Matthews/Winters Park is a Jefferson County Open Space Park with a lot of history and beautiful red rock formations.
The park brochure says the area was developed in the 1800s by a lay preacher and land developer from Ohio. He put his town at the mouth of Mt. Vernon Canyon. By 1860, the Town of Mount Vernon had 44 registered voters.
From the parking lot, walk a short distance down the path to find the bathrooms, signs and trail brochures. Cross the bridge to start the Village Walk Trail. The Village Walk Trail is a short trail that takes you to the main Red Rocks Trail. As you hike along the Village Walk Trail, look for two fenced off areas marking the cemetery for the Town of Mount Vernon.
The Red Rocks Trail winds along the foothills, gaining some elevation as it heads for a mesa in the middle of the park. About 1.1 the trail dips down, crosses a seasonal creek, then climbs up a small hill, turns left and comes to the split with the Morrison Slide Trail.
I suggest taking the Morrison Slide Trail first, then looping back on the Red Rocks Trail. The Morrison Slide Trail is steep, it climbs about 584 feet. Get that out of the way and enjoy taking the more flat Red Rocks Trail back.
The Morrison Slide Trail is single track and has several switchbacks. When you take a break to catch your breath, look toward downtown Denver. That first hill is Dakota Ridge and beyond that, Green Mountain. Also look around for deer. Hikers often see deer on the mesa top and below.
Cross the mesa and when the Morrison Slide Trail starts dropping, the view gets even better. Chunks of Red Rock dot the landscape, giving this area its name. You hike down several steep switchbacks along the rocks to the trail split with the Red Rocks Trail.
Turn right and the Red Rocks Trail goes toward Red Rocks. Go straight ahead and the Red Rock Trail loops back around the mesa, back to the parking lot where you started.
Distance: 4.2 miles with about 750 feet of elevation gain.
Learn more about the park and get a trail map on the Matthews/Winters Park website. Find more Golden hiking trails and more Colorado hiking trails in this list of 400+ hikes in Colorado. Don’t miss any of my trip reports, sign up for an email alert by clicking on subscribe at the top of this page and follow me on Facebook.
Directions: From I-70, take the Morrison/Highway 93 exit and go south. Drive 0.1 miles to the signed turnoff for Matthews/Winters Park on your right.