Roxborough State Park

Roxborough State Park

Roxborough State Park is a unique Colorado State Park with a collection of spectacular red rock formations. Easy hiking trails meander throughout the area. It’s also great for bird watching. In fact, “Audubon Colorado” says that over 157 species of birds have been seen here. I saw two birds here that were new to me. One was the western scrub jay, and the other one was a spotted towhee.

Other residents of Roxborough State Park include: black bears, mountain lions, bobcats, mule deer, golden eagles, and rattlesnakes. Yes, there are signs posted in the park saying that it’s rattlesnake country, so do keep an eye out for them. We didn’t see any but they do live here.

We did see mule deer while we were here. Actually we were lucky enough to see them right outside the visitor center. I tried to take pictures of them but unfortunately, they were scared away by all the nearby children who went running for a closer look. Maybe I’ll have better luck another day!

We just missed seeing a black bear and her cub while we were at Roxborough State Park. We were walking along the Fountain Valley trail when we came upon a couple of people who were standing on the trail. They told us they had just seen a black bear and cub a short distance ahead of us, just off the trail. So they were waiting for the bears to leave, and thought we should too. Probably a good idea.

Because of the wildlife at Roxborough State Park, dogs are not allowed here. Or at least, I assume it’s because of all the wildlife. Actually, I wouldn’t bring my dog here even if they were allowed. That’s because I wouldn’t want to take a chance of having my dog bitten by a rattlesnake. So, leave you furry friend at home for this one.

I almost forgot to mention that Roxborough State Park is a day-use only park. So, no camping and no picnic tables either. However, there are a few benches scattered around the park, and you are most welcome to use them.

Roxborough State Park, Colorado

One last thing I’d like to say about this park is this: I think that one of the best times to be here is on a clear, sunny, blue-sky morning. That kind of light really brings out the red hue in the red rock formations that exist here. Once the afternoon clouds roll in, the light changes, and the rock formations don’t seem as impressive anymore.

So, if you’re ready to visit Roxborough State Park, here’s how to find it:

From Wadsworth Blvd. in Denver, follow Wadsworth south past Chatfield State Park. Then turn left on Waterton Rd., which is just before the entrance to Lockheed Martin. Keep following Waterton Rd. as it crosses the South Platte River, until it ends at North Rampart Range Rd. Turn right, (south), onto North Rampart Range Rd. Then continue on for a short while until you reach the intersection of North Rampart Range Rd. and Roxborough Park Rd. Turn left onto Roxborough Park Rd. Then take the next right, (about 50 yards away), and follow it to the park entrance.

From the entrance to Roxborough State Park, follow the dirt road to either of the two parking areas. The visitor center is a short walk from the second parking lot and is a good place to pick up a map/brochure of the park.

Hiking Trails at Roxborough State Park

Fountain Valley Trail
Hikers only
Start: visitor center
End: visitor center
Round-trip distance: 2.25 mile loop
Difficulty level: easy
Approximate round-trip hiking time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Directions to Fountain Valley trail: this trail starts just outside of the visitor center. (Actually, all trails in this park start just outside the visitor center.)

Fountain Valley Overlook

This trail is a wide and easy path that passes by the biggest rock formations in the park. Near the beginning of the trail is a short spur that goes up to the Fountain Valley Overlook. It shouldn’t be missed! After returning from the overlook, you can start the loop in either direction but I recommend the left fork since that’s where the rock formations are. Bring your camera!

Willow Creek Trail
Hikers only
Start: visitor center
End: visitor center
Round-trip distance: 1.4 mile loop
Difficulty level: easy
Approximate round-trip hiking time: about 35 minutes
Directions to Willow Creek trail: starts just outside of the visitor center.

Willow Creek trail scenery

This trail is more narrow and starts out in a scrub oak “forest”. There is poison ivy towards the beginning of the trail, along with a sign pointing it out. Be careful not to touch the stuff! Anyway, the trail goes up and down and eventually opens up to where you can see some of the other rock formations in the park. Shortly thereafter, you’ll end up back at the parking lot or you can stop in at the visitor center.

Lyons Overlook Trail
Hikers only
Start: visitor center
End: visitor center
Round-trip distance: 1.3 miles
Difficulty level: moderate
Approximate round-trip hiking time: about 45 minutes
Directions to Lyons Overlook trail: starts just outside of the visitor center.

Lyons Overlook scenery

This trail actually starts on the Fountain Valley trail. From the Fountain Valley trail, take the right branch of the loop to reach the beginning of the Lyons Overlook trail. You’ll see the sign for it a short distance down the trail on your left.

The Lyons Overlook trail is mostly an uphill climb on a narrow trail through scrub oak. But it’s not a steep climb and it doesn’t take that long to reach the top. Once you get there, you’ll find a bench plus a boardwalk area at the overlook. After enjoying the view, just return the way you came.



South Rim Trail
Hikers only
Start: visitor center
End: visitor center
Round-trip distance: 3.0 mile loop
Difficulty level: moderate
Approximate round-trip hiking time: 1 hour and 40 minutes
Directions to South Rim trail: starts just outside of the visitor center.

The South Rim trail starts along the same trail as the Willow Creek trail, so watch out for that poison ivy at the beginning.

This is a trail that’s pretty open, with very little shade along the way. So I recommend hiking it early in the morning, early in the evening, or another time of the year besides summer. Also, bring plenty of water!

South Rim Trail scenery

The trail itself is mostly uphill and takes you to the top of a ridge. From there, you can look down on the rock formations below, as well as get a bird’s eye view of the park.

There are benches along the way but very little shade, as I mentioned. Wildflowers were starting to bloom, so it’s a nice trail over all; just hot during the summer.


More Pictures From Roxborough State Park

Prickly Pear Cactus flower

Here's a cactus flower I saw along the South Rim trail. It was hot on this day so it seemed appropriate to see this type of flower...and worth a picture too.


Roxborough State Park, Colorado

This is one of the smaller rock formations, (at right), along the South Rim trail. You don't have to climb to see this one; it's on a portion of the trail before you start going up.


Roxborough State Park, Colorado

This rock formation can be seen from the parking area so you don't even have to walk to see it. But it does look nicer from outside your car!


I’ll be adding more pictures to this Roxborough State Park page at some point, so keep an eye out for them if you’re interested. 


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