Pine Valley Ranch (a Jefferson County Open Space Park) was once a working Ranch in the early 1900s along the Platte River and the railroad. The park now includes hiking trails, a lake for fishing, picnic pavilions, miles of mountain biking trails, the old lodge, and an observatory.
Take the Park View Trail to the lookout and then continue on along the Strawberry Jack Trail and then right onto the Buck Gulch Trail back to the lake and the parking lot to make a complete 3 mile loop. Grab a map at the trailhead to take with you.
The Park View Trail is a shady, uphill climb to a lookout point where you will be able to see the beautiful surroundings of the valley. You will start by hiking around part of Pine Lake and then up the side of the mountain through the pine trees. From the trail you will catch glimpses of the lake, the surrounding hills, as well as the rushing Platte River below. The trail is well-traveled and well-maintained with wooden stairs and railings to make the terrain easier to hike.
The trail moves out of the park along the Strawberry Jack portion and then back into the park on Buck Gulch portion. This area is a beautiful hike through pine forest and down to the lake. The walk along the lake is a pleasant section to end your hike.
This is a huge park and it accommodates many visitors. It is not a low traffic area as you will notice when you arrive in the parking lot. Visit early on a weekend or on a weekday to avoid the crowds. It is a great place to have a cookout and bring the kids for a day of fun (hiking and fishing) in the mountains.
Restrooms available at the parking/picnic area.
Picnic spot recommendations:
We like to pack our food and head up the trail to eat at the lookout of Park View Trail. If you prefer, there are a lot picnic tables near the river with grills if you like to cookout.