Sunday, July 29, 2012

Castlewood Canyon State Park

The moments we share with the ones we love are priceless & for me sharing the beauty of the natural world with family & friends can’t be beat.  Part of our family are two wonderful dogs, Sydney & Adelaide.  They are Australian Cattle Dogs & we love being able to take them on adventures with us.
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 & turn south onto Castlewood Canyon Road.  This is the west entrance to the park & there is no visitors 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 ¾ miles & took us approximately 2.5 hours.  Starting from the parking lot you walk  for about .2 miles on the Falls Spur trail, when you reach the end of this trail we turned left onto the Creek Bottom trail.  This trail begins at approximately 6,400 feet & 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 you’ll come to the next trail on this journey, it’s called Rimrock trail.  This trail will lead you up to the sheer cliffs of the canyon.  The trail moves down at first & then back up to the top of the canyon, an elevation gain of approximately 300-400 feet.

After you catch your breath from the climb you walk right to the end of the canyon & you can then see the entire front range.  The trail at this point is over the flat rocks of the canyon top & a fairly easy journey with incredible views.  This trail continues for about 2 miles till you reach the Dam trail.

This trail brings you 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 ¼ of a  mile but we found this part of the hike difficult because of the steepness of the descent.
Once you reach the bottom you connect again with the Creek Bottom trail & continue right along Cherry creek until you find your way back to the Falls Spur trail & back to the parking lot.  The great thing about doing the hike the way we did it was on this last spur of the Creek Bottom trail we could see where we were at the top of the canyon.
We did this hike on a beautiful day in January but I advise you to bring 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 & on this trail as long as they are leashed.  I encourage you to enjoy this wonderful & very different place.
Till next time,

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