Hike the Coyote Song-Swallow Trail Loop

South Valley Park

These easy trails are perfect for beginners, and only 30 minutes from downtown Denver. You will find unique red rock formations and solitude here, without having to drive far from the city.

We all love to live our weekends to the fullest, but say you're itching for an adventure and it's midweek with the weekend still a good 3 or 4 days away? South Valley Park is the place to go if you're looking for an after-work adventure or just don't feel like driving too far from the city. A short 30-minute drive away from downtown Denver, this Jefferson County Open Space park will take you through dramatic red sandstone spires and along open, rolling meadows.

I've hiked here in the mornings, evenings, weekdays, even weekends and I've never felt overwhelmed with the crowds. As a matter of fact, I'd say this is a good place to go if you're looking for solitude, this is surprising considering how accessible the park is. Regardless, the trails here are rolling and stay towards the easy side as far as elevation gain/loss goes. South Valley Park is multi-use and is open to hiking, trail running, mountain biking, and horseback riding, so it's perfect for just about anyone looking to get outside. Not only that, but the park is beautiful regardless the season and is open and accessible year-round.

The trails here are wide and well defined, but if you're hiking in spring or early winter things can get pretty muddy and boggy. If you're hiking in winter be aware that the trail can get snowpacked and icy. There aren't very many long sections of incline/decline, so most people should be okay without microspikes or traction devices, just make sure to watch your step if the trail is icy. If you want a better idea of how things are looking before heading out the door, check out the Jefferson County Open Space Twitter page for trail conditions and updates (@JeffcoOpenSpace).

The main trailhead at 90 South Valley Road, Littleton, CO has plenty of parking plus bathrooms and picnic tables a short walk away. From here hike up past the info board; the trail will split but stay to the left to pick up on the Coyote Song Trail. This section of the loop is mostly downhill and will provide you with excellent views of the craggy outcroppings of the Fountain Formation. You will encounter several interpretive signs along the way that will educate the visitor about the history of the park as well as the geology behind the unique sandstone formations.

Follow Coyote Song for about a mile and keep an eye out for a trail spur heading to the right. You will hike a small section of the Grazing Elk Trail for 0.2 miles before coming to an intersection with the Swallow Trail. Swallow Trail is narrower than the other trails in the area, plus its the only section closed to mountain bikers. If you are biking, you can continue on Grazing Elk, cross South Valley Road, and then complete the loop by heading back on the Valley View Trail.

Swallow Trail is flatter than Coyote Song and meanders through the open meadows to the west. Keep an eye out for birds and wildlife. Hawks, eagles, deer, and coyote can be found on a regular basis here. Hike 0.8 miles on Swallow Trail to return to the parking lot.

If hiking with your dog, please keep them on leash at all times and bring baggies to pick up waste. Please stay on the trail and all times and do not climb on the delicate sandstone formations for your own safety and to protect these highly erosive surfaces.

Head over to Rox Bar & Grill after you finish to enjoy a post hike brew or to grab a bite to eat.

Pack List

  • Hat (or beanie for winter hiking)
  • Sunscreen
  • Running shoes (boots for winter hiking)
  • Water
Show More
RT Distance 3 Miles
Elevation Gain 350 Feet
Activities Photography, Mountain Biking, Running, Snowshoeing, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Pretty trail

Went earlier in the morning and the weather was perfect, not a ton of traffic but when I got back to the car around 9:30 it was getting busy. Beautiful views. Lots of birds and some pretty spring flowers here and there along the trail that added to the enjoyment. Definitely best in spring or fall like the information says since it would be full sun. (I went this morning and it was overcast and cool) Brought my dog Rollo with me and it was a great trail for him! Will go again soon.

Easy But Beautiful

Really pretty trail. Great for a quick run after work. Very popular and utilized by families with small children. May be too congested over the weekend for running.

I love running here amongst the red and yellow sandstone, especially in the spring when everything is green. It's also one of the more level trails close to Denver.


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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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