Roxborough State Park

Geology at Roxborough State Park

Geology

Roxborough State Park is a designated Colorado Natural Area, National Cultural District and National Natural Landmark and is located along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in the ecotone between plains grassland and Front Range forest communities. The park encompasses 3,329 acres with elevation ranging from 5,900 to 7,280 feet above sea level. Willow Creek, Little Willow Creek and Mill Gulch are the primary drainages in the park. Dramatic Hogbacks, Spires and Monoliths encompass the landscape.

The most striking feature for visitors to Roxborough is the dramatic Fountain Formation. This spectacular tilted sandstone began over 300 million years ago with the gradual erosion of the Ancestral Rocky Mountains. Today these red sandstones stand beautifully at Roxborugh at a sixty degree angle and are the result of millions of years of uplift and erosion.

There are excellent examples of exposed geology from the Precambrian to Late Mesozoic, including hogbacks of Cretaceous, Permian, and Pennsylvanian age. Erosion of steeply dipping monoclinal sedimentary sections has resulted in the series of three major hogbacks and strike valleys, exposing highly scenic dipping plates, spires and monoliths. Precambrian gneiss and biotite-muscovite granite are exposed on Carpenter Peak.

Carpenter Peak
The westernmost hogback is Paleozoic Age Fountain Formation sandstone, originating from an accumulation of sediments that eroded from the Ancestral Rocky Mountains. It is conspicuously red due to oxidation of iron minerals. The central hogback is Permian Age Lyons Formation, which formed from windblown sand and stream deposits following erosion of the Ancestral Rocky Mountains. The easternmost hogback, Cretaceous Age Dakota Sandstone, is composed of Lytle Formation floodplain deposits and Platte Formation beach and shallow ocean deposits.

Directions

From Wadsworth
Take Wadsworth south past Chatfield State Park. Turn left on Waterton Road (just before the entrance to Lockheed Martin.) Continue on Waterton Road?crossing the South Platte River, until it ends at North Rampart Range Road (1.6 miles) Turn right (south) on North Rampart Range Road. Continue south past Roxborough Village and the Foothills Water Treatment Plant. (2.3 miles) At the intersection of North Rampart Range Road and Roxborough Park Road (just before the entrance to Arrowhead golf course), turn left onto Roxborough Park Road. Take the next right (about 50 yards away) to enter the park.

From Santa Fe
Head south on Santa Fe (Highway 85) to Titan Road. (4.2 miles south of C-470 intersection) Turn right (west) on Titan Road. Continue heading west on Titan Road. It will curve and begin to head south?becoming North Rampart Range Road (3 miles). Continue south on North Rampart Range Road past Roxborough Village and the Foothills Water Treatment Plant (3.5 miles). At the intersection of North Rampart Range Road and Roxborough Park Road, turn left onto Roxborough Park Road. Take the next right (about 50 yards away) to enter the park.