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Open space parks are Colorado’s solution to preserving wilderness and controlling suburban sprawl. First adopted in the late 1960s by Boulder County, a small county north of Denver, the concept has since then spread across the state, and several other states have created similar parks. Rabbit Mountain Open Space is named for a particular small mountain inside the park’s boundaries that resembles a rabbit lying prone. It’s also sometimes referred to as Ron Stewart Preserve.
The closest town is Longmont, which is about 13 miles to the southeast. Longmont nearly turned into a ghost town in the 1980s, but it experienced a revival in the 1990s as Denver’s residents, seeking quieter towns to live in, flocked to Longmont. Also of interest is the town has its own city-run high-speed internet provider for all of its residents, eschewing the commercial internet providers that are ubiquitous elsewhere.
Rabbit Mountain Open Space encompasses a few hundred acres, and there are about eight miles of multi-use trails for hikers to explore. Rabbit Mountain Open Space is largely bare of trees, save for a scattering of hardy scrub oaks that cluster in the low hollows in the land. The dry hills are dotted by drought-hardy plants native to Colorado like yucca, rabbitbrush, sage, and buffalograss. In addition to hikers, bikers, and horseback riders, well-behaved leashed dogs are welcomed on the multi-use trails.
Bring your cameras, and capture on a quiet morning, the rugged rolling hills teeming with wildlife. In addition to rabbits, ground birds, and other small game, mule deer and prairie dogs are common. Black bears, bobcats, coyotes, and elk are also known to pass through Rabbit Mountain Open Space, though being shy, they are harder to spot. Rattlesnakes and other desert reptiles and amphibians are also quite common. Hikers should exercise caution during the summer months; snakes enjoy sunbathing on the warm trails.
Rabbit Mountain Open Space is also a popular bouldering spot for the local climbers. Rabbit Mountain, which is a stretch of a low cliff wall, is excellent for highballs. There are a few freestanding boulders with slabs and overhangs, as well. These rock structures face south, making for an excellent climbing spot in the winter.
For even more recreational fun, nearby Hall Ranch Open Space encompasses over 3,900 acres. There are around 15 miles of trails that hikers share with horseback riders. In contrast with Rabbit Mountain Open Space, bicycles and dogs are not permitted in Hall Ranch Open Space.
Many people rent an RV because they want to camp surrounded by wilderness without sacrificing comfort. Although RV camping at Rabbit Mountain Open Space isn’t an option, there are several options within 30 miles of the park.
RV camp near Berthoud, CO, at Carter Lake South Shore Campground. Of around 50 sites, a handful of them is waterfront. Most of the campground sites have electric hookups, and there are faucets for drinking water and bathrooms near most sites. A dump station is available should a camper require its services.
Jellystone Park of Estes Park might also be a good option to consider. The family-friendly facility boasts an array of amenities, including partial and full hookups, a heated swimming pool, and fun activities for children and adults alike.
Alternatively, the LaVern M. Johnson Park RV campground near Lyons is a fun camping getaway. Operated by the city of Lyons, the Whitewater Park is also on the same property, as is an outdoor ice skating rink (winter only), and a playground. The RV campground offers full hookups, potable water, and restrooms with flush toilets.
Though Denver is just about an hour south, there are plenty of things to do and see along with the front range. Longmont is home to Saul the Sticker Ball, the world’s largest sticker ball. The downtown area has a bustling craft beer scene, and to minimize risks of driving while under the influence, the town of Longmont operates a shuttle service transporting intrepid beer tasters from hub to hub.
Boulder is a “young” town thanks to the colleges in the area, as well as thriving tech and startup industries. The nightlife scene is hopping. Hit the nightclubs, bars, art galleries, and museums to see the latest in trendy culture.
The hotel that inspired Stephen King’s horror book and movie, The Shining, is on the outskirts of Estes Park, CO. The Stanley Hotel, like its movie counterpart, is reputed to be haunted by several ghosts. The hotel’s staff conducts tours that spotlight these ghosts as well as detail the hotel’s rich, long history.
Rent a camper in Boulder and set out with friends and family on the perfect RV camping adventure that Colorado has to offer.