The Lone Tree, Colorado, area offers some of the state’s most unique and stunning nature experiences. From hiking to history to fossil hunting to water sports and more, there are many activities you and your whole family can take part in at the nearby parks and outdoor recreation sites. Here are five awesome nature-filled experiences to see and do around Lone Tree.
Bluffs Regional Park
“Hiking to Santa Elena Canyon” licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by joncutrer
Located right here in Lone Tree is our town’s natural pride and joy, Bluffs Regional Park. This destination is 235 acres of grasslands, trails, and views of the Colorado Front Range mountains.
If your family likes to hike, you can do the 2.7-mile loop portion of the trail for a simple hike, bike ride, or horse ride. For a little more challenge, complete the entire 3.72-mile trail, which is soft-surface and has about a 200-foot elevation gain over the whole trail, making it a simple yet enjoyable hike for all ages. Also, many of the trails in this park connect to other trail systems in the area, including the Highlands Ranch trails, the East/West Regional Trail system, and the South Suburban Parks and Recreation District trail system.
Throughout the park, there are many opportunities to view local wildlife like deer, red fox, rabbits, and prairie dogs. You can also head to both of the overlooks to take in the gorgeous panoramic mountain views, look out onto the neighborhoods past the park, and even enjoy the sight of Denver in the distance. And if you just want to get to the views, take the short 1.4-mile out-and-back hike to Tepe Overlook.
Schweiger Ranch is a local historical recreation area in Lone Tree where you can go on a self-guided tour during the Ranch’s public open house events on the third Saturday of every month. On the property, you can tour the Schweiger family house, meet the farm animals, and even go on guided nature hikes. These free events are hosted by professional naturalists who guide you around the property and its outskirts and teach you about the features of the land that the specific hike focuses on, like edible plants, Native American history and culture, and the local flora.
In addition to open days and nature hikes, Schweiger Ranch also hosts events throughout the year. Every autumn, you and your family can head to the Ranch for the City of Lone Tree annual Fall Festival to pick your own pumpkins from the pumpkin patch, go on a horse-drawn carriage ride, and hike around the beautiful property.
Cherry Creek State Park
Located in nearby Aurora is Cherry Creek State Park. This park is 4,000 acres of both water and land activities that are sure to keep you and your whole family occupied and excited to be out in nature. Enjoy the 12 miles of trails with a hiking or mountain biking excursion through grasslands, wetlands, marshes, and forests. While you hike, keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife, like horned owls, deer, bald eagles, hawks, and songbirds.
If it’s hot and your family wants to hit the water to cool off, you can choose between swimming, waterskiing, jet skiing, canoeing and kayaking, or even sailing. The horse lovers in your family will have fun at the 12 Mile Stables where you can rent horses to take on the trails or around the stable area and take riding lessons. When the snow and cold roll in, Cherry Creek State Park has much to offer in the way of winter activities, including sledding and snow tubing at any of the hills in the park, snowshoeing, and ice skating.
This park has many other unique activities, including a paved runway area for you and the kids to fly (and land) model airplanes, an archery facility to practice your arrow skills, and boating in pontoons and paddleboats. But make sure you get there early during the summer and during holiday weekends as the park can quickly reach capacity and parking fills up fast!
Live out your paleontologist dreams with a visit to Dinosaur Ridge. Here you get to see the real-life locations of actual dinosaur fossil discoveries from the late 1800s. In fact, it’s home to the world’s first discovery of the Stegosaurus. And while you can visit and take the tours on your own, Dinosaur Ridge offers many ways to learn from the dino pros. You can take a guided tour of both of the trails or listen to a pre-recorded audio tour.
There are two hiking trails on the property where you can follow dinosaur tracks, view a 100-million-year-old channel habitat that was once the home of ancient crocodiles and duck-billed dinos, and get up close and personal with Jurassic-aged bones inside the Dinosaur Ridge itself. You can customize your hike to get as much of a challenge as you want and see the sights you and the kids have to see. All in all, the trail is just over 2 miles. See T-Rex and Triceratops tracks without the crowds on the Triceratops Trail, which is 1.5 miles.
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre
Combine fantastic live performances from some of the most popular acts in the business and hiking a gorgeous landscape, and you get Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre in nearby Morrison. The next time you want to attend a concert, be sure to check who’s playing at this venue because you’ll get to watch the show looking out at some of the most beautiful landscape in Colorado.
You can also hike one (or all) of the five trails on location, which range in difficulty and length but are equal in providing amazing views. Or, attend a yoga lesson or fitness group class and work out on the amphitheater under the Colorado sun. And whether you’re there for a concert, finishing up a hike, or cooling down from an exercise session, you have to try Ship Rock Grille, which also provides stunning views of the rocky landscape and mountains.So there you have it, five places you can go the next time you need a fun, nature-filled excursion for the whole family that’s not too far from your Lone Tree home. Did we miss any of your favorite nature destinations in the area? If so, contact Crème de la Crème of Lone Tree to let us know, and we’ll be sure to add it to our list!