• Flying J Ranch Park History

  • The Beginning

    Likely, Native American people used this area as it lies close to a traditional migration route known as the Ute Trail. These trails were also logical travel routes for the early prospectors and homesteaders. During the great Colorado Gold Rush of 1859, toll roads were constructed at the present junction of Highway 73 and Barkley Road, just opposite the park.

    Original Homesteads

    Flying J Ranch Park encompasses two original homesteads of William Hagen and Ernest Hicks from the late 1800s. Portions of the two homesteads were sold beginning in 1913.

    In 1948, John and Marguerite Schoonhoven purchased the remaining land where they would raise cattle for decades. Beginning in 1995, Jefferson County Open Space acquired Flying J Ranch property from the De La Castro and Schoonhoven families through multiple transactions.

    Natural Resources

    Wildlife such as elk, numerous avian species, Abert's squirrel and pine squirrel occupy the area. A mix of Ponderosa pine, old growth lodgepole pine and fir make up the forest that has had significant management applied to improve the overall health.

    Flying J Ranch Park also contains mixed meadows of native and non-native grasses and forbs, along with a wetland meadow crossed by a boardwalk.