Westminster Hills Trail
This hilly trail begins at the trail head parking for the Westminster Hills Open Space and city dog park, located on the west side of Simms Street at 105th Drive. This sometimes narrow and rocky dirt trail travels through Westminster's scenic "outback" and is best suited for mountain bikes and hikers. Look for prairie dogs, raptors (including Standley Lake Regional Park's resident pair of bald eagles), coyotes and rattlesnakes.
The first part of the trail is through the dog park. Cross the Dry Creek Valley Ditch irrigation canal (which is dry in the fall/winter), and at the trail junction, go right and gradually ascend a small valley to the top of the mesa. Note the great 360-degree views of Westminster, Standley Lake, downtown Denver, Longs Peak and Pikes Peak, as well as seasonal wildflowers, including yucca and prickly pear cactus.
Soon the Westminster Hills Loop Trail goes to the left, but you go straight. More than 3,000 acres of Westminster park and open space land surround you, allowing for big views and solitude. The trail ends about 2 miles from the trail head at pastoral 11-acre Mower Reservoir. The narrow path around the small pond is ringed with ancient cottonwoods and willow trees and offers catch-and-release fishing (no bait allowed) and a fishing pier nestled in the trees. The pond attracts lots of birds and the water is crystal clear!
Return the way you came for a 4-mile trip or take the Westminster Hills Loop Trail to the right on the way back. This trail offers great views of Standley Lake and the Walnut Creek valley before looping back to the main trail near the irrigation canal and adds an additional 0.4 miles to the trip.