Behind the hogback, south of Roxborough State Park, is the 695-acre Nelson Ranch. It helps to buffer the park’s attributes and creates connectivity to this scenic landscape. The open space designation protects a variety of wildlife habitats amongst the Gambel oaks, ponderosa pines, Douglas firs, hawthorn and chokecherry bushes and narrow-leaved cottonwoods. There are excellent opportunities for dispersed, passive public recreation, such as hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking (for this use, access from the Pike National Forest.)
Nelson Ranch is south of Roxborough State Park. Trail access is from the Sharptail Open Space and Trail at Roxborough Park Road, 3.7 miles south of Titan Road. After traveling 4 miles on the Sharptail Trail, briefly enter County Road 5 for about 25 yards to the south, and you will begin the Swallowtail Trail. The trail will lead to two loops, totaling about 3.5 miles roundtrip. There is also the Ringtail Trail that branches off to the southwest from the Swallowtail trail. This trail winds up the mountain through Nelson Open Space and Pike Hill Open Space for 4+ miles to the Indian Creek Trail of the Pike National Forest.
Trail DescriptionAlmost entirely singletrack, this area encompasses a few "trails".
NOTE: Colorado Division of Wildlife regulations prohibits bicyclists and dogs at Sharptail Ridge Trailhead or on Sharptail Trail.
Users: Multi-use: horses and hikers (if accessing from Sharptail Trail) mountain bikes and dogs on leash (if accessing from Indian Creek Trail).
Multiple users, including mountain bikes and pets on a leash, can access from the Indian Creek Trailhead of Pike National Forest; however access from Indian Creek Trail does require a daily parking fee of $4 (7/04 price). Note: From the Indian Creek Trailhead to the western end of Ringtail Trail is a distance of approximately 4.4 miles.
Getting ThereFrom DougCO:
From Highway 85 (Santa Fe) turn west on Titan Parkway and drive 2 miles to Roxborough Road; turn left and drive south for 3.7 miles on gravel road; Sharptail Ridge Trailhead on the left.
When to BikeFrom Mid-March to Mid-November, depending on snow. These trails see less traffic than some in JeffCo, so fewer weekend/evening warriors are here.
Be aware of seasonal closures.