**There are seasonal hunting closures in the fall of each year if accessing from the Sharptail Trail at Sharptail Ridge Open Space Trailhead.*
The Swallowtail trail loops are hidden behind the uplifted hogback formations of the Front Range on Douglas County’s Nelson Ranch Open Space. The loops wind among rocks and ledges, through shrublands speckled with pines and firs, and over intermittent creeks and upland meadows.
Trail Rating: Moderately difficult because of remoteness of the area, with elevation gains of 250 + feet.
Trail Length: Approximately 2.6 miles for the two adjoining loops. To get there via the Sharptail Trail, you will need to travel 4.6 miles to the Swallowtail Loops at Nelson Open Space.
Trail Surface: Natural surface.
Users: Multi-use; horseback riders and hikers are allowed to access via the restrictive 4.6-mile Sharptail Trail. Mountain bikers and dogs on leash (as well as hikers and horseback riders) are allowed to access from the National Forest’s Indian Creek Trail and Douglas County’s Ringtail Trail.
Amenities: Benches and picnic tables.
Location: Hikers and horse riders may access from Sharptail Ridge Open Space Trailhead. From Hwy 85 (Santa Fe) turn west on Titan Parkway and drive 2 miles to Roxborough Park Road; turn left and drive south for 3.7 miles on gravel road; Sharptail Trailhead on the left.
Note: User access from Sharptail Trail requires covering a distance of 4.6 miles before reaching the northern end of Swallowtail Trail. Multiple users, including mountain bikes and pets on a leash, can access Swallowtail Trail from the Indian Creek Trailhead of Pike National Forest (a distance of about 9 miles). Indian Creek Trailhead does require a daily parking fee of $7.00. Access for hikers from Roxborough State Parks’ visitor center via Carpenter Peak Trail and County Road 5 is approximately 2.5 miles.
Contact: Douglas County Open Space and Natural Resources 303-660-7495.