Legacy Trail at Gateway Mesa
Celebrate National Trails Day by breaking ground on the final section of the Legacy Trail at Gateway Mesa Open Space. Volunteers will be completing trail construction that would be considered moderate to difficult physically. Participants must be at least 16 years old. Our first outing this year was in June. Thank you to all who participated. Our next outing is for women only. Hope to see you there!
Women's only outing Saturday, Oct. 9
Discover Legacy Trail at Gateway Mesa
Gateway Mesa Open Space consists of 276 acres of grassland mesa and a mixed coniferous forest near the eastern boundary of Castle Rock. This open space area is open to hiking only. The existing 1.6-mile Chuck’s Loop Trail, named for the previous owner of the property, travels around the flat open grassland / woodland habitat, with sweeping views of Franktown and the Mitchell Creek Canyon area. Hikers can currently connect to Mitchell Creek Canyon Trail on the east side of the loop.
The new Legacy Trail extension provides users with access to the unique northern forested portion of the property. This area is completely different from the dry, flat mesa. It is composed of dense mixed mature spruce, fir and Ponderosa pine trees, a few drainages, plunge pool wetlands, steep open scrub-covered slopes, and interesting rock formations along with ferns and rare mosses growing in the area. Due to the length of this extension and the terrain, this project will occur in two phases.
Phase 2 construction began in 2020, and included the construction of a segment from the 2019 terminus to the eastern edge of the property, where the new trail connects to the existing Chuck’s Loop Trail. Due to COVID-19, all workdays were pushed back to the fall and held with limited volunteer attendance. Over four workdays, 56 volunteers led by two VOC project leaders constructed 1,640 feet of new trail, which included 16 rock steps, one armored swale, two rock retaining walls and seven drainage dips.
With roughly 3,000 feet of trail remaining to be built, construction will continue into 2021. Upon completion, the new trail will measure approximately one mile.
In 2019, the Parks and Recreation Department partnered with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) to help construct phase 1 of Legacy Trail. Towards the end of 2020, VOC announced that phase 2 of the Legacy Trail at Gateway Mesa was selected as one of their construction projects.
VOC is a statewide organization that provides a volunteer workforce for outdoor stewardship projects, including invasive species management, habitat restoration, recreational improvements and trail construction and maintenance. VOC offers the experience, knowledge, technical assistance, tools and volunteer crew leaders and workers to construct trails in turnkey fashion. The partnership significantly offset costs that would otherwise be required if the Town hired a private contractor.
The Castle Rock Parks and Trails Foundation partnered with the Town to help fund the project. The Foundation received a single anonymous $10,000 donation toward the trail. The Foundation is now working to raise funds for phase 2 of the project. To learn more, visit GetOutdoorsCastleRock.org.