Trailhead: Mount Vernon Trailhead
Activities: Hiking, Mountain Biking, Bouldering
Closest City / Town: Morrison, Colorado (Denver)
- Take I-70 to the Morrison Exit (Exit 259);
- Get off on the Morrison Exit, and then hang a left and head south (if you’re coming from Denver);
- Go south on Colorado Highway 26 approximately 0.1 mile and turn at the park entrance.
- There is a large parking lot near the entrance, but plan to arrive early – especially on weekends. The parking lot tends to fill up in a hurry.
Hiking Distance: 4.8 Miles (roundtrip)
Description: From the parking lot, head south towards the restroom for .3 miles. Cross Mt. Vernon Creek and take a right, continuing for another .3 miles. Keep an eye out to your right for an early homesteading cemetery with tombstones dating back to the mid-1800s.
Take a right at the second trail junction, following the Red Rocks Trail for another .8 miles. This portion of the trail rollercoasters through a series of perennial creek drainages. At the third trail junction, hang a right on the Morrison Slide Trail. Continue on the Morrison Slide, first climbing and then descending, for another 1.2 miles.
At the fourth trail junction, take a left on the Red Rocks Trail. As the trail traverses on the side of the mountain, look beneath you to the east to catch a glimpse of some of the boulders that we mention in the “worth noting” section below. Continue on the Red Rocks Trail for .8 miles.
When you get back to the junction of the Red Rocks Trail and Morrison Slide Trail, avoid the Morrison Slide Trail. Continue on the Red Rocks Trail, which will take you back to the parking area.
Worth Noting: In 1976, Jefferson County Open Space purchased 510 acres from Dr. William Winters, a physician from California. An additional 357 acres were acquired in 1982 from Nicholas Matthews, who was an adjacent landowner. In 1982, the area was officially named Matthews/Winters Park.
There are some nice bouldering opportunities at Matthews/Winters Park. If you’re looking for specific locations at Matthews/Winters, check out Colorado Bouldering 2, which is a great resource for statewide bouldering areas too.
This area affords Denver visitors and locals a great opportunity to hike in and around Red Rocks. If you’re in the vicinity, we’d definitely recommend stopping at the world-renowned Red Rocks Amphitheater
Tags: 3-5 miles, Dog friendly, Kid friendly, Moderate