch Open Space.
Rock Formations just off the trail on the Juniper Valley Loop at Sandstone Ranch Open Space

The loop continues on for under four miles with not much as far as elevation gain. The elevation gain that you do incur usually results in an overlook locations. There are a couple of overlooks that have benches and provide some amazing wide views of the foothills.

The view from the ridgeline of a line of trees and the foothills in the distance from the Juniper Valley loop of the Sandstone Ranch Open Space.
The view from the ridgeline of the foothills from the Juniper Valley Loop at Sandstone Ranch Open Space

There is nothing technical or tricky about the Juniper Valley Loop and I found it quite enjoyable. I think it would be a great place for anyone who is looking for a more relaxing style hike to enjoy the outdoors.

The Views

What really stands out for me at Sandstone Ranch are the views. In the fall you are surrounded by tall grasses, red rocks and the foothills.

The tall brown fall grasses and open fields leading up to the rolling foothills on the Juniper Valley Loop at the Sandstone Ranch Open Space.
The grasses and rolling hills from the Juniper Valley Loop at Sandstone Ranch Open Space

I have hiked in this area two times and both times were very relaxing and gave the feeling of the prairies of the old west. The sporadic trees that dot the countryside and lead up to the rolling foothills really make the area feel big and untouched. I really enjoyed both of my hikes in the area.

A small line of trees on a hill with tall grasses in front of the foothills from the Juniper Valley Loop at Sandstone Ranch Open Space.
A pod of trees from the Juniper Valley Loop at Sandstone Ranch Open Space

Video of the Juniper Valley Loop

I have put together a couple of videos of the hike. This first one is more of a narrative version of the hike:

Next up is a raw, time-lapse version of the hike that I like to call the hikers edit. The hikers edit is to give you a feel of what the trail itself looks like. If you enjoy either of these videos I would love it if you subscribe to my YouTube channel. It is free to subscribe and you will get notified when I upload new content.

Distance and Elevation

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 3.76 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 371 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 6,683 feet. I was also moving for a total of 1 hours and 22 minutes.

Effort

The Juniper Valley Loop never gets to an incline grade in the double digits. The inclines that it does have are long and the trail avoids real steep sections. The trail is also really easy to follow and makes for a really pleasant walk.

Terrain

The entire Sandstone Ranch Open Space is a very well maintained series of trails. The trails are wide and mostly flat dirt paths that are very easy to follow. The biggest issue with the terrain is a large number of road apples left behind the horse traffic that also uses the trail system.

Access

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.

Wrapping up the Juniper Valley Loop at the Sandstone Ranch

I really enjoy the Sandstone Ranch Open space and the Juniper Valley Loop was no different. What I like about both of my trips down here is how relaxed it felt. It is an easy loop with tons of open space between you and the foothills. There are several rock formations to keep you entertained closer to the trail as well.

I think this would be a great place for anyone who is looking to enjoy a few hours outdoors, or families with different skill levels to all be able to enjoy.

I have added this hike and all of my hikes to my interactive map page that you can find here. If you have a suggestion or comment you can email me at fatmanlittletrails@gmail.com or follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!

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