With the weather looking great in early April we decided to hit the trails. Lucky for us we live quite close to Eldorado Canyon State Park. We weren’t quite sure how far we would go since we got a late start to the day.
Small word of caution the road to Eldorado Canyon SP is not paved beyond the small town of Eldorado Springs. It had recently snowed a little bit and the road up to the parking lot was really muddy but we pushed on to the end of the road and parked next to the visitor center.
The park doesn’t have a ton of trails so we started up Trail #16 (Eldorado Canyon) which climbs out of the park and then links up with an adjacent park Walker Ranch (Boulder Open Space). The trail is a butt kicking climb with a combination of switchbacks and steps up the side of the canyon. When we started it was quite chilly in the shaded canyon which doesn’t see a lot of sunlight due to its steep walls. They were still spots of snow and ice as we rapidly climbed up the canyon. We shed layers as we went and stopped to watch Max frolick in the snow (his very favorite activity).
After about a mile of huff and puff climbing the trail levels off and the trees began to thin out. Despite some haze when we turned around we were able to make out downtown Denver easily 20 miles away. The views from the top of the trail are really good and worth the effort. We continued to push on at about 3 miles the trail takes a quick plunge for about 1/2 mile to reach the edge of Walker Ranch. We pulled over in the brilliant sunshine and ate our lunch before turning around.
Eldorado Canyon was a great hike for a spring day with good temps. It’s probably best as a spring and fall destination as it would be too hot in the summer and potentially icy in the winter. We’ll be back next spring :D.
Distance: 6.78 miles
Elevation Gain: 1785 feet