A Walk in the Woods: Castlewood Canyon State Park

By Bill Bruner

The moments we share with the ones we love are priceless, and, for me, sharing the beauty of the natural world with family and friends can’t be beat.  Part of our family are two wonderful dogs, Sydney and Adelaide.  They are Australian Cattle Dogs and we love being able to take them on adventures with us.

The Trail Ahead, Bill Bruner
Pikes Peak, Bill Bruner
The Front Range, Bill Bruner

This month we visited Castlewood Canyon State Park in Franktown.  To get there, take I-25 south to Founders Parkway/ CO-86, go east about 12 miles, and turn south onto Castlewood Canyon Road.  This is the west entrance to the park, and there is no visitor’s center here.  You’ll need $7 cash for the entrance fee that you’ll put into an envelope at the entrance.  Park in the Westside trailhead parking lot.

The trail we took was a combination trail that, when put together, becomes a perfect loop of this lovely canyon.  The total length was 4.75 miles and took us approximately 2.5 hours.  Starting from the parking lot, we walked  for about 0.2 miles on the Falls Spur trail, and at the end of this trail we turned left onto the Creek Bottom trail.  This trail begins at approximately 6,400 feet and continues slowly downward into the canyon.

The views from this trail are truly breathtaking as you walk along Cherry Creek.  After continuing for about 1 mile we came to the next trail on this journey, it’s called Rimrock Trail.  This trail lead us up to the sheer cliffs of the canyon.  The trail moves down at first and then back up to the top of the canyon, an elevation gain of approximately 300-400 feet.

After we caught our breath from the climb, we walked right to the end of the canyon, from where we saw the entire Front Range.  The trail at this point is over the flat rocks of the canyon top and a fairly easy journey with incredible views.  This trail continues for about 2 miles where we reached the Dam Trail.

This trail brought us back down to the bottom of the canyon with a fairly steep descent.  The total length of this trail is only a bit more than a quarter of a mile but we found this part of the hike difficult because of the steepness of the descent.

Once we reached the bottom, we connected again with the Creek Bottom Trail and continued right along Cherry Creek until we found our way back to the Falls Spur Trail, and back to the parking lot. 

If you go, the great thing about doing the hike the way we did it was that on this last spur of the Creek Bottom trail, we could see where we were at the top of the canyon.

The Canyon, Bill BrunerWe did this hike on a beautiful day in January, but I advise you to bring traction clip-on’s or something else for your boots to deal with the ice.  Since the Canyon looms over much of the trail in the winter,  it is a bit treacherous at times.  The dogs never had an issue but we were walking very carefully in many places.  Dogs are allowed in the park and on this trail as long as they are leashed.  I encourage you to enjoy this wonderful and very different place.

I look forward to hearing more suggestions of hikes that you love to take along the front range, you can reach me at:

Till next time,


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