While a bit of a drive from Denver, this loop trail feels like an escape. Once back in the ranch, there are unique, wide open views created by an old wildfire. Hike through "fields" which were recently forest.
From the parking lot, there is a short, easily navigable stretch to access the loop (well marked on the map located in the parking lot). The loop, heading clockwise, starts to ascend up what truly feels like a gulch; there is a creek to the left, rutted trail, and mild erosion; the footing is still solid.
The trail is a steady incline and quickly intersects with Strawberry Jack Trail
. The trail continues to gain elevation, though moderate. You'll come to an area with a great deal of open space due to a recent wildfire which actually provides a unique experience and opportunity to spot wildlife.
Next there will be a 4-way junction and you'll want to take a right onto Skipper Trail
which will take you West and assist in completing a loop with Buck Gulch Trail
. Skipper Trail
is mostly flat, non-rocky, and wide, making it a comfortable section of the hike.
Hang a right back onto Buck Gulch Trail
where you'll begin a descent back towards the trailhead and completion of the loop. This section is speedy with good footing, mostly devoid of rocks and other "tripping" elements.