Bill Couch Mountain via Meadowlark Trail

Scenic jaunt to a Denver area summit, mostly on hiker-only trails.

Hiking Moderate

Distance
11 km
Ascent
444 m
Descent
444 m
Duration
3-4 hrs
Low Point
1.9 km
High Point
2.2 km
Gradient
VIEW ON MAP
Bill Couch Mountain via Meadowlark Trail Map

Description

Bill Couch Mountain (7,057 feet) is one of many summits in the Rocky Mountain Foothills near Denver. This one happens to be particularly scenic and is located in an easily accessible Jefferson County Park with high-quality trails. That makes it perfect for a before or after-work jaunt, or a casual weekend day hike.

There are a few ways to reach the top of Bill Couch Mountain. The route described here maximizes hiker-only trails but is partially shared with a trail that allows mountain bikes. Begin on Meadowlark Trail, which climbs somewhat steeply from the foot of the mountain. This slope is sparsely treed; it’s mostly low brush and grasses. That makes for wide-open views, but very little shade and a high heat risk in summer. It’s best to start early or go on a cold day.

As the trail switchbacks upward and gains a ridgeline, views alternate between patchwork-forested hillsides of Deer Creek Canyon to the west and the mosaic of the metro area, including the Denver downtown skyline, to the east. Eventually, Meadowlark joins with Plymouth Creek Trail in a canyon that offers shade among tall pines. Enjoy the respite while it lasts, because the canopy thins out again as you gain elevation.

Golden Eagle Trail, which is also hiker-only, branches off near the top of the mountain and traverses a sunny ridgeline. A final set of short but steep switchbacks reaches the summit⁠—a rocky promontory with a 360-degree panorama. Return the way you came, or devise a loop with other trails in the park. Red Mesa Loop is a good option for extending the hike. For a slightly shorter hike than what’s described here, you could take Plymouth Creek the whole way instead of Meadowlark, but Meadowlark is more scenic and less crowded.

Sources: https://www.summitpost.org/bill-couch-mountain/408255 https://wanderingcolorado.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/deer-creek-canyon-park/ https://www.jeffco.us/DocumentCenter/View/9368/Deer-Creek-Canyon-Park-Map

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Family friendly

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area