Happy Trails – Hayden Green Mountain

WILLIAM FREDERICK HAYDEN PARK ON GREEN MOUNTAIN

By Suzanne Webel

Whew. There is some controversy over how Green Mountain itself received its name. In the early spring, perhaps, the grasses up there might provide a flash of green, but for the rest of the year it’s pretty much a tan prairie. A member of the William Frederick Hayden family, which donated or sold many acres to the the park, claims that it was named after an early local postmaster named Greene. The Rooney family, which once owned 10,000 acres in the area and still owns the ranch across the road (now C-470), claims that it got its name from the once-abundant green cedars that covered the slopes. Early surveys show that it was once named “Hendricks Mountain” after a surveyor who worked in the area with Capt. Edward L. Berthoud. There was also a famous (unrelated) Hayden Survey of the west. In any case, it’s Green Mountain now, it’s huge (2,400 acres), it’s the second largest park in the City of Lakewood’s Open Space program, there are lots of trails, horses are welcome, and it’s worth checking out.

Take C-470 south of I-70 to Alameda Parkway. Turn east and proceed about 3 miles to one of two adjacent trailheads (P-1; one was full but the other wasn’t, on the day we went). There is also a trailhead on the west side of C-470, but it means crossing high above this busy highway on a sort of aerial bridge, and I didn’t even want to investigate doing that! It would be OK for bikes — maybe). When I first made this map there was one large, leisurely trail loop going all the way around this unusual mesa. There are now many other, smaller social trails that have evolved into officially-designated ones, especially in the northern part of the park and along the main trail. Although you are literally surrounded by two major highways, an auto speedway, many subdivisions and a large city, and the actual park was used as an artillery range as part of the nearby Camp George West (with ongoing removal of old military munitions and debris!), there are nice vistas in all directions and places on this mountain where you’d swear you were a million miles from anywhere.

Total Distance: Approx. 10 miles for the main loop trail; another 10 of access trails
Total Time:       Variable; can take an entire day.
Difficulty:          Easy
Dogs:                 Leash
Jurisdiction:     City of Lakewood Department of Community Resources (now there’s giving homage to its community — even in its very name!)
County: Jefferson
Maps:                New maps available at trailheads. The only downside is that all the maps refer only to “bikes” and hikers”….

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