Saturday, June 20, 2020

Roxborough State Park - Garden of Providence

Roxborough State Park


Situated at a geological flash point where the prairie meets the mountains, Roxborough State Park is a study in contrast between shapes, textures and colors. Sharing space in this rare environment, smooth, angular, red rocks shoot skyward from out of a bed of broken, nebulous, green scrub-brush.


The spectacular esplanade is positioned below the Front Range on a narrow plateau overlooking the South Platte River wetlands. A long string of jagged peaks recedes into the distance and fuses with a solid plate of brilliant, blue sky.


During the summer, sweltering heat is stifled by a taut breeze that gusts through a labyrinth of dense woodland, open meadows and vermillion spires. The isolated Eden is unpopulated by human presence and it is mostly deserted except for a plethora of butterflies, a few deer and a pair of hawks circling overhead.


The highlight of the preserve is a deep chasm named Fountain Valley where the inspiring views from an overlook are expansive. Once inside the slender gorge, sandstone towers surround the hiker, cutting off any connection with the outside world.


Long, blue shadows define the rocks’ surreal shapes in the low, morning light. Down in the lower end of the canyon, near the historic Henry Persse Ranch, an incredible formation is called Washington Rock because it looks exactly like George Washington’s profile!


Willow Creek is a diminutive gulch that drains this natural city of crimson crags and leads the visitor back down to a tamed grassland. Similar landscapes along the corridor are known as Garden of the Gods and Garden of Angels but after my experience in this Garden of Providence, I’ve discovered it to be just as divine.


Prairie meets the mountains

A study in contrasts

An isolated Eden

A rare environment

A long string of jagged peaks

A spectacular esplanade

Sandstone towers

Crimson crags

Washington Rock

Fountain Valley

A narrow plateau

Surreal shapes

Labyrinth of dense woodland

Garden of Providence

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