Riding the White Rocks Plateau from Gunbarrel Farm

Ann and Russell Hayes, Rosie Hauge and HerbPoppe shared this winter ride.

Ann and Russell Hayes, Rosie Hauge and Herb Poppe shared this winter ride.

The White Rocks Trail is a segment of the East Boulder Trail System which stretches six scenic miles from the Teller Farm South trailhead off Arapahoe to its northern terminus at the Gunbarrel Farm Trailhead in the heart of the Heatherwood neighborhood.

One can begin at the Teller South trailhead and head north. The trail follows the course of the Cottonwood Ditch through open fields (where, in summer, hay is grown and cattle graze), crosses Valmont Road at the Teller South trailhead, skirts a glassy lagoon (reclaimed gravel pit), crosses Boulder Creek, and ascends to the White Rocks plateau, an elevation gain of about 800 feet. Here the landscape morphs to open prairie grasslands that stretch as far as the eye can see.

Instead we began at Gunbarrel Farm Trailhead, the high end of the White Rocks Trail, and rode east past the Lookout Ridge Equestrian Center. Next we veered downhill toward a shallow arroyo which we ascended at a trot, thence on to a huge water tower (obtrusive landmark!) where we rejoined the White Rocks Trail. From this point we descended along a path bounded by the Heatherwood neighborhood and looped back up to the tower. Despite these landmarks, the overall impression is that of being somewhere remote in the Pawnee Grasslands or adrift in an African game preserve minus the herds of Wildebeest and lurking lions. There is one prairie dog village along the route. It is a reminder to be wary of holes underfoot.

On a clear day like today, the snow-capped peaks of the Continental Divide crest the horizon and one is floating on air aboard his trusty mount.

Ann Hayes

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