JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — This is the last weekend for a while to explore several trails in Jefferson County that will temporarily close soon to protect wildlife species.
This happens each year to protect various species during sensitive times of their life cycles, Jeffco Open Space said. This includes nesting, rearing young or surviving a critical time in their life.
The following trails will close to the public on Monday, Feb. 1:
- Elk Range Trail in Centennial Cone Park: Closed Feb. 1 through mid-June to protect elk during their calving season. The entire park is closed Dec. 1 through Jan. 31 for seasonal hunting. Aside from Elk Range Trail, the park will reopen to the public on Feb. 1. The Elk Range Trail is 3 miles long and completes the loop at the park, so hikers, bikers and runners should be aware they will need to complete out-and-back routes at this park.
- Part of Clear Creek Canyon Park near Mile Marker 270: This section of the park is closed from Feb. 1 through July 31 to all public use uphill of US Highway 6. This includes various climbing areas, such as Bumbling Stock, Stumbling Block, Skinny Legs, Blonde Formation, and Ghost Crag, as well as the Fault Caves. The closure is to protect raptor nesting territory. In addition, parts of the park near Tunnel 2 are closed to the public uphill of Highway 6 — including the climbing areas of Highlander, Evil Area, and Tetanus Garden — from Feb. 1 through July 31 to protect nesting eagles.
- Black Bear Trail between Deer Creek Canyon Park and Hildebrand Ranch Park: This relatively new 3-mile trail connects the two parks and will remain closed from Feb. 1 through July 31. The closure was created to protect nesting birds of prey in the area.
- Rim Rock Trail at North Table Mountain Park: Rim Rock Trail, on top of the mesa, closes each year from Feb. 1 to July 31 to protect ground-nesting birds and nesting birds of prey.
- Lava Loop Trail at South Table Mountain Park: Like the closure on North Table Mountain, this 1.4-mile looped trail is also on top of the mesa of South Table. The annual closure protects ground-nesting bird habitat and nesting eagles.
In addition, the following areas will close to the public on March 1:
- Cathedral Spires Park: This entire park will close March 1 through July 31 to protect testing birds of prey.
- The Crown Hull Park Wildlife Sanctuary in Crown Hill Park: This section of the park, nestled in its northwest corner, will closed from March 1 through June 30 to protect nesting and brooding waterfowl. This park is located in Wheat Ridge.
Jeffco Open Space natural resources staff and volunteers monitor the local conditions to see if the closures need adjustment.
Violators who enter the trails after the closure face a fine of $150. Anybody who destroys habitat during these closures will be fined $200. Violations of seasonal closures that were implemented to protect bald or golden eagles can result in a fine of $100,000, imprisonment, or both.
To report active violations, contact Jeffco Dispatch at 303-980-7300.
Check up-to-date alerts and closures in Jeffco Open Space parks by visiting its website here.