Behind the hogback, south of Roxborough State Park, is the 695-acre Nelson Ranch. It helps to buffer the park’s attributes and creates connectivity to this scenic landscape. The open space designation protects a variety of wildlife habitats among the Gambel oaks, ponderosa pines, Douglas firs, hawthorn and chokecherry bushes and narrow-leaved cottonwoods. There are excellent opportunities for dispersed, passive public recreation, such as hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking (for this use, access from the Pike National Forest.)
Year Protected: 2001
Acres: 565 acres fee simple; 130 acres of conservation easement
Conservation: Fee-Title, Douglas County Open Space with Douglas County Land Conservancy holding the Conservation Easement on the Open Space; a conservation easement is held by Douglas County on the 130-acre conservation easement land.
Cost: $2,108,000 by Douglas County; $375,000 Great Outdoors Colorado and $100,000 Friends of Roxborough
Location: Nelson Ranch is south of Roxborough State Park. Trail access is from the Sharptail Open Space and Trail at Roxborough Park Road, 3.7 miles south of Titan Road. After traveling 4.6 miles on the Sharptail Trail, briefly enter County Road 5 for about 25 yards to the south, and you will begin the Swallowtail Trail. The trail will lead to two loops, totaling about 2.6 miles round trip. There is also the Ringtail Trail that branches off to the southwest from the Swallowtail trail. This trail winds up the mountain through Nelson Open Space and Pike Hill Open Space for 7.2 miles to the Indian Creek Trail of the Pike National Forest.