Open Space & Trails

The Metro District preserves more than 2,500 acres of open space areas in the community and maintains more than 70 miles of trail.

Open Space

Our open spaces are undeveloped natural areas recognized by their mixed grass prairie environment. They are home to a variety of wildlife, birds and native plants. The open space is also intended to be used for utilities including water, sewer, gas and electric.  These natural areas also serve as an important drainage system managed by Metro District staff to prevent erosion of the area. More than 4,700 homes back to the open space areas in Highlands Ranch.

The goals of the Metro District Open Space staff are to:

  • Manage open space as a healthy, natural system, as natural areas, trail corridors and wildlife corridors.
  • Manage outdoor recreation activities in the open space to ensure they are safe, enjoyable, and have minimal impact on natural resources.
  • Manage the open space as a storm drainage system to prevent erosion, control runoff and enhance riparian/wetland areas.

If you have questions about living near open space, including wildlife issues, protecting pets in your backyard, the threat of wildland fire, noxious weed management, and best open space management practices, visit the Open Space Information Center. The center provides information to address these and other commonly asked questions about living near open space.

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The most popular amenity in our community’s outdoor recreation system, trails link Highlands Ranch neighborhoods, connect residents to one another, and provide a great way to exercise and enjoy the natural beauty of Colorado.

The trail system in Highlands Ranch features concrete, crusher fine (gravel) and single track trails for a variety of users. These trails serve an important role in our community for recreation and transportation purposes.

Trail Safety Tips

When you’re traveling the nearly 70 miles of trails in Highlands Ranch, there are some things you can do to ensure a safe and enjoyable walk, run or bicycle ride. Here are some tips to remember as you travel the trails.

  • Leash your pets and pick up after them. If you see a dog off leash, contact the Metro District Park Rangers at 303-540-2311.
  • Stay to the right and pass on the left. Be sure to announce yourself to those you are passing. Bicyclists yield to pedestrians.
  • Stay on the trails. Shortcutting causes erosion and damages native plants.
  • Use your feet. Motorized vehicles are not allowed in the parks or open space.
  • If you utilize the trail system after dark, use common sense and know your route.
  • Know where you are; take along a trail map.

Trail Resource Links

Pick up a copy of the Highlands Ranch Outdoors Map at the following locations:

  • Metro District Office Building, 62 W. Plaza Dr.
  • Parks, Recreation & Open Space Service Center, 3280 Redstone Park Circle
  • Highlands Ranch Public Library
  • HRCA Recreation Centers

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