DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado’s natural areas offer experiences as vast as the great outdoors themselves. From skiing, boarding, rafting, hiking and camping there’s something for everyone.

So with only a few hours on a leisurely Sunday afternoon — and dogs in tow — I was looking for someplace close to town but one that felt far away. I ventured out to Jefferson County Open Space’s Meyer Ranch Park off Highway 285, a great place to enjoy the sun and break out of the everyday routine.

Just 30 minutes west of the Denver metro area, even the drive quickly removes you from the urban core.

As we drove on Highway 285 South, the windy drive toward Aspen Park took us through majestic trees that seem to touch the sky.

You might have to look carefully for the exit. It’s on the right and bends underneath US 285 onto South Turkey Creek Road. There you’ll find the parking lot immediately to your right. (If you make it to Aspen Park you went too far.)

Leashed dogs are welcome, so after parking at the lot at the bottom of the trail and getting them “saddled up,” I started up the slight incline to the base of the trails. The Owl Perch and Lodgepole trails form a 2 mile loop that’s an easy hike for even the novice, making this a great choice for visitors of all ages.

With wildflowers growing along the hillside, the space is alive with vibrant color. My dogs enjoyed ample space to walk with big fields on either side in which to roam.

I found that the trails seemed far enough from the highway that I almost forget how close I was.

Nice and wooded, and cooler even on a hot day, the walk was a welcome retreat.

Nature is one of the great ways to naturally reduce your stress, and while there are countless trails in the state, Meyer Ranch Park proved to be an easy, beautiful way to spend a simple afternoon.

– By Scott Smith for


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