This short loop is a great option for exploring the Marshall Mesa area.
There is a restroom, map, dog-bag dispenser, picnic tables, and ample parking spaces located at the trailhead lot. There is also a well-stocked convenience mart across the highway.
This loop begins out of the very-accommodating Marshall Mesa Trail
off of Highway 93. The trail is rocky at first, but quickly alters to a traditional dirt path with very few roots or large protruding rocks.
The trail is in open fields for a short while, before entering a more wooded area of pine trees. Along the upper leg of the trail is a bubbling creek and stunning views of the Flatirons and Marshall Valley, coupled with interesting and old plant life. Signs warning of coyotes are quite present throughout, so be sure to never let your dog or members of your hiking party wander where they shouldn't.
Along the midpoint of the upper leg is a fantastic opportunity to snag photos on a large, raised outcrop of trees and rock, which I found to be a great spot to stop and rest.
The crucial turn lays at the intersection of Marshall Mesa
and Marshall Valley
trails, where I turned sharply right onto the Marshall Valley
in order to head back to the parking lot. This section is very flat and open, and a nice cool down after the more engaging sections of the loop.
The trail merges with the beginning section of the loop, and leads back to the parking lot, which is right across the highway (crosswalk provided) from a large convenience/novelty/gas station market.
Though signs for coyotes are everywhere, I did not see a single one (which is probably for the best). Still, visitors would be wise to consider these animals might be present when beginning the loop. I did, however, see many red-tailed hawks and other birds throughout my hike. The trees are mostly of the pine variety, and the plains grass was comforting (and provided a nice foreground for the valley and Flatirons in the distance).