Directions: From Central City/Blackhawk, head north on Highway 119 for about half a mile to the Hidden Treasure Trailhead on the east side of 119. This is a large parking area with big signs so you can't miss it.
Quartz Valley Park is a newly developed open space just north of the casinos in Blackhawk. The park is built along the slopes of Maryland Mountain (9,209 ft) and looks to be a former mine site. The park caters to hikers and mountain bikers with trail system that provides many hiking & biking options. The main access is via the Hidden Treasure Trailhead built on State Highway 119. Maryland Mountain is the centerpiece of this park and the Summit Trail is route designated for hikers. The summit boasts nice views of the Mt. Evans Massif and the James Peak Wilderness to the west.
Many open space parks have "hikers only" trails, but Maryland Mountain has a "hikers only" trail and a "bikers only" trail to the summit. This ensures that both user groups can reach the summit without conflict. To reach the Summit Trail, cross the pedestrian bridge over 119 and hike south along the Historic Gilpin Tram Trail. This wide trail is open to all users and provides a good warm up before you start the ascent. The trails are well marked so you'll know when you reach the "Summit Trail."
The Summit Trail is well constructed and provides a steady uphill hike with plenty of switchbacks and viewpoints along the way. As you hike, you are treated to views of Blackhawk, the hillsides surrounding the city, and the Front Range Mountains. The views from this trail are a stark reminder of the tremendous amount of mining in this area, both historically and currently. That being said, the trail is beautiful with aspens, pine forests, rock formations, and vistas.
As you near the top of the mountain you'll intersect the Easy Money Trail, turn right, head around the bend and turn right again onto the trail leading to the summit. The rocky summit has more big views as a nice reward for your hard work. On the way down, you can turn the hike into a longer loop by following the Easy Money Trail. The Hard Money Trail is reserved for bikers.
The Easy Money Trail takes you to the western side of the park which I haven't explored yet but results in a much longer hike. If you head back down the Summit Trail then your hike will clock in at about 3 1/2 miles and a bit less than 1,000 ft of elevation gain. A nice workout and scenic hike.
HIKES BY REGION
NATIONAL PARK HIKES
- BENT'S OLD FORT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK
- COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT
- CURECANTI NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
- DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
- FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
- MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
- GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK
- HOVENWEEP NATIONAL MONUMENT
- SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- YUCCA HOUSE NATIONAL MONUMENT
- HIKES BY CATEGORY
- $UPPORT GHC
- INTERACTIVE MAP
Maryland Mountain Summit Trail
Quartz Valley Park
Date Hiked: June 22, 2021
Distance: 3.4 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 968 ft
Elevation Min/Max: 8,218 to 9,209 ft
Trailhead Lat/Long: 39.81150, -105.49678
Managing Agency: City of Blackhawk