For hike 29 of our 52 Hike Challenge, we hiked to the top of Plymouth Mountain in Deer Creek Canyon Park in Jefferson County. It felt great to be on a “real hike” again; whatever that means. We pushed the ten mile radius rule, justifying it with the fact that we were already in Denver to pick up supplies needed for a project that our local Home Depot did not have.
When we arrived at the parking lot at the trailhead, we saw another VanDOit van already there. A quick post on the VanDOit owners Facebook group did not reveal who the owner was. It would have been great to meet another VanDOit owner in person. Unfortunately, we did not drive our VanDOit van to the trailhead that day because our van was filled with lumber for the upcoming weekend’s landscaping project. That also meant that we could not reach our trekking poles since they were in the van in the shelves that were blocked by the stack of lumber so we took an old spare set of trekking poles and an old walking stick that we had. The parking lot at the trailhead was about half full, so there were not that many people on the trail.
From the trailhead, we took Plymouth Creek Trail to Plymouth Mountain Trail. As we started up the trail, we could see South Valley Park across the road, where we were for Hike 13 back in January. Plymouth Creek Trail follows what we are assuming is Plymouth Creek and the sound of the water flowing beside us added to the ambiance of the experience. Having swung by Home Depot in Denver before our hike meant that we got a late start for this hike. We were too hungry to wait until we reached the top to eat our lunch, so we stopped along the trail on the way up for a quick snack. The 1459 foot climb got our hearts pumping and a good sweat going in the sunny, 70 degree temperature. The Plymouth Mountain Trail loops around the summit of the mountain, but there is a spur that leads to the summit. Scrambling up the small rock outcropping at the summit rewarded us with great views out over the plains and of downtown Denver. At the summit we ate the rest of our lunch. We only saw a handful of other people at the summit.
We wore our masks, but pulled them down when no one was in sight. We needed to pull them down that day in order to breath better because we were huffing and puffing during the uphill climb. There were a few people without masks who were not paying attention to social distancing, but the majority were. The trail was wide in some spots but narrow in others. We had to step off the trail to let people pass in most places. We shared the trail with a combination of mountain bikers, hikers, and trail runners. Some mountain bikers were walking their bikes up the rocky sections, then riding back down. It looked like a lot of work, but they must have decided the thrill of riding down was worth it. Most of the bikers were courteous of the hikers. Hikers can avoid some of the bikers on the first mile of Plymouth Creek Trail by starting out on Meadowlark Trail which does not allow bikes and joins up with Plymouth Creek Trail after about a mile and a half. That means that taking Meadowlark Trail adds about half a mile each way to the hike.
It was definitely spring. Hummingbirds buzzed by our heads as we hiked through the scrub oak. Grasshoppers and butterflies danced among the wild flowers that lined the sunny spots along the trail while the sound of crickets filled the air. Bluebirds and hawks soared over the evergreen trees. A lizard stared us down from a rock at the summit and a snake slithered up the bank beside the trail. Behind us, a young girl was being carried by her dad down the trail. She screamed when she saw the snake. When they later passed us on the trail, Right Buddy (RB) attempted to ease her fear a little by asking the girl “Did you see the cool snake?!” with excitement in her voice. The girl responded that she did see it but it scared her a little. We’re not sure if it helped, but RB likes to think that she helped a girl feel a little stronger.
We completed the six mile hike in a little over four hours. Luckily the restrooms at the trailhead were open, but we made sure we used plenty of our hand sanitizer afterwards. We may have stretched the rules a little by not staying within a 10-mile radius of our home, but getting away from town and out in nature again on a trail that was a little more challenging was a definite boost to our mental, physical, and emotional health. We hope everyone can enjoy a little more nature in the coming weeks and months during these challenging times.
Check out our related video: Plymouth Mountain in Deer Creek Canyon, Colorado