Directions: From Denver take I-70 west to Hwy 58 west to 93 north. Turn left on W. 56th Ave for 1 mile to the trailhead and parking area.
The eastern portion of White Ranch Park is vastly different from the higher elevation of the western portion. White the western hikes ramble through evergreen forest and meadows, the eastern portion climbs up from the plains through dryer scrub bushes and smaller evergreen trees. The reward is a fun and challenging hike with a great aerobic workout.
The hike starts at the eastern trailhead and follows the Belcher Hill Trail along the edge of the foothills to the junction with the Whippletree Trail. Turn right onto Whippletree and zigzag downhill to the Longhorn Trail. This is where the fun begins. The trail climbs up, up, and up, switchbacking up the foothills with ever increasing vistas of the red rock hogback to the east. You gain plenty of elevation here but the trail grade is steady which makes for a fun climb. If you want to make this a shorter loop, you can take the Shorthorn trail back down, otherwise stay on the Longhorn Trail until it meets up with the Maverick Trail.
Follow the Maverick Trail south rolling along through the meadows and forests with wonderful views to the east. Once you reach the Belcher Hill Trail, turn left (east) and head down hill. The Belcher Hill Trail is very popular and you won't be alone here. However, the trail is very scenic and provides great views of the Table Mountains as you descend back to the Whippletree Junction. Keep on the Belcher Hill Trail back to the parking area.
With fewer people and a vigorous up-hill workout, eastern White Ranch is a real treat. You can configure various loops in this area but if you complete the big loop described here, you can drink your post hike beer with pride...and aching legs...
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
Longhorn > Maverick > Belcher Hill Loop
White Ranch Park
Date Hiked: September 7, 2012
Distance: 7.8 mi (RT)