Tag Archives: sand creek greenway

Visit Star K Ranch

October 21, 2017

Trail(s): Star K Ranch Loop and Sand Creek Greenway between Chambers and North Airport Blvd.
Location: Star K Ranch
Fees: Free
Website: https://www.auroragov.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=1881221&pageId=5144852
Elevation: 5,280 feet
Distance: 3 miles roundtrip

I have a day care dog named Roo on Tuesdays now.  She is a Vizsla which is a dog breed from Hungary bred to work as a pointer.  Needless to say, she is energetic and goes on 18 mile trail runs with her owner.

I decided to take her to Star K Ranch, part of Aurora’s Open Space and home to Morrison Nature Center.  Since I had Roo with me, I didn’t visit the center, but I followed the west side of the loop trail to Sand Creek Greenway where I turned right and headed west.  We jogged the soft-surface, gravel trail to Chambers Road.  This short half mile led us past an industrial plant on the right and Sand Creek on the left.

At Chambers, we turned around and detoured off the main Sand Creek Trail and followed a single-track trail by the creek.  I found it more peaceful to be  closer to the tranquil water.  Soon the trail came to an end where we joined the Sand Creek Greenway again and followed it east to North Airport Blvd.

While the trail goes beneath both the roads we reached, running this segment both ways plus the loop at Star K Ranch added up to three miles, which is about my limit these days.  Poor Roo was probably sorely disappointed that her run was over as she was just getting warmed up.

It was nice to change up my three-mile run from the neighborhood to a trail along the grassy plain beneath the shade of cottonwoods.  And Roo enjoyed pointing at the rabbits that took cover in dormant bushes.  ETB

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Strolling Along Sand Creek Greenway

January 20, 2017

I didn’t have much time for a hike today, but it was so nice out, I had to do something.  I decided to go check out Sand Creek Greenway again.  It had been awhile since I had visited the area, and the last time was on a mountain bike.

It’s nice to have wilderness, all be it not the mountains, just a ten minute car ride from my house.  I parked off Smith Road to the side of Bluff Lake Nature Center, gathered Ellie from the backseat, and headed out.

The dirt path was still partially snow-covered from the Monday’s storm as well as somewhat muddy from the snowmelt due mild weather…50 degrees!  I sort of wish the whole path was dirt rather than the intermittent dirt/concrete mix, but just to have an area that feels like wilderness so close to home is awesome.

It didn’t take long to spot wildlife.  Prairie dogs popped out of their holes and Ellie sure wanted a piece of them.  The same went for the bunnies that we came across later.  Fortunately, the ducks and geese weren’t as interesting to her.  I really enjoyed the flock of geese that glided above our heads and then swooped in for a landing on the frozen lake.  Many kept arriving forming a huge group that rested on the ice.

I always find it pleasant to hike near water features, and it was delightful to walk along the creek, though at times it was quite hidden by golden prairie grass and dormant cacti which provided great photos.  The views to the west of snow covered mountains didn’t disappoint on the return.

The trail goes on for miles and intersects with others along the way.  I can only imagine the distance.  With limited time, I think we probably only hiked a few miles, but it was better than nothing!

Afterwards, without Ellie, I made a quick stop into Bluff Lake Nature Center.  This might be my new place to run in order to save my knees from the pavement.  What a delightful adventure before my quick jaunt to Dallas to celebrate my mom’s birthday!  ETB

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