The Upper Plum Creek Valleys

West Plum Creek rises in the Rampart Range, west of Raspberry Butte, and snakes northward through a scenic valley bordered by foothills, to its west, and a series of buttes and ridges.  While suburbs and "estates" are slowly invading the valley, most of it retains a rural character, quilted with horse farms, cattle ranches and rustic farmsteads.  At Sedalia, West Plum Creek joins East Plum Creek and the combined stream continues north past industrial areas before merging with the South Platte River in Chatfield Reservoir.

The East Fork of Plum Creek also rises in the Rampart Range, southwest of Raspberry Butte, but receives significant flow from tributaries that rise along the Palmer Divide; the latter extends eastward from the town of Palmer Lake, dividing the watersheds of the South Platte and Arkansas Rivers.  The upper valley of East Plum Creek is an extension of the rural countryside that characterizes the West Plum Creek Valley; once below Raspberry Butte, however, it flows along Interstate 25, passing through Larkspur and Castle Rock before joining the West Branch at Sedalia.

While most of the Upper Plum Creek Valleys are private lands, they provide one of the only tracts of open landscape between the expanding cities of Denver and Colorado Springs.  Bikers are attracted to these pastoral valleys and naturalists will find an interesting variety of wildlife, viewed from pulloffs along Route 105, Tomah Road or Spruce Mountain Road; golden eagles, prairie falcons, scrub jays, black-billed magpies, mule deer, coyotes, wintering elk and, recently, an occasional moose may be encountered.  More adventurous visitors can hike the trails at Spruce Mountain and Dawson Butte Open Space Preserves, which offer broad views of the Front Range, Metro Denver and the mesa-studded landscape of Douglas County (see The Castle Rock Mesas).