· Red Rocks
Aliases: Flying J Ranch Open Space, Beaver Ranch Open Space, Newton Park, Meyer Ranch Open Space, Staunton State Park
Conifer is a beautiful little foothill town just west of Denver, and makes a perfect base for exploring the lower montane habitats found in the area, including all the amenities needed for a trip. There are a number of parks near Conifer that are quite similar to each other, and visiting any of them would probably net the target species. One of the best of the bunch is Flying J Ranch Open Space, where you can find abundant, high-quality mixed-conifer woodlands, interspersed with aspen groves, large meadows, and even a small pond. Look here for Pygmy Nuthatch, Williamson’s Sapsucker, migrating sparrow flocks in the meadows that can include Brewer’s, Lincoln’s, and White-crowned Sparrows, and all the usual suspects for this elevation and habitat. Beaver Ranch Open Space, just south of Conifer, has all of the same habitats, as well as a nice willow-lined creek near the entrance. Look here for the same species, as well as hummingbirds (including Rufous and Calliope in late summer) visiting thistles along the entrance road. Newton Park, just across the road to the north, is made up of three picnic sites that require advance reservation to use. However, you can walk into the park from Beaver Ranch. At Meyer Ranch Open Space, just northeast of Conifer, there is an extensive system of trails guiding you through some nice habitat, where you can expect to find the same species as at Flying J.
Directions: Conifer is along US 285, 15 miles from the junction with C-470. For Meyer Ranch - from US 285: exit at South Turkey Creek Rd., pass under the freeway and the parking lot will be at the "T". To reach Flying J Open Space: exit at Barkley Rd. and then head west at the 3-way intersection. Barkley Rd. will end at CO 73; go north on CO 73 for about 0.5 miles to the entrance for Flying J on the west. To reach Beaver Ranch Open Space: continue south on US 285 to Foxton Rd. Go about 0.5 miles to the entrance for Beaver Ranch, on the southeast. To get to Staunton State Park: continue on US 285 to Elk Creek Rd. Head northwest on Elk Creek Rd for a little over a mile to the park entrance, on the east.
Dates of Access: Open all year
Hours: Daylight hours
Restrictions: Respect private property
Lodging: Hotels in Conifer
Handicapped Access: Most facilities and some trails ADA accessible
» Visit the website for Conifer Area