A great place for a family hike along the foothills and in and out of the meadows. White House Ranch Loop Trail inside White Ranch Park, the largest park in Jeffco Open Space System, features magnificent twilight viewing, dainty wildflowers and western yellow pines. Being so accessible because of its proximity to downtown Golden, hikers, bikers, and equestrians frequent the area all year round.
White House Ranch Loop Trail is 4.6 miles long and gains an elevation of 938 feet. It is rated as moderately difficult and can be finished in approximately 2 hours on normal hiking pace. There are two parking areas and trailheads at White Ranch Park- the East Trailhead at West 56th Avenue and the West Trailhead at Belcher Hill Road. Let us navigate the trail from the West Trailhead and through a series of connected trails starting with Rawhide Trail.
Rawhide Trail is the first trail east of the trailhead. It is 4.5 miles long but you only have to go through a short section of it in the outskirts of the meadow to start your hike. Along the way, you will be passing some abandoned ranch structures and equipment until the path intersects with Longhorn Trail. Follow the trail until the next junction. Turn right into a shaded forest of Ponderosa Pines on Maverick Trail. Here, watch out for some roots sprouting out along the trail. After a little under a mile, the trail intersects with Belcher Hill Trail. Turn right and follow Belcher Hill Trail for a short while until the next junction. Here, the path splits into three- Sawmill Trail to Sawmill Hiker Campground (left), continuation of Belcher Hill Trail (center), and Sawmill Trail (right) that will complete White House Ranch Loop. Follow Sawmill Trail, the right-most trail, for 0.5 miles to go back to the West Trailhead parking area.
Interesting views along the way are the magnificent Ralston Buttes, beautiful high plains, and the picturesque Denver landscape. White House Ranch Loop Trail is also abundant with wildlife. Animals that you might spot along the way are elks, deers, mountain lions, grouse, bears, wild turkeys, and bobcats.
White House Ranch Loop Trail is best used during April to October. If you decide to hike the trail before April, keep an eye on some icy and slippery parts of the trail. Camping without permit and motorized vehicles are not allowed. Also, bring lots of water (drinking water on the campsites are not always available), dress appropriately, and keep your dogs on leash. And by the way, just a heads up, the trail is heavily used by bikers.
From Denver, drive through 6th Avenue West of US Highway 6 for 13.6 miles. Continue straight onto Colorado State Highway 93 for 1.4 miles. Turn left onto Golden Gate Canyon Road then turn right onto Crawford Gulch Road after 3.9 miles. Take your last right turn at Belcher Hill Road. You’ll arrive at your destination in 2 miles.