If you haven’t checked out the Dennis Weaver Memorial Park in Ridgway, Colorado, this should be on your bucket list!
An avid environmentalist, Dennis Weaver made his home in Ridgway, enjoying the beauty of the area and sharing that love with family and friends. The park is a lasting monument to his passion for the San Juans. Following the Uncompahgre River, the 60 acre public park serves as a permanent wildlife preserve, as well as providing access to a varity of hiking andbiking trails.
The Boot Hill Summit is one of several hiking trails in the park, and perfect for early Spring. Begin at the trailhead for the longer Riversage Scenic Loop, which begins on River Sage Road, just accross the street from another main attraction in the park: a giant bronze eagle. A short walk up the trail takes you to another trailhead, directing you to the left. A few switchbacks, and suddenly, you will come upon the summit, and Ridgways own version of “Boot Hill”.
Created as a tribute to the old tv series “Gunsmoke” in which his father starred, Rick Weaver worked with Billings Artworks to create these light hearted tomstones, and the boot protruding from the ground. Surrounded by an unbelievable view, I myself believe he accomplished his goal of sharing such an awe inspiring spot with visitors while at the same time, integrating a bit of the Old West feel.
To return from the summit, hikers can either head back the way they came, or continue on the Riversage Loop Trail. Since it is only about a mile to the summit, and not too steep, the decision is yours; however, there is always more to see!
The Dennis Weaver Memorial Park can be accessed either by a trail beginning in Ridgway, at the end of Railroad Street, or just outside of Ridgway.
To access the walking trail from town, turn North off of Highway 62 in town onto Railroad Street (just before Hartwell Park and City Hall) follow to the end. There is a small parking area. Walk up the paved walking trail, and you are in the park! Just a short walk will lead you to the Eagle Monument and trail heads.
To access the park directly, travel North past Ridgway on Highway 550 approximately 1.5 miles. On the West side of the highway, take Riversage Drive. Follow the road accross the bridge, and park in the designated area – right next to the Eagle Monument and trailheads.