] Dakota Ridge via Red Rocks Trail

Hike rolling grassland punctuated by towering redrock formations to a ridge overlooking the Front Range on this 6-mile loop just 20 minutes from Denver.

Swap city skylines for redrock vistas on this 6-mile loop just south of Golden. 

From the trailhead in Matthews/Winters Park, hike southwest on Village Walk Trail past a shaded picnic area. Cross a wooden bridge, then bear right at the trail fork. Ahead, the well-maintained path rolls across the grassland. Be on the lookout for grazing deer. 

After a mile, the trail narrows to rocky singletrack and descends switchbacks to a dry creekbed. Less than a mile later, you’ll encounter dramatic views of massive red sandstone slabs rising up from ground. From the base of the 40-foot redrock monolith, you'll see layers of the Front Range unfold. Next, continue on trail as it descends between stacked rock formations. When you reach W. Alameda Parkway, cross to the parking lot and turn right to reconnect with Red Rocks Trail. Follow the trail through pine dotted meadows, then turn right onto CR 93. Near the halfway point, the route crosses CR 93 and begins a rocky, root-laced switchback ascent of the Hogback.

At the top of the ridge, follow the crest north, passing bird’s-eye views of Red Rocks Amphitheater and the surrounding mountains. Descend the ridge on singletrack at mile 5.3, and carefully cross CO 26 to return to the parking lot.  Mapped and photographed by Kim Phillips and Jennie Perletz

Permit None Contact Matthews/Winters Park