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History hike: Metzger Farm Open Space in Westminster

Metzger Farm Open Space opened to the public in November 2012, but many people still haven't "found" it. On a warm spring day in March 2014, the parking lot only had 2-3 vehicles.

Metzger Farm windmill
Metzger Farm windmillDeb Stanley
Metzger Farm Open Space
Metzger Farm Open SpaceDeb Stanley

Metzger Farm is the perfect place for a flat, easy spring hike. The crush rock/gravel trail isn't muddy, like so many other trails in the area.

The open space park is off 120th and Lowell (directions below). From the parking lot, walk a short distance distance on the main path to the Metzger Farm buildings -- the farmhouse, the barn, several outbuildings and some old farm equipment. The area was first settled in the late 1800s by the Gay family. John Metzger, a former Colorado Attorney General, purchased the property in 1943, according to the city of Westminster's website. His family sold the property to the city in 2006.

As you walk by the farm, you'll come to a trail split. Turn right here and head around the buildings. Soon you'll spot one of the two ponds and a large covered picnic area. Walk out to the fishing pier and enjoy the scenery here. Look at the trees on the other side of the pond -- see any birds up there? Maybe some nests?

Now you have options:

- Walk west around the farm buildings for a short half-mile hike

- Go back to the main path, continue walking a few steps, then veer east to loop around the property

- Go back to the main path, continue walking a few steps and veer west. Walk through the trees, over Dry Creek to the Big Dry Creek Path. Once there, you can turn either direction and go for miles.

I recommend doing a portion of all three options. First, walk west a short distance to see the other side of the farm buildings, then come back to this spot. Then I recommend option 3. Go back to the main path, veer west and walk through the trees to the nearby creek. Walk to the nearby bridge, then turn around and come back.

When you get to the main split again, go east and take the loop around the property. As you walk this section of path, look west for views of Longs Peak, slightly to the north, and Mount Evans, slightly to the south.

The path passes a bench, near an old windmill, then it comes to a four-way split. Turn left here and head back toward the farm buildings. When you reach the farm buildings, turn right, back to the parking lot.

Details: The hike to the pond, through the trees to the nearby creek and bridge, then back around the open space loop is about 1.5 miles. Add extra distance by walking the Big Dry Creek Path in either direction. Note, that path is quite busy after the quiet of the Metzger Farm Open Space area.

Directions: From the intersection of 120th & Lowell, turn north on Lowell Blvd and drive a short distance to the turnoff to the parking lot for Metzger Farm.

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