Friday, December 12, 2014

The MAC - Purple Trail Loop

The MAC from the Purple Trail.  The Challenge Trail climbs to the top of the ridge
Today's hike was along the Purple Loop Trail at the MAC in Castle Rock.
This natural surface trail climbs quickly and provides views of Castle Rock and the new MAC site. This is the shortest of the 5 hiking/bicycling trails and it is interconnected to the Gold Loop Trail, the Red Loop Trail and the Green Loop Trail, all of which add up to over 8 miles of hilly hiking or bicycling.  This trail starts to the north of the site and is across the street from the Challenge Hill, a 200-step staircase similar in design to the Manitou Springs Incline. Challenge Hill also has the Blue Loop Trail which climbs to the top, in case you need a break from the steps.
The community park site includes a zip-line course and an adventure playground area.  The MAC is a world-class fitness facility with indoor and outdoor lighted synthetic surface fields, activity classes, a pool, classes of workout routines, a golf simulator and a trampoline.
Awesome new trail construction
Trail construction is recent and is done well with water bars and a downhill slanted trail bed for drainage.  Some sections are steep, so you need to watch your step and not slip-slide away.  A couple in front of us slipped into a trail side cactus on the loose gravel, so do be careful.
Mostly scrub cover, there is a little shade along the north side near the top of the ridge
The weather "is what it is" this week with the temperatures in the lower 60's for our hike.  The sky is perfectly clear and from one vantage point, we could clearly see a sliver of mountains over 70 miles away.  Usually December is colder here, but we will take the clear, warm weather.  Our sea-level lungs are still adapting to the altitude, and we stopped to catch our breath a couple times.
The trail markers are colored per trail, this one showing the Purple Trail loop junction
The trail is shared with mountain bikers, and it has that straight-up/straight-down feeling of most off-road bicycle trails in Colorado.  Other than seeing that other couple, we had the trail and the views to ourselves for our peaceful walk.
Future plans call for connecting these trails to the Ridgeline Open Space and the Stuart Trail network to the west.
View of the ball fields (to the right of the first photo) and the towers for the upcoming zip lines
These trails are located at the new Phillip Miller Recreation center (or MAC for Miller Activity Complex) at 1375 West Plum Creek Parkway.  Parking and hiking are free.  You can access the center off Interstate 25 at Plum Creek Parkway.  Go uphill (west) and the MAC is that massive field house on the left.
Trail Head shows you the way back to the MAC.  I love these signs!

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