Directions: This hike starts at the main parking area for Roxborough State Park (Park Fees are required). From Denver take C470 and exit at S. Wadsworth Blvd. Follow S. Wadsworth south until you pass by the Waterton Canyon Parking Area. The road then becomes Waterton Road as you bear left. Make a right on N. Rampart Range Rd. Take this road until it ends and you see the signs for Roxborough SP. When you enter the park you follow the good dirt road to the parking area and visitor's center. The trail starts across just to the right of the front of the Visitor's Center.
This is the park's main attraction, and understandably so. It is a very easy trail to a view point that is nothing short of Spectacular.
The hike starts by following a wide trail to a short spur leading to the Fountain Valley Overlook. This overlook provides a nice view of what is yet to come on this hike and a nice look back at the southern section of the park that you do not get to explore on this trail. Shortly after returning to the main trail, the trail splits and the loop begins. I highly recommend heading right and hiking the eastern portion first.
Follow the trail across open meadows until you come to the Lyons Overlook Trail, turn left. The trail climbs gently to the top of the ridge and provides the best view in the park. The view overlooking the lush Fountain Valley with the towering red rock cliffs to the west is simply spectacular. The view is all the better in mid-late October when the cottonwoods in the valley are glowing yellow and the scrub oaks turn a bright red.
Return to the main trail and continue heading north. The trail descends rapidly to a historic cabin and a restored residence with interpretive signs explaining the rich history of this area. Continue on the loop and start to explore the western portion of the trail.
Almost immediately the trail enters the verdant cottonwood groves, again, stunning in the late fall. This portion of the trail weaves through towering red rock formations and crosses open meadows with views of the massive formations. While this trail is certainly amazing in any season, this section really needs to be hiked in the fall to be fully appreciated. After about a mile, the trail returns to the start of the loop and soon after returns to the visitor center.
This hike is the most popular in the park, and for good reason. Roxborough can get busy, but it never really feels crowded. That being said, be prepared to have company on this hike. Even if this hike does not provide solitude, it is great for kids and makes for a wonderful introduction to the park. If you want a similar experience, but a more rugged hike, try the South Rim Loop or Carpenter Peak. However, do not skip the Lyons Overlook, it is something that every Colorado hiker should view at least once in your life...
April 13, 2013
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
Fountain Valley Trail
Roxborough State Park
Date Hiked: October 13, 2018
Distance: 2.7 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 500ft
Elevation Min/Max: 5,997 to 6,273ft
Managing Agency: Colorado Parks & Wildlife