Pine Valley Ranch Park
Aliases: Pine Lake
This large park contains many of the typical mountain habitats, especially mixed-conifer woodland and riverside willow habitat. A good trail along an old narrow-gauge railroad bed follows the river for two miles through the property, and can be a good place to look for willow specialists like MacGillivray’s Warbler and Lincoln’s Sparrow. American Dipper can be common along the river and has nested just east of the parking lot. Also be sure to look for Canyon and Rock Wrens on the cliff edges south and east of the parking lot.
The large burn to the northwest of Pine Lake sometimes has American Three-toed Woodpecker, and ponderosa habitat in the area could contain Williamson’s Sapsucker, Pygmy Nuthatch, Western Bluebird, and others. More open meadows often contain Mountain Bluebird and White-crowned Sparrow, and Golden Eagles could soar overhead at any time.
Directions: From Denver: go west on I-70 and transition to south C-470. From C-470, take US 285 south toward Fairplay. Go 22 miles to Pine Junction and turn southeast onto CR 126/Pine Valley Rd. Continue 5.8 miles and head west onto Crystal Lake Rd to the parking area, in about a mile.
Dates of Access: Open all year
Hours: One hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset
Restrictions: Obey Jefferson County Open Space rules and regulations. No paddleboarding, swimming, floating, or water craft allowed on Pine Lake.
Parking: Paved parking area
Lodging: Hotels in Evergreen, Littleton and Morrison
Handicapped Access: ADA accessible trail and fishing pier.
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