Hike or Bike Matthews/Winters Park

Colorado Matthews/Winters Park

Added by Amy Kesic

This 4.5 mile loop that overlooks Red Rocks and Dinosaur Ridge. This is a great wildflower hike in colder months and is decently sunny for winter hikes. In the more congested areas, there are separate trails for hikers and bikers.

Matthews/Winters Park, which is part of the Jefferson County Open Space system, is proof that you do not have to go far from the city to enjoy the mountains. Nestled in the foothills between Golden and Morrison just off I-70 and C-470, Matthews/Winters is easy to access from Denver and any of the foothill communities. But don’t be fooled by its proximity to the city: this park is really beautiful, too.

MW is the old town site of Mount Vernon, which no longer exists except for a small cemetery. You can explore the old headstones along the Village Walk. A creek weaves through the park, feeding the fragrant wild plums and willows.

Its topography is mostly open and sunny, which makes for good wildflower conditions. In spring, the green grass contrasts nicely with the red soil. The trails are not too difficult, though the Morrison Slide is a bit of a climb. It’s worth it, though. From the top of the plateau, you can see the Hogback (which is also part of MW Park), Dinosaur Ridge, and Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. The view of Red Rocks from above is actually pretty incredible. It’s a nice place to take a picnic break. Continuing south, the views of red rock formations continue until you loop back north. The trail connects with the Red Rocks Park trails, so if you are looking for something longer, continue south. Most hikers will want to track back north toward the parking lot for a return trip that is really pleasant. For bikers, there are enough connecting trails in the area to make for a nice, long ride if desired.

Plan on picnicking at one of the tables near the creek. This is one day hike close to home that will leave you smiling.

For more details on park trails, check out the Park Map.

Pack List

  • Day pack
  • Water
  • Trail snacks
  • Sun protection
  • Layered clothing
  • Trekking poles (optional)
  • In winter, YakTrax or microspikes
  • MTB gear for bikers
  • Camera
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Activities:

Chillin, Fitness, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Photography, Rock Climbing, Running

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Year Round

Trail Type:

Loop

Distance:

4.5 Miles

Rating:

Features:

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Groups
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Wildflowers

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How to Get There

6 months ago

Sightseeing

A quick walk and close to the city; can't go wrong during a day of sightseeing.

6 months ago

8 months ago

Best It Can Be Those Close To Denver

For how close it is to Denver, it doesn't get a whole lot better than this. While hot and very sunny at midday, I'd imagine it's terrific at sunrise or sunset. We only saw 12-15 people the whole hike which included Morrison Slide, so it still felt like we had the trail somewhat to ourselves. I'm planning on coming back when it snows to get sunrise/sunset landscape photos of Red Rocks.

8 months ago

about 1 year ago

Easy going hike with nice views

PROS -Close to Denver, easy to get to -Not too much elevation gain/loss so it makes it overall pretty easy -Good for a quick hike after work or when pressed for time -Many different connecting trails in park, also connecting to other parks -Lots of Geocaches along trails CONS -Very, very muddy trail -Not necessarily the most exciting hike Overall, I will come back to this hike as it is close to town and I love that it goes all the way to Red Rocks. Thanks for adding this!

about 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

This is one of my favorites!

I have found that most people park at the Red Rocks Amphitheater and explore around there because they don't know about this hike. This is a hidden gem and has some of the best views of Red Rocks and downtown Denver.

over 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

From a biking perspective...

While the views are pretty and the trail is easy to access from the city - it's probably much better for hiking and trail running than it is for mountain biking. Because it is a dual use system it is often crowded and it is also very technical and rocky. Unless you are a very seasoned rider this will be more of a hike-your-bike trip than a ride.

over 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Create a loop with the hogbacks

You can create about a 7 mile loop by running into Red Rocks park and connecting to the hogback ridges on the other side. The trail is very rocky and narrow but amazing views.

over 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Add Morrison Slide For Extra Cardio Push

Matthews/Winter Trail is fantastic for hiking and biking, especially in fall and early winter. If you want to add a heart pumping push add the quick jaunt up Morrison Slide. It adds 1.2 miles and gives you fantastic views of Red Rocks and Denver. It's a quick elevation gain but fairly flat at top. Only word of caution is to watch out for rattlesnakes in summer.

over 1 year ago

Added by Amy Kesic

A mom who decided to get fit a few years ago, I took up running and hiking to keep myself moving. Since moving to the Front Range foothills a year ago, I've spent my free time discovering all the trails I possibly can. I'm in love with Colorado and the Rocky Mountains; I also like to take pictures, and I share my adventures here on The Outbound and on Instagram at @run2themountains.

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