This weekend we decided to go to Castlewood Canyon State Park (http://www.parks.state.co.us/parks/castlewoodcanyon/Pages/CastlewoodCanyonHome.aspx) to hike. The directions are from the Park Bulletin. There is a daily charge to get into the park although we decided to get the annual pass so we can get into all state parks for the next year. Being a state park, some of the paths are marked and there are even bridges and stairs in places -- other places you are on your own!
We found a 6 mile hike on everytrail here: http://www.everytrail.com/guide/castlewood-canyon and followed it to the best of our ability. We couldn't find any GPS downloads of the trail, but I downloaded the Everytrail hike onto my phone. It appears that either my location data on my phone is off or the track on Everytrail is off because even when we were on the trail we were way off the trail according to the Everytrail track on my phone. We tried to follow the track that the Everytrail download showed, but ended up off trail and had to find our way back. This wasn't difficult because the trail we took basically follows the canyon edge in the beginning. Even though it says it is rattlesnake country, we didn't see any and the park ranger admitted none had been sited. In the parking lot it was pretty windy and cold both coming and going, but one you got on the trail the wind/cold was not noticeable. I started with my new down-like jacket and ended up in short sleeves before we were done. By the time we got to Inner Canyon Trail I could have added a long sleeve shirt. Even though the modern restrooms were closed for winter, there were restrooms we could use - an improvement over Fox Run Park last week.
Looking at the pamphlet we got from Castlewood Canyon State Park, we started at the parking lot on Lake Gulch Trail (L), took Dam trail (H) up to Rim Rock Trail (M), then took Creek Bottom Trail (G) back to the Dam, then back to the parking lot on Inner Canyon Trail (K). This route ended up being a figure eight. The pamphlet rates Rimrock Trail as difficult, but we didn't have any problem with it. If you try it you should know your limits. We were both happy to have our hiking sticks.
Here are our hike stats by our GPS:
Distance: 6.9 miles
Elapsed Time: 3:44:39 (Willy blamed this on my picture taking - I blame it on his stubborn insistence that we follow the Everytrail track at the beginning. lol!)
Total Ascent: 1475
Elevation Gain: 462
Cherry Creek runs through the canyon so you get a lot of nice rushing water sounds, especially on the way back toward the parking lot. We had to cross it at the beginning. There is an old dam that burst in 1933 flooding Denver with a 15 foot high wave. The remains of the dam and the lake bed still exist. In the second photo Willy is standing on one side of the dam remains.
Here is the entire dam remains. You can see the ruins on the right (where Willy was standing) and left. We hiked across the top of the canyon on the right and came back on the left (the first half of the figure 8). That part of the hike took us across Rim Rock trail and back on Creek Bottom Trail. We first saw the falls on Creek Bottom Trail.
I love the trees.
The falls were very pretty.
To finish the second half of the figure 8 we took inner canyon trail. Just lovely.
Towards the end of the trail we were confronted by a vicious animal. lol!