Pine Valley Ranch Park is a not-so-well known gem that Mike and I stumbled upon a couple years ago. If you’re looking for one of Colorado’s grand hikes, no…it’s not that. For one thing it is surrounded by the burn of the Hayman fire of 2002, which was the largest wildfire of Colorado’s recorded history. In every direction you can see the scorched remains of trees. But it is as if God set a boundary that this gorgeous little area would not be burned.
Although it is not a great super hiking place, the short stroll-like hikes are fabulous. There is a level natural river walk that Mike and I think is the best river walk ever, and we have walked along a lot of rivers! The North Fork of the South Platte River runs through the park. I should say roars through the park! Love this inspiring walk before lunch. Take a look at the very short video above of the roaring river 🙂
The picnic area is idyllic. Surrounded by large and shady pines, the river is just a stone’s throw away. I love to go wading in the river while Mike cooks, (Today we had hamburgers cooked in a fry pan on the camp stove. Usually we have grilled chicken) The water is icy, and I mean icy from the melting snow from whence it originated.
Mike takes his own kind of leisure while the food cooks, although today in addition to his chair lounging, I actually got him to join me in the river for the first time.
We were there on a Saturday in the middle of the summer on a gorgeous day, and yet we were joined only by two families in the tables by the river. Lots of kids, but happy sounds of memories being made!
After lunch we lounged with a Bible and a couple good books just for a while, sharing our favorite parts and watching Old Man River amble by.
We couldn’t leave without saying hi to the sparkling lake which is a pleasant little hike away. The ducks, the sun highlighting the ripply water, the green meadows and wildflowers, and the majestic hills in the background made us not want to leave.
We go on lots of day trips and about some we say, “that was nice, but once was enough.” But not so Pine Valley. We plan to go at least once a year as long as we are able.