Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Swallow Trail, South Valley Park


The weather was absolutely beautiful this weekend, so my husband and I decided to take a hike in South Valley Park, located in Littleton, Colorado I blogged about the Coyote Song Trail we last took in the park on this link, but today we decided to take another trail called the Swallow Trail.


This trail is a relatively easy, meandering 1.2 mile trail that is for hikers only.


As you can see in the photo above, when I look back I can see the fringes of my community, located in the Ken Caryl Valley up on the ridge. I am fortunate enough to live only a mile away from this beautiful park!


On one side of Swallow Trail you will see large red sandstone cliffs.


Placards along the trail describe the importance of these sheltering cliffs  over the millennium, for both animals....




....and humans. There is evidence that "hunter-gatherer' people inhabited South Valley Park 7,500 years before the pyramids of Egypt were built! (Double click on any photo to enlarge it for easier viewing)

Native Americans used the cliffs as protective areas against which to build their homes, and to use the natural resources they found here.


On the other side of Swallow Trail you will see the valley--now a verdant green color after late spring snow and afternoon rainstorms.


South Valley Park is a geologists dream as it displays Lyons, Fountain and Dakota formations.


Park placards that describe the varied rock formations and how they were formed millions of years ago. (Double click photo to enlarge)


In the distance you can also see one of the headquarters for Lockheed Martin. I will blog more about their headquarters in a future blog post. In 1995 there was a growing movement to prevent this corporation from developing this area further. Jefferson Open Space had the opportunity to purchase a large portion of the land in 1997, and in 2002 created South Valley Park for natural preservation and the enjoyment of park goers. There are many restrictions in the park to help preserve the nesting areas of birds, as well as seasonal closures of some areas to allow Elk and Mule Deer to migrate.


South Valley Park is also a photographers dream! The red rock formations are large, varied and visually interesting.


A balancing act!


A cottonwood tree growing alongside a large boulder.


A "candy kiss" is resting on top of this rock formation?


Fountain Rocks towering over the trail.


In the distance you can see what would have happened if the park land had not been preserved, as large houses were being constructed near fountain rocks on the outlying fringes of the park.


I was fascinated to see sprig flowers of all kinds blooming in the park this weekend.


I can identify the cacti and ubiquitous yellow dandelion wildflowers among these photos,  but I will have to purchase a good Colorado wildflower book to begin to identify the rest.


At both ends of Swallow Trail there is a parking lot with park trail information....


...as well as its history and information on what to do if you come across a wild animal that live in the area.


Going back we took the more rigorous 1.5 mile Coyote Song Trail, which climbs higher in the park.


The views from that trail are also magnificent!

South Valley Park is a wonderful oasis to enjoy for hikers, mountain bikers, and residents and visitors  of the greater Denver area to enjoy! I feel so happy to be able to show you its beauty!

I'm adding this post to  Our World Tuesday and Oh, the Places I've Been! -- click on the links to see more blogger's adventures!

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41 comments:

Vee said...

Doesn't look as if there's much shade out on the trail...yo must wear a large brimmed hat to protect your Iris complexion. Such rugged beauty. I could look at those formations for a very long time.

pam said...

Some year you will have to check out the Crested Butte area....LOTS of gorgeous dirt roads up into the mountains. They are considered the wildflower capital of the state I believe. We have vacationed down in that part of the state a lot and I have learned about so many wildflowers. July and August up in the mountains are stunning and with a wetter year it should be great this year. I need to make sure my daughter sees this blog post. I told her you would become a Colorado expert and she could learn right along with you. Those red rocks are stunning. I understand why people wanted to live in the midst of some of them. Its always wonderful when areas can be set aside and left alone. I LOVE that candy kiss rock....lol. I know your days are so different now but I do look forward to your posts. I'm thinking a sweet grandbaby would be hard to top on views.

Sara said...

The sky is so big there. Does it ever overwhelm you? My favorite photo is the "rocks towering over trail" shot. I like seeing Colorado when it is green!

Old Kitty said...

Wow!! So glad this amazing area is preserved and building on it is restricted! What a dream for scientists and for wildlife and nature and for geologists!! All that rock!! All that rock formation!! Amazing! And it's so great that it's open to the general public to explore! Aww you have so moved to a truly beautiful part!! Take care
x

podso said...

What beautiful trails and such a blue sky! Looks like a wonderful walk, and so close to home. I just don't like the wild animal warning signs! :-) Did you make lots of noise?

Betsy Adams said...

Wow---what a great park, Pat, and so near your home. AWESOME. You are right--it is a photographer's paradise.. Beautiful.. Reminds me a little of the Garden of the Gods we saw in Sept.

Thanks for sharing.

Hugs,
Betsy

Nellie said...

All that beauty is just amazing! And to think you live so close to it all!

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Looks like you have a beautiful place to hike Pat:@)

ellen b. said...

