Hidden Mesa Trail | Colorado | 06/06/20

Hidden Mesa Trail | Hidden Mesa Open Space

Franktown, CO | 06/06/20 | 6.48 miles | 505′ gain


On a rainy June morning, my friend Tori and I set out for a quick hike. The Castle Rock area had the best weather forecast and we hoped we could get in a dry hike. Douglas County is an area I haven’t spent much time in, so I was looking forward to exploring something new: Hidden Mesa Open Space.

We started at the eastern trailhead, next to an 1880s-era homestead. The trail follows the old farm lane, cutting through hay fields before crossing Cherry Creek.

Farm Lane crosses hay fields and heads towards Cherry Creek (trees) and Hidden Mesa (in the distance).

We took the paved Cherry Creek Regional Trail north for a few minutes before turning west and heading once again toward the mesa, now on Hidden Mesa Trail. We passed through a large prairie dog colony as the trail transitioned from flat to a gradual incline. When we reached the base of the mesa, we turned onto the Rocky Pass Trail, which took us through the shrubland on Hidden Mesa’s hillsides and to the top of the mesa.

Indian Paintbrush
Hidden Mesa was once an ancient riverbed; its rock ledges are made of compressed sand and cobble.

The vegetation grew thicker as we climbed the steep trail, eventually transitioning from scrub to pine and juniper.

When we reached the top of Hidden Mesa, we decided to continue straight on the Rocky Pass Trail. We followed it across the mesa to the western trailhead, where there was a bathroom and trash can (both needed). We intended on completing the full loop on the mesa afterwards, but it was at this point that the clouds, which had been around all morning, decided to finally open up and start sprinkling on us. We were a few miles from the car as it was, so we decided not to finish the loop and just head straight back to the car.

The mesa top is very broad (and forested in areas) so there isn’t much for views, though you’d be able to see the mountains if it weren’t cloudy.
Me & Otis on Hidden Mesa

It sprinkled on and off on our way back to the car. Not nearly wet enough, Otis flopped his entire body into Cherry Creek as we crossed, refreshing himself and absorbing water into his thick fur that he would later deposit in my car. (Thanks Otis!) This was a nice, quick, and easy hike, perfect for a morning too rainy to do much else.


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