Mt. Vernon was established in 1859 by Ohioan Dr. Joseph Casto. The little town served as a stage station and during its heyday Mt. Vernon boasted 44 registered voters.
At this early time in Colorado History, Mt. Vernon became the Jefferson Territory capitol. Jefferson Territory would later become Jefferson County.
Wells Fargo Express drove stage coaches to and from the gold fields in Central City, stopped at Mt. Vernon, and then drove into Denver. This stop was convenient due to its location to Mt. Vernon Canyon, gateway to the Rockies.
Eventually Mt. Vernon’s fortunes declined. The Civil War, Native American attacks, and changing routes into Denver left the town with only the Matthews family in residence. This was in 1885.
Jefferson County Open Space Parks bought the land surrounding Mt. Vernon in the mid 1970s, transforming a ghost town into a thriving hiking and picnicking destination.
Matthews/Winters trail and Dakota Ridge trail comprise all the land once utilized by Mt. Vernon. Here the town’s foundations can be discovered, plus the town’s cemetery.
Not to mention beautiful vistas of Red Rocks Park, Mt. Vernon Canyon, and Pikes Peak.
Nearly 11 miles of trails weave around this historical hiking adventure. Access to both Dakota Ridge and Matthews/Winters Park is I-70 and state route 40, or Colorado Hwy 26, from Morrison.
Bring a camera, sunscreen, and a water bottle and you’re all set for a timeless Colorado rural adventure!
Remember, hiking trails can be full at both parks during the weekend, but not to worry, the Morrison Inn in Morrison provides respite for hot hikers!