Kaylyn’s early morning farewell run-all paces welcome!!
Kaylyn is heading back to college after a short but meaningful summer spent running with the Longmont Running group. In her honor I am hosting her final morning run with Longmont running at Button Rock in Lyons. This is hands down my favorite close-by trail-the scenery and views are STUNNING. A more detailed description of the route is included at the bottom of this post (courtesy of pro-trails)
This is a meetup for ALL paces-it’s a combo jog/hike, a total distance of 4.7 miles with a few of those miles at a “power hike” pace.
The party starts from the Button Rock trailhead at 6 AM. Yes, I know it is a very early meeting time during the work week, but I can 100% guarantee that this will become one of your favorite trails too!!
This is a good trail for carpooling since it’s a 30 minute drive from Hwy 287 and 66. I am happy to pick up people from a Longmont and/or Lyons location-we can arrange the time and meeting place when we figure out who will attend.
Don’t forget your camera/camera phone-we will be making some short stops to take pictures.
Please email me if you have any questions and I hope to see some new faces!
Round-Trip Length:4.7 miles
Start-End Elevation: 6,020' - 6,625' (6,625' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +605' net elevation gain (+672' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: Yes, must be on-leash for the fire road portions, but can be off-leash on the Sleepy-Lion trail portion.
Trail Description: From Pro Trails
The Button Rock Dam and Sleepy Lion trails form a pleasant 4.7 mile route through the Button Rock Preserve, a public sanctuary established to protect the natural watershed feeding Ralph Price Reservoir, the primary water source of Longmont, CO.
The lollipop loop trail, 3 miles of which run along well-maintained service roads that parallel North St. Vrain Creek, is ideal for trail running, winter activities, families, and anglers.
The trail begins on a smooth service road, rising nominally along North St. Vrain Creek while skirting Longmont Reservoir, which at first glance appears little more than a wide, slow moving section of the creek. The grade increases to the Sleepy Lion Trail junction (.75 miles : 6,135').
The Sleepy Lion Trail turns south and rises sharply, weaving quickly through fir, ponderosa, cacti patches, and rocky outcrops. Views back north of Button Rock Mt (8,417') are quite good as you gain elevation.
The trail levels and forest suddenly yields to a large, rolling meadow (1.25 miles : 6,385'). This brief but attractive segment is rife with wildlife: deer, fox, coyote, mountain lion, bear, and rattlesnake inhabit this area.
Seasonal and occasionally seen are bighorn sheep that were re-introduced in the 1980s. Naturalists are studying this population's migration patterns, believed to use these lands as wintering and lambing grounds.
The trail climbs steeply out of the meadow through a nondescript forest to the Button Rock Trail junction (1.75 miles : 6,625'). A little maneuvering yields terrific views across Ralph Price Reservoir and distant summits of Mt Meeker (13,911') and Longs Peak (14,259'). Those seeking a longer hike may consider adding the 4-mile roundtrip Button Rock Trail, highly recommended for its spacious meadows and solitude.
The Sleepy Lion Trail continues unevenly for a short spell before bending north and dropping down to the Ralph Price Reservoir Dam base and service road (2.7 miles : 6,253').
Bear right on the service road, which crosses the voluminous dam outlet and realigns with North St Vrain Creek for an easy 2 mile return to the parking lot. You may divert up a short, steep spur just beyond the service road split to the top of the the dam wall (above the outlet, up and to the left). Here you'll enjoy views across the reservoir, and a close-up look at the complexities of dam construction.