Denver Area Photo Locations – Roxborough State Park

January 30, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

This is the third in my series of PFB Images blog posts about outdoor photography locations in the Denver area.  This month, I’m featuring Roxborough State Park.  The park is located southwest of Denver in Douglas County.  From C-470, take Santa Fe Drive south to Titan Road west, take Titan Road to Rampart Range Road south for about 2 miles, and follow the signs to the park entrance.  The park charges a day use entrance fee (currently $8), or you can use your annual Colorado State Parks Pass.  Park and Visitor Center hours vary by season; see the park’s website for details.

Roxborough State Park is a National Natural Landmark consisting of over five square miles showcasing the park’s hallmark red sandstone formations.  From the Visitor’s Center, trails generally go north and south, providing access to two distinct areas.  Fountain Valley is to the north of the Visitor Center, and can be accessed along the 2.3-mile Fountain Valley Trail.  There are two overlooks in the valley.  Fountain Valley Overlook is only about ½ mile from the visitor center, while Lyons Overlook is about half way up the valley.  Both overlooks provide grand photographic vistas including the red sandstone monoliths, evergreens and scrub oaks, and the surrounding foothills.  I prefer to hike the entire Fountain Valley Trail, looking for intimate pictures of the sandstone formations, wildflowers in summer, and occasional wildlife.

South of the Visitor Center, the park is somewhat more open, and the trails are less busy.  The 3-mile South Rim Trail has some short steep climbs, working its way through scrub oaks and evergreens, and provides some great photographic views of the plains east of the park at higher elevations.  The Willow Creek Trail shortcuts the South Rim Loop, providing a 1.4-mile hike, but it does not provide grand photographic vistas since it does not climb to the top of the ridges.  The Carpenter Peak Trail is the longest trail in the park, and also has the most elevation gain.  However, the photographic views from the top of Carpenter Peak and the viewpoints along the way are worth the hike.

I usually encounter mule deer at some point on my visits to Roxborough.  Their movements vary seasonally, but I photograph them more often along the trails in the morning and along the entry road in the afternoon.  Although they are less common, I have photographed coyotes in the open areas along the South Rim Trail and the entry road, and various raptors visit the park occasionally.

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