#60HikesDenverChallenge – Button Rock Preserve: Sleepy Lion Trail

(For 2017, I have a goal of getting through all 60 trails in the book “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Denver”  You’ll see these posts all year-long. You can find a lot of info on each of the trails in the book, but I’ll highlight some things each time in addition to including my experience and opinion on the trail. The number below is associated with how they are labeled in the book if you have it.)

Trail #32 – Button Rock Preserve: Sleepy Lion Trail
Completed: 3/26/17 | Mode: Hike with Mom!
Location: HW 66 and CR 80 (Lyons)
Distance: 5.5 miles per the book (we got about 4.5)
Difficulty: Moderate, one long hill (about 500ft elevation change) with some flat spots to rest then all down hill from there.
Surface: Mixed – from hard packed dirt, rocky (class 3 for a tiny chunk), service road, asphalt, single track and double track, loose rocks…
Exposure: Lots of shade, some open meadows
Facilities: Bathroom at the trail head, no water

The river and man-made waterfall next to the service road

My Experience:
Well, it rained on us the whole time, but we finished it! I would love to come back and see this place in the sunshine. After hiking up a maintained dirt service road along a peacefull river, you make a left off the road onto Sleepy Lion Trail, a beautiful wooded climb interspersed with open meadows. After reaching the summit, you hike down an old, partly paved, service road that used to service a nature preserve (not even sure if the nature site is still in use, but the locked gate suggested otherwise). You get beautiful glimpses of the Ralph Price Reservoir on the way down. Sleepy Lion Trail spits you out right at the base of the reservoir where you can see the water RUSHING out. You can add an additional hike up to the reservoir, but we decided not to and hiked back down the dirt service road to our car. For only driving about 30 minutes from home, it sure felt like the high country and the smells of the pines trees were relaxing!

Ralph Prince Reservoir

Pros:
-Beautiful!
-Not crowded (at least on a rainy weekend day)
-Challenging enough to get the heart pumping
-Seems to be a trail to do all year long
-Close to Lyons, CO (lots of things to do, eat and see)

The beginning of Sleepy Lion Trail. Looking like tourists in our ponchos – but hey, we we’re dry!

Cons:
-Not a fan of the service road to get to the beautiful trail

Overall:
I would love to come back and do this trail again and add in the hike up to the reservoir (hopefully on a sunny day). It would be a great place to run with a good warm up, hill work on the trail, and a cool down back to the car. I would definitely bring people from our of town up here as well.


Check out the book I get all the trails from:

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