Floyd Hill Open Space is an excellent addition to the Front Range foothills close to Evergreen
. A part of Clear Creek County’s Open Space system, the park offers over five miles of trail loops, with more planned soon. Sitting high above Clear Creek canyon, Floyd Hill Open Space offers amazing vistas of the Front Range, Centennial Cone, and Lookout Mountain. Featuring both biking and hiking trails, this new trail system is located just 15 minutes from Golden.
While you circumnavigate Floyd Hill Open Space, you’ll see stunning views of the foothills and the Continental Divide on the horizon. The park is built to cater to both hikers and mountain bikers with some trails being designated as hiker only. This hike follows the 3 loops that are currently available and makes for a wonderful couple of hours of hiking. In just two years, this trail has come together thanks to the cooperation of stakeholder groups, including COMBA, Clear Creek County, Clear Creek County Open Space, Mountain Area Land Trust, Trust for Public Land, Great Outdoors Colorado, and Gates Family Foundation. While sponsors include Team Evergreen Cycling, Yeti Cycles, Pedal of Littleton, Wheat Ridge Cyclery, and Colorado Deck Master. You might want to hike counter-clockwise, taking the trail to the right of the information kiosk, from the parking area. Initially, the trail heads east but then switches back to the west where it meets the first trail junction. You can continue closing the first loop if you are looking for a short hike of 1/2 mile, otherwise, you can begin the second loop.
The second loop begins by traveling west, under some power lines, to the edge of a dense forest. As the trail progresses, the views start to materialize and the hike begins to look more scenic. Soon after entering the forest, the trail meets the third loop. You can either continue the second loop and head back downhill for a 2-mile hike, or you can begin the third loop and fully explore Floyd Hill Open Space. The third loop is when things start to get interesting. The trail quickly climbs the south face of Floyd Hill and soon gains the summit ridge which is forested on the north. From the ridge, the hike weaves through the forest passing numerous rock outcrops all with magnificent views. The views include Saddleback Mountain just across I-70, as well as the Continental Divide/James Peak Wilderness on the western horizon. At the easternmost end of the trail, you will come to a junction with the private access road that you have been passing periodically throughout the entire hike. Just to the left of the road, you can take the trail that heads downhill back to the west. The next section of the trail passes through a very dense pine forest as it switches back down the hill.
Once the terrain levels out, you will find yourself in a peaceful area with meadows and clearings. Soon the trail heads west and starts gaining elevation as you approach the western portion of the third loop. Soon after crossing the western slopes, you’ll arrive at the Aqueduct Climbing Area. It is a rocky outcropping popular for rock climbing, and you will stand on the top of the cliff and be able to see a magnificent view to the west. Climbers may be below you, so be careful not to kick rocks down the steep slope. Then, on your way back to the parking area, complete the second and first loops to enjoy the last views. At some point, Floyd Hill Open Space will connect to the Peaks-to-Plains trail that runs through Clear Creek Canyon.
Furthermore, Sluice also known as Segment 4, is a brand-new 1.3-mile downhill trail and the crown jewel of these world-class trails for bikers, while hikers will have a more peaceful trail experience via hiker-only options. Built specifically for bikes on public lands in Clear Creek County, the trail is the first of its kind on Colorado’s Front Range, an area encompassing the foothills west of Denver. But, still close to Evergreen
. As the area’s first purpose-built downhill mountain bike trail, it features a variety of manmade features, the majority of which are not found elsewhere on Front Range trails including jumps, berms, drops, step-downs, step-ups, technical rock lines, and several optional alternative lines like places where the trails split giving riders more and less challenging choices.
Dropping 700 vertical feet with I-70, Colorado’s main mountain artery, as a backdrop, the Sluice’s main trail is rated blue square/black diamond, with the alternate lines varying in difficulty from black to double-black diamond.