OverviewThis trail, while currently not an official Jefferson County Open Space Park, is well defined, and well used by locals. The RV park that is just east of it has many residents that use it daily. Also, since the Ralston Road Soccer Complex has opened this year, there is now parking, port-o-lets, and easier access to the trail. People that are there with their kids often explore the area and the trail. That said, there are signs on the west side, immediately off Colfax, that indicate the area as Closed Open Space, and another sign that can be found indicates Hazardous Conditions. One would assume this has to do with the remnants of the clay pit mining operations that took place here in the 50's and 60's, although since then, nothing. It is of interesting note that where the soccer fields are used to be a landfill. You will see the methane vent pipes sticking up east of the soccer fields. The most hazardous place that is left now has a huge metal grate on it, to keep people from falling into it. It should be noted that this is not a beginnner trail - there are several difficult sections, it is aerobically difficult, and there are a few sections that are exposed - i.e. if you fall, you will get very banged up. That said, it is certainly not any worse exposure wise than many other JCOS parks like Deer Creek, Apex, White Ranch, and especially Dakota Ridge. Still, if you have concerns, I recommend hiking it first, as it is also a fine hike.
Trail DescriptionThis trail is entirely singletrack. The track itself varies in consistency from dirt, a few sand traps, and sandstone, as well as a few roots thrown in for good mix. While not exceptionally difficult technically, it isn't easy, especially while climbing from north to south. The obstacles come in at the stiff points in the climb, coupled with a few exposed spots and a few TIGHT switchbacks. Near the top as you look down on I-70, you ride through a nice little grove of small Ponderosa pines. You are, however, directly under a large high voltage power line, so best not to linger.
Getting ThereTwo easy ways - One is to park at the Ralson Road Soccer Field/Complex. This is open space/public. To get there, from the 6th and Colfax intersection, head west on Colfax about 2 miles, turn south (left) onto Rooney Road, and follow it towards Green Mountain. About 1 mile in, you will see the signs for the Soccer Complex. This parking allows you to ride Tin Cup south to the top, then traverse over to Dakota Ridge, then return in Matthews/Winters via Red Rocks trail, and then back under I-70, over to Tin Cup to descend it south to north (the more enjoyable way to do so). This is the best parking option, especially for a longer ride.
Your other option is to park in the T-Rex lot, on the NE corner of the Morrison Road and I-70 exit, although this forces you to ride the fun way first (S-N), the the hard way immediately (N-S).