Stunning! The colors and beautiful skies are such a pleasure to look at with the landscape in contrast. You really live in a beautiful part of our country Pat!

eileeninmd said...

Pat, what a beautiful place for a walk. You are lucky to have such a nice trail nearby. The landscapes, flowers and sky are all gorgeous. Wonderful post!

Pamela Gordon said...

This is such a beautiful area Pat. I love the rock formations, the views of the sky and land etc. What a wonderful place to live in and be able to enjoy the nature of the area. I'm glad they have preserved this beauty from too much housing. Thanks for sharing these pictures with us. Have a great week. Pam

La Petite Gallery said...

You are getting in great shape all that walking. Beautiful, but it's like another planet from NYC.
GEORGEOUS PHOTO'S.

Betsy Brock said...

I would never get tired of looking at those mountains! Gorgeous!

Michelle said...

Nothing quite like hiking in Colorado. Always gorgeous!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

The red rock and blue sky combo is fabulous. Nice hike! Nice so many wildflowers were already out.

Margaret said...

Hi Pat, what a beautiful day and stunning scenery! I love all the vivid colors and amazing rock formations. What a paradise you live in! Thank-you for sharing all this beauty. It makes a person feel so alive and filled with happiness :) Colorado is very good for the mind and body! Margaret from B.C.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

We spent some time in the hills near Littleton a few years ago...with my cousin who lives there. Beautiful area!

Our eldest son was in Denver over the past weekend...to watch motocross races...and thought it would be a great place to live. He quite appreciated the nice weather as well!

Mama Zen said...

Absolutely stunning!

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

What a beautiful area. The red rocks are so different than anything we have here in New England. Are you afraid of the bears and mountain lions? I think because I'm a little on the chicken side, I might not truly enjoy the beauty of such a gorgeous place.

ladyfi said...

Wow - the views are really magnificent. Marvellous shots.And how lucky you are to live with this right on your doorstep.

I'm very sorry indeed to hear about the passing of your cat Bo. He looks so lovely and loving... I have a dog so understand the love of a pet.

Kris said...

Hi Pat. I am here to catch up after having been away for a few days. First of all, I am so very sorry about the loss of your lovely Bo! So sad.
And now I must tell you, your photos, while always stunning and gorgeous, have this time, taken the prize! Those recent pics from the trail are absolutely stunning!!!! They don't even look real! Wow...you rock that camera girl!!
xo Kris

Powell River Books said...

I love the red rock cliffs. - Margy

Paula's Postings said...

Stunning photo's Pat not sure about the wild animals though.

Massimo said...

amazing ! I love this place... you lucky people !
ciao

Lorrie said...

What a ruggedly beautiful area to hike in. You are really enjoying exploring your new environment, aren't you?

Al said...

What a beautiful place and great shots - I may have to head there one of these weekends.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I love those rock formations and your photos capture them beautifully. How lucky you are to live so close to all this natural beauty.

Cheryl @ TFD said...

What a beautiful area to go for a hike! I love the scenery and would probably just want to sit on a rock and gaze at it all day. Gorgeous photos, Pat.

Pondside said...

You are finding out so much about your new home state, aren't you!? It is a beautiful place - I'd love to take that hike.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

What a great area to have so close to where you live.

Grace said...

Beautiful breathtaking! So different from your NY posts but I must say this is so facinating reading your adventures. I think you should get paid to travel to every state and explore and blog about it!! Grace xoox

Susie said...

Pat, That truly is a hiker's paradise. Glad you are enjoying being out in nature. xoxo,Susie

Jacqueline said...

What rugged beauty. I just love the red rocks against the green. Absolutely gorgeous and how fun that you are getting out to see it. Such a change - hope you are just loving it.

gracie1961 said...

What an amazing landscape!

Tracy said...

Just LOVE seeing all the places west you're taking us, Pat! But how very sorry I was to see that your beautiful Bo passed away unexpectedly... so very sad. Our pets are our babies... My apologies for being slow to visit. We're just back from some travels and getting over jet lag. ((BIG HUGS))

GailO said...

I thought of you last Sunday when I visited the Brooklyn Museum and the Botanic Gardens with friends:)

These scenes are just as beautiful...but so far away for me to visit!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

What a beautiful park and to have it so close to your home must be wonderful. Gorgeous views. How interesting that the area was inhabited so very long ago!

SizzleandZoom said...

The red sandstone cliffs and rock formations are amazing. Beautiful photos.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What a beautiful place! I bet you are really getting into good shape since you moved there. We hiked today and it's serious exercise, isn't it? heehee! Enjoy your weekend my friend!

AdriBarr said...

Wow, your tours just get more and more glorious. You must just love being surrounded by such majesty. Thanks for sharinf!

Jenny said...

You are so neat Pat.

I love how you live your life with all your senses!