Fountain Valley Trail

Douglas County, Colorado

Elevation Gain321ft
Trailhead Elevation6,192ft
Elevation Min/Max6025/6229ft
Elevation Start/End6192/6192ft

Fountain Valley Trail

Fountain Valley Trail is a hiking trail in Douglas County, Colorado. It is 1.9 miles long and begins at 6,192 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 2.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 321 feet. The Roxborough State Park Visitors Center public building is near the trailhead. There are also an information map and restrooms. The Fountain Valley Overlook and Lyons Overlook viewpoints can be seen along the trail.

Fountain Valley Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"Located adjacent to Pike National Forest, Roxborough State Park nestles at the base of the Front Range foothills southwest of Denver. The Fountain Valley Loop, once an old ranch road, allows companionable side-by-side travel. The 2.2-mile loop ambles down a grassy valley to a historic stone house and returns through a lush basin flanked by upthrust fins of red sandstone.

Options include two spur trails: a brief one to an overlook of the park’s unique geology, and a second one to an observation deck with a grand view. The wildflower scene features golden wintercress in a moist meadow in the spring. The wildflower roster changes weekly. Before starting out on the Fountain Valley Trail, consider picking up an interpretive guide at the visitor center, which correlates to numbered posts along the trail. The center’s rock garden is especially colorful in spring and early summer. Wildflower alert: A wet meadow filled with golden wintercress and, later, golden banner."

"Roxborough State Park is a red rock wonder that shouldn’t be missed. This trail gets the award for highest scenic density and beauty for the smallest amount of physical effort."

"Follow a splendid trail through a red-rock garden, enjoying airy overlooks and a historic stone house along the way. Sawtooth sentinels of the Fountain Formation jut skyward at various locations along the Front Range—notably at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs and in Red Rocks Park just west of Denver.

But Roxborough State Park is home to a very striking and somewhat more secluded red-rock garden. The park’s remarkable geology tilts at a steep angle toward the backdrop of the Front Range as though it aspires to something higher, forming an alley of 300-million-year-old spires that erupts from the oak brush and colorful prairie grasses.

No dogs are allowed. No climbing is allowed on the formations."

"The smooth red-rock sentinels of the Rockies jut skyward here, sawtoothed remnants of an ancient time. These rusty-colored formations are a startling presence at various locations along the Front Range, but Roxborough is home to what might be the most striking cluster.

The Fountain Valley Trail, named for the 300-million-year-old-red rocks, begins in the grasses of the high plains prairie. Just around the bend, however, the barren lands give way to a forest of red rocks, slating westward as if drawn toward the high reaches of the mountains. It's truly a magical place."

"One hundred and fifty million years ago, Roxborough State Park was a popular hangout for the likes of the massive stegosaurus, T. Rex, triceratops, and other ancient beasties. The remarkable geological formations in the park are reminiscent of those days, and hiking the Fountain Valley Trail is a trek back in time alongside enormous red ridges and slanted hogbacks dating to five hundred million years! But the laurels of this park don’t stop there. As a result of the habits of wind flowing through this landscape, a number of diverse microclimates have formed, hosting a variety of flora and fauna.

Roxborough is home to big critters like deer, mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, and black bears. More than 140 species of birds have been spotted in the park, and don’t forget the snakes, frogs, and even turtles. We’ll pass by riparian habitats of chokecherries, wild raspberries, and Rocky Mountain maples. Porcupine, sandreed, yellow Indian, and big and little bluestem grasses wave amidst small stands of aspens, and of course, Gambel oak, Douglas-fir, ponderosa, mountain mahogany, skunkbrush, and yucca."

Fountain Valley Trail Reviews

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There are many reasons to like this short hike. Leaving from the visitor centre, we walked the loop clockwise. One is immediately amidst large, red rock formations, and the trail winds through many of the finest cliffs we have ever seen. Unlike the South Rim Trail, this one has minimal elevation gain on the first half of the hike. Rocks and cliffs provide constantly changing scenery. A number of benches are available for resting once near the homestead buildings. The long but very gentle climb to Lyons Lookout begins at the house, and a spur trail leads to the hilltop overlook. The valley below looks like something from a Roadrunner and Coyote cartoon. Behind the viewer, where one just climbed from, is that open and inviting grassland. An easy, rewarding hike even your mother would love! Not recommended in hot weather.

Fountain Valley Trail Photos

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Trail Information

Douglas County
Nearby City
Roxborough State Park
Local Contacts
USGS Kassler; Roxborough State Park brochure available at the visitor center
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018