Deer Creek Canyon Park is located in the southwestern part of the Denver metropolitan area about 27 miles from downtown Denver not that far away from Littleton, Colorado. It is a foothills park with the entrance and trailhead parking at the edge of an upscale suburban subdivision. The park varies in elevation from 5,744 to 7,484 feet. To hike all the trails in a single hike will require doing some repeat segments which will result in an overall hiking distance of between 10 and 12 miles.
Most of the park is covered by evergreen forests interspersed with a few open areas. Several viewpoints offer good views that extend mostly to the eastern side which is the populated urban area and the eastern prairie. There is one viewpoint that affords a reasonable view toward the west, although the high mountains of the Front Range cannot be seen from this park since they are almost totally blocked by higher foothills. Yet this park is a pleasant place for hiking and mountain biking. There are three trails on which bikes are prohibited which gives some relief to hikers who want to be left alone.
In Deer Creek Canyon Park, there are three named mountains. The highest is Wilds Peak and the most famous is Plymouth Mountain. While there are trails to two of the peaks, there is no trail to, or even near, Wilds Peak, thus making it officially inaccessible, although there might be unofficial “social” trails up there. It is highly unlikely that the average park visitor would consider bushwhacking their way up. The best time to hike in this park is from autumn through early spring when lots of wildflowers are in bloom. From late spring onward through the summer and into early autumn, it can be very hot here, and there is also the ever-present risk of encountering rattlesnakes. Due to icy conditions, winter is a great time to hike here since fewer hikers and fewer bikes are present. But the autumn can be especially enjoyable since that is when the many stands of Gambel Oak turn a vibrant reddish-brown color. The hiker-only trail to Bill Couch Mountain shows off these colors.
Deer Creek Canyon Park, unlike other parks, has been left conspicuously wild throughout its trail network. Other than several covered picnic shelters at the base and a large restroom facility, there are no other amenities in the park – not even occasional benches. If you want to take a snack break or rest stop, you will need to sit on the ground or find a rock or downed tree log. By far the best places to sit, have something to eat, or simply enjoy the views are at the tops of Bill Couch or Plymouth Mountains. Three are three hikes you can take here. These are through Plymouth Creek Trail, Plymouth Mountain Trail, and Red Mesa Loop.
Initially, you will start at the trailhead and proceed up the Meadowlark Trail until it intersects with the Plymouth Creek Trail, which you then take to its end. That will put you onto the Red Mesa Loop, which, after completing it in either direction, returns you to the Plymouth Creek Trail. Take this one back down until you get to the Junction with the Plymouth Mountain Trail. Hike the loop around the mountain and then continue to the end of your hike by going down the Plymouth Creek Trail to the trailhead. This is a 10-mile hike, but you can do some variations that will increase the length to 12 miles.
Deer Creek Canyon Park is located right at the doorstep of the entire Denver Metropolitan area, which makes it accessible to almost anyone. The park is mostly used by locals and perhaps guests of nearby residents. The Denver area has everything that visitors from elsewhere could want. From parts of the park you might even see where you live or where you are staying if from out of town. Certainly, on a clear day, you can see the skyscrapers downtown and you can easily see Littleton.
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