In August 1999, the Town of Castle Rock acquired Gateway Mesa with assistance from Douglas County, Great Outdoors Colorado and Colorado Open Lands. Chuck and Jan Hewitt, the former landowners, bought the 202-acre property in 1970 with hopes of building a retirement home on the property. After being away from Colorado for many years and learning about Castle Rock’s tremendous growth, the Hewitt’s decided to sell Gateway Mesa to the Town of Castle Rock as a conservation property.
It was the Hewitt’s hope to preserve the property so that others would have the opportunity to enjoy the amazing views from the cliffs and the natural features of the property.
In 2003, more property was added when Castle Rock participated in the purchase of the Hidden Mesa property to the north. Castle Rock acquired the Gateway Mesa which is owned and managed by the Town of Castle Rock and is open to the public with a 1.8 mile trail. The property provides an excellent buffer between the communities of Franktown and Castle Rock.
Gateway Mesa contains an array of vegetation not usually found on parcels of this size, including native grasses, Gambel oak, plants associated with caprocks, ponderosa pine and Douglas fir. These habitats are home to raptors, migratory birds, wild turkey, mule deer, elk, fox, coyote, bobcats, mountain lion and rattlesnakes. The cliffs on the property are contiguous with those of Castlewood Canyon State Park. The forested canyon on south edge of the property features Mitchell Gulch, a beautiful tributary of Cherry Creek that contains the adjoining 1.5 mile Mitchell Creek Canyon Trail.
A trail head has been built off of Highway 86 on the south side between Castle Rock and Franktown. For more information call 303-814-7444.
|Year Protected:||1999 – 202 acres
2003 – 74 acres added
|Land Category:||Preserve/Trail Corridor|
|Conservation Tool:||Fee simple purchase by Town of Castle Rock with a conservation easement held by Colorado Open Lands|
|Cost:||$350,000 Castle Rock, $250,000 Great Outdoors Colorado, and $180,000 Douglas County. Castle Rock also contributed towards the purchase of Hidden Mesa and the associated water rights, which included the acquisition of 84 acres of land adjacent to Gateway Mesa, and now included with this property.|
|Partners:||Town of Castle Rock, Douglas County, Great Outdoors Colorado, Colorado Open Lands, and Douglas County Land Conservancy|
|Location:||East of Castle Rock on the south side of State Highway 86.|
|Restrictions:||Trail use is for hikers only. Mountain bikes and horses are prohibited by provisions in the conservation easement.|