Trailhead / Access
There is no formal trailhead for this trail. The north end of the trail starts at Vindicator and Centennial.
The south end of the trail ends at Pinon Valley Park some 1.5 miles down the trail. There is parking on the
streets aound the park. On the north end, I parked in the shopping center lot away from the stores.
The official trail is 1.5 miles. In the city maps, this trail is listed as North Douglas Creek however you will notice
that the signage refers to the trail as the Wilson Ranch Trail. At the start, the first 1/2 miles is gravel. It then turns into an asphalt pathway.
The trail follows the North Douglas Creek which now has been turned into a concrete channel for stormwater. I classify this
North Douglas Creek as an urban trail. It works it's way between the housing. It is suitable for hiking, running, roadbikes and
mountain bikes. The short gravel section should not be a problem for a road bike. I have extended the North Douglas Creek somewhat
and added an alternative for the return trip that makes the entire North Douglas Creek just shy of 5 miles. Although the North Douglas Creek
borders Ute Valley Park for the first 1/2 mile, it is not considered part of the park.
North Douglas Creek Description
The start of the North Douglas Creek Trail is at the southeast corner of Vindicator and Centennial Blvds. The trail proceeds south from that point
and parallels Centennial Blvd on the right and Popes Bluff on the left. The bluff provides some views of interesting rock
formations for part of the journey and then is somewhat hidden my the housing.
For the first 1/2 mile, the North Douglas Creek trail is a hardpacked gravel then upon reaching the 2nd street crossing, it becomes asphalt. For
about another 1/2 mile, the North Douglas Creek Trail continues to stay near Centennial Blvd, then upon reaching the next street crossing, slips
between two rows of houses for the remaining part of the official North Douglas Creek Trail course.
At 1.25 miles, the trail opens up into Pinon Valley Park. Here you could turn back or follow the concrete pathway across the park
or even loop the park. At the south end of the park, North Douglas Creek continues to the south. On the east side of the creek,
you can pick up a single track dirt path. At this point, you are no longer on the improved trail. It is conceivable that this
will one day become part of the trail but it is not shown on the maps as part of the trail at the current time.
I continued down this narrow track and at the next street crossing, it widened into a dirt/crushed asphalt track. As the trail approaches
Garden of the Gods Road, the track ends in a parking lot in an industrial area. You could use this to access Elkton Drive but you
would then be on local streets (ugh). I turned at this point and retraced my steps back to the south end of Pinon Valley Park. Here I took
an alternate route back to the start by entering Ute Valley Park.
Just east of the park, there is an entrance into Ute Valley Park. Follow the gravel roadway thru the gates and up the hill. Here
you can access the trails of Ute Valley Park. Turning left at the top, the trail parallels Popes Bluff. As you approach Vindicator,
follow the wider trails that will bend to the northwest and will take you back to the starting intersection.
The alternate route through Ute Valley Park is a little more rugged than the North Douglas Creek Trail so if you do not feel up to it, just
back track the way you came. Those who choose the alternate, should find the Ute Valley Park return route as a chance to view some of the
great terrain in this park.