Cheap, free, and local-endorsed things to do in beautiful places

Castlewood Canyon Loop Trail

  • ★★★
  • 4.4 mile loop
  • Elevation gain: 879 feet
  • 1.5-2.5 hours
  • Easy
  • A quiet canyon with a creek

Distance from Denver: 45 minutes


Parking: $7

This easy hike showcases a pleasant canyon with boulders, a portion of Cherry Creek, and the northern part of Colorado’s Black Forest – an ecosystem that bridges the gap between foothills and plains.

Enter Castlewood Canyon at the East Entrance and park in the first lot on your right. Take the short stroll to the Bridge Overlook for a great introductory view of the canyon. Then from the parking lot take the Canyon View Nature Trail, stopping at short spurs that have plaques with information on the area and sweeping views.

After 1.2 miles, take a right onto the Inner Canyon Trail which takes you down onto the canyon floor. From there, you’ll walk along the creek until you reach the Lake Gulch Trail. Follow Lake Gulch over the creek (you might have to hop on some boulders if the water level is high) and up a very slight, easy incline up to a different parking lot from the one you’re at. From here, take the Canyon View Nature Trail back to your car.

If you have time, drive 15 minutes to the West Entrance of the park and park at the Falls Spur Trailhead for an easy 0.4 mile round trip hike to a panoramic view of the canyon’s beautiful waterfall.

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