Castlewood Canyon State Park


Ascending Hikes – Castlewood Canyon State Park

A ~ 6 mile loop hike around Castlewood Canyon State Park offering a rich mix of scenic landscapes, historical sites, and diverse ecosystems. The journey features the historic Castlewood Dam ruins and close encounters with rugged rock formations and panoramic views, making it a captivating outdoor adventure.

  • Easy
  • Easy
  • Mileage: 6.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 815 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 6,612 ft
  • Pace: 1.5-2.0 MPH

Carpool Place & Time: Meet at the Ken Caryl PnR at 7:00AM, for a 7:15AM departure (Ken Caryl Park-N-Ride - Google Maps)

We'll carpool to the Lake Gulch TH Parking Lot in Castlewood Canyon SP (Lake Gulch Trailhead - Google Maps)

This loop hike in Castlewood Canyon State Park includes the Lake Gulch, Dam, Creek Bottom, Rimrock, and Inner Canyon Loop trails which offer a dynamic and immersive experience through some of Colorado’s most scenic and historically rich terrain. Starting on the Lake Gulch Trail, we'll descend from open grasslands dotted with wildflowers into the canyon, where the landscape becomes more rugged and enclosed. Connecting to the Dam Trail, we encounter the remnants of the Castlewood Dam, a historic site that tells the dramatic story of the dam's failure in 1933, which significantly shaped the area's history and landscape. Continuing on the Creek Bottom Trail, the hike follows the gentle flow of Cherry Creek, providing a cool, shaded path lined with lush vegetation and abundant wildlife. This tranquil section contrasts beautifully with the more strenuous segments of the journey. The trail then ascends to meet the Rimrock Trail, offering panoramic views of the canyon and surrounding plains, rewarding us with breathtaking vistas. The Inner Canyon Loop brings a sense of adventure as we navigate closer to the canyon’s rocky formations and more secluded areas. This hike provides a richly varied experience, showcasing the park's natural splendor, geological wonders, and historical intrigue. We'll find a comfortable spot for lunch/snack. Our pace will accommodate all participants. An ~6 mile, 815 ft elevation gain hike. (Castlewood Canyon Loop - CalTopo)

The Colorado Mountain Club's Ascending Hike Section (AHS) provides an opportunity to make new friends and explore new places in Colorado's backcountry, while increasing your personal hiking speed, strength, and stamina. The section is administered by CMC volunteers. There is no cost, fee, or scheduling commitment. There are no dues or elections. Open to all CMC members. To join the section, contact the CMC office. (Ascending Hikes Section — The Colorado Mountain Club (


Castlewood Canyon State Park

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

10 essentials are required. Trekking poles are recommended.

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