Best Ecosystem Trail Denver 2001 - M. Walter Presman Trail
This 1.5-mile trail -- completed in 1962 through the efforts of the Denver Botanic Gardens and the U.S. Forest Service -- winds up a peak in the Mount Evans ecosystem, about 55 miles west of Denver. From the lower trailhead in a stand of ancient bristlecone pines, up past the timberline, through alpine tundra above 12,000 feet, the trail provides access to a wide variety of ecologically unique plants, wildlife and geological features. Each summer, volunteers from the Botanic Gardens work to conserve and restore the Presman trail; last year, construction began on a nature center at the lower trailhead. Guided tours along the trail offer visitors the opportunity to learn about the fragile ecosystem and the importance of conservation.