Directions: From Denver take 285 South to Pine Junction. Make a left (south) on Pine Valley Road (126) and follow to just before the Pine Historic District. Make a left on Crystal Lake Road (following the signs to Pine Valley Ranch) and take this road into the Park. The trailhead is located on the road at a closed gate. You may have to park at the main parking lot.
The Star View Trail is a lesser traveled trail in Pine Valley Ranch and has one of the best views in the park. The trail follows a dirt road, closed to the public, up to a small observatory. There is an additional bonus trail, unofficial but clearly followed that leads down to a rock outcropping with terrific views of the North Fork of the South Platte River.
There is no parking at the trailhead which starts at a locked gate next to an administrative/maintenance building. There is perhaps room for one car to park on the road next to the trailhead. If you can't park there then park at the main parking lot and you should be able to find a social trail leading up to the Star View Trailhead, it just adds about a mile roundtrip to the hike.
From the gate, simply follow the road as it climbs, somewhat steeply, up to the observatory. You quickly break out of the tree cover and can enjoy the views for the remainder of the hike. At the top of the trail is the observatory but unfortunately it is closed to the public. There are benches to rest on and take in the views.
At the southeastern end of the bench area, there is a break in the barrier and an obvious trail heading south. You can follow this trail for about 2 tenths of a mile down to a few different rock outcroppings. The first landmark on the trail is an old rusty garbage can...scenic right? From the garbage can the trail leads to a rock outcropping, then down to another. After the second outcropping, look downhill and you should see your destination. A short off trail hike takes you to a larger outcropping with terrific views of the narrow gorge carved by the South Platte. Work your way back up to the observatory and descend along the Star View Trail back to the trailhead.
This hike is far less popular than Pine Valley's other trails and the payoff is wonderful. The hike is short but substantial. Great for kids, great for a winter hike, and great in its own right.
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
Star View Trail
Pine Valley Ranch Park
Date Hiked: December 3, 2020
Distance: 1 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 250 ft
Elevation Min/Max: 6,989 to 7,185 ft
Trailhead Lat/Long: 6,420 to 8,313 ft
Managing Agency: Jefferson County Open Space