Bayou Gulch Perimeter Loop | Bayou Gulch Open Space
Parker, CO | 03/20/21 | 3.9 miles | 229′ gain
Kyle and I planned a nice, easy loop around Bayou Gulch Open Space. This open space is mostly prairie, sandwiched between the encroaching city and enduring agriculture. We parked at the main trailhead and walked along the connector trail toward the cottonwood-lined Bayou Gulch. The creek was so inviting that when we reached the Perimeter Trail, we chose to follow the creek first, heading counter-clockwise around the loop.
This section of trail also borders the road with parks, schools, homes, and the Colorado Horse Park just across the street. The open space is used heavily by horseback riders and has many jumps and trails reserved for Horse Park members. There weren’t any riders around during our visit – in fact we had yet to see a single other person.
The Bayou Gulch Perimeter Trail is only about 3.3 miles so we decided to add the Cherry Creek Connector Trail, a 1.1 mile out-and-back trail that connects Bayou Gulch Open Space to the Cherry Creek Regional Trail. While we hadn’t encountered much snow up until this point, the connector trail was along the base of a steep hillside and the snow had drifted pretty deep in areas. We made it about 1/4 mile before we became frustrated and turned around in search of drier trail.
Back on the Perimeter Trail, we continued around the south side of the open space. We gained a bit of elevation here, climbing up out of the floodplain and onto the higher part of the prairie. Unfortunately there was still some snow to contend with but as we were halfway around the loop, it didn’t make sense to turn around.
As we climbed higher, we could see the rolling hills of the prairie. I imagine this area is beautiful with spring and summer wildflowers. The Perimeter Trail follows a dirt road for about 1/4 mile, and while there were signs at each point the trail left the road, they were very small and easy to miss.
The trail then followed a fenceline next to an agricultural area, occasionally dipping away to cross numerous small gulches. We still hadn’t seen a single person.
In fact, we didn’t start to see people until 1/2 mile from the trailhead. The afternoon crowds had arrived just in time for us to finish our hike.