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Trail Mix — West

Your region's go-now guide: get your heart rate up by climbing 1,500 feet in 2.4 miles in Santa Barbara, visit the newest state park in Colorado, enjoy the solitude of the Wyoming Range, and more.

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Richard Sterling, 26, of Grand Junction, CO, snapped this pic of buddy Nate Bachman leaping over red rocks on the Fisher Towers Trail, a 5.2-mile out-and-back 25 miles from Moab. Join in: Tag your hiking photo #BPmag on Instagram. Trip ID 5643

This Just In
Colorado’s latest state park offers nearly 20 miles of new high-country hiking and mountain biking.

Colorado’s Front Range, already teeming with close-to-home trails, opens its newest state park this spring. Just 45 minutes southwest of downtown Denver, 3,700-acre Staunton is built around a ranch homesteaded at the turn of the 20th century by Rachel Staunton, a doctor who was paid in beadwork and pottery by Native American patients living in the area. At 10,000 feet, fir-covered hills and ponderosa- and aspen-dotted meadows provide habitat for elk, mountain lions, and rare plants like the Rocky Mountain monkeyflower (blooming mid-July). Staunton’s family donated the ranch (just north of the mountain hamlet Pine Junction) to the state in 1986, but Colorado didn’t begin constructing trails until 2011. The park finally opens May 18, with 19.6 miles of paths. Nearly a quarter are hiker-only; the rest allow mountain bikes and horses. From the main parking area, hike a 12-mile lollipop past 75-year-old log cabins and towering granite crags. Follow the Staunton Ranch, Bugling Elk, Marmot Passage, and Scout Line Trails to a superb viewpoint from the Lions Head cliffs, down to 100-foot-long Elk Falls, and over Staunton Park’s golden meadows. Open for day use only until campsites are built, likely by 2015. Contact (303) 816-0912; bit.ly/stauntonSP

Rest in peace Spending the night in a frontcountry campground on your way to the trail? Avoid suffering another mosquito hotbed or viewless enclave by consulting CampsitePhotos.com­—a website featuring user-submitted pictures and reviews of 700 campsites (in 38 states) across the U.S.

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