With more than 2,400 acres of open space, William Frederick Hayden Park on Green Mountain is the second-largest park in Lakewood. The park features a challenging network of multi-use trails. What makes this particular mountain so special is its location. At 6,855 feet, it is not particularly tall, but it is amongst the first actual peaks that one would come across as they travel to the West. At least geographically speaking, it marks the border between the Great Plains to the East and the Rocky Mountains to the West.
Since 1972, the majority of William Frederick Hayden Park was donated by or purchased from the Hayden Family. Once home to the buffalo, this park now provides rich habitat for a diverse array of wildlife, including coyotes, hawks, rattlesnakes, bluebirds, rabbits, mule deer, and an occasional mountain lion. Most of the park was donated by or purchased from, the Hayden family in 1972. It is now run by the city of Lakewood. Biking and hiking to the top of its hilltop is a locals’ favorite.
The park is subtle and surprising. From the highway, it is not much to look at but once you are on Green Mountain, you will feel as if you’ve been transported 60 miles west to a wilderness area. In the spring, there are wonderful wildflowers, in the fall, the mountain takes on a golden glow in the evening. There is very little shade on Green Mountain which tricks you into thinking that you are above the treeline at a much higher altitude, watch out for summer afternoon thunderstorms.
There are many trailheads and a vast system of official trails and social trails that are open to hikers, cyclists, and equestrians. The main trail in the park is the Green Mountain Trail, a 6.6. mile loop that features a challenging ascent to the park’s highest point as well as a less challenging section along the base of the park that is great for beginner hikers, runners,d mountain bikers. The Green Mountain Trail meets the Summit Loop Trail near the large radio tower that dominates the Eastern side of the park.
The Summit Loop Trail, on the other hand, is a 2.75-mile trail that winds around a portion of the park’s summit. This trail features exceptional views to the north and also provides access to the Box-o-Rox trail. Box-o-Rox is a popular and more challenging mountain bike trail that offers more technical terrain and includes a challenging rock section with alternate lines. Another popular trail in the park is the Rooney Valley Trail, a 3.1-mile loop trail cutting through the middle of the park and offering an alternative to the Green Mountain Loop. Rooney Valley Trail is a single-track trail that’s somewhat steep in places and features smaller loose rocks. It’s another frequently traveled spot for mountain bikers, so use caution when hiking this trail. The Rooney Valley Trail is accessible from the Rooney Road Trailhead, just off of CO-470 on the West side of the park, and offers great front range views to the West.
The park is very popular due to its proximity to Denver and easy access. Most days see a significant amount of traffic using the single track throughout the park. Bikers can regularly reach the staggering summit and hikers can be found across the hills. Once you reach the top, there is a trail system along the peaks of the individual hills, up to the official summit. There are plenty of good singletracks.
There are several parking areas located around William Frederick Hayden Park, with different trailheads and routes up and it’s free to use and park. In the winter there are brief stints where you could snowshoe the trail. The park is open from 5:00 am to 10:00 pm. It is also only 12 miles from central Denver and is known to be one of the places that dry out the quickest after a precipitation event. So, if there is a place to check out on a nice sunny day only half a week after one of the worst flooding events in Colorado history, William Frederick Hayden Park is the place.