Rattlesnake Gulch Trail

Boulder County, Colorado

Distance2.5mi
Elevation Gain853ft
Trailhead Elevation6,065ft
Top6,801ft
Elevation Min/Max6065/6801ft
Elevation Start/End6065/6065ft

Rattlesnake Gulch Trail

Rattlesnake Gulch Trail is a hiking and biking trail in Boulder County, Colorado. It is 2.5 miles long and begins at 6,065 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 2.9 miles with a total elevation gain of 853 feet. The Fowler/Rattlesnake Gulch Trailhead parking is near the trailhead. There are also restrooms. Along the trail there is parking. The trail ends near the Continental Divide Overlook and Crags Hotel Ruins viewpoints.

Rattlesnake Gulch Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"If you are looking for a nice, easy ride, avoid this trail. If you want a long, fast ride, avoid this trail. But, if your desires are for a short steep, technical outing on the all too frequent loose rock, give it a shot.

The single track climb out of South Boulder Creek is stiff and intense; 1,000 feet in two miles and at times has the feel that you are riding on marbles. Recent Trail maintenance has made the climb somewhat easier than in the past. Have I scared you off? Bring some money since there is a small fee to enter Eldorado State Park."

"This is a short, steep hike up a beautiful narrow gulch, with views of towering rock walls and the Indian Peaks, in beautiful Eldorado Canyon State Park.

This is one of the bestspots along the Front Range for wildlife viewing, and there are several spots along the trail where you can stop and look for the many species of birds and mammals that call this special place home. This is a great hike for the whole family to get out and enjoy some excellent hiking in a wonderful wildlife area."

"A moderately strenuous and rocky trail leads out of strikingly beautiful Eldorado Canyon to the site of a burned-out hotel.

What killed the Crags Hotel above Eldorado Springs? Well, fire killed the hotel. But who, or what, started the fire that killed the Crags Hotel? Some say it was lightning. Others suspect arson. Personally, I’m going with arson. The Crags Hotel was built on a hilltop (lightning bait) about 800 feet above Eldorado Springs in 1908, when the resort below was truly hoppin’."

"Follow the old “Crags Boulevard” to the remains of the Crags Hotel, enjoying views of surrounding rock-climbing walls as you ascend and of the Continental Divide from the hotel site.

The hotel stood on this spot for four years before it was destroyed by fire. Patrons reached the hotel in automobiles
via the “boulevard” that now serves as the Rattlesnake Gulch Trail, by taking a funicular rail line, or by riding the
Moffat Railroad from Denver ($1 round-trip), then taking a horse-and-buggy ride from the rail stop down to the hotel. An interpretive sign at the site describes the hotel’s grandeur and demise."

"This trail features excellent views of the main canyon, an interesting side canyon, Crags Hotel ruins, the Continental Divide, and the Burlington Northern-Sante Fe/Amtrak rail line.

The switchbacks are almost as ambitious as the Eldorado Trail if you complete the entire loop. You gain 800 feet in a little more than 0.6 mile on the widely sweeping, fairly gradual switchbacks to reach the ruins of the Crags Hotel, which burned down in 1912, only four years after it was built. There is a historic marker about the hotel at the site and a limited view of the Indian Peaks."

"From the trailhead, follow the wheelchair-accessible Fowler Trail for the first 0.2 mile. From here, the Rattlesnake Gulch Trail traverses the canyon wall.

The foaming white torrent slicing the narrow canyon below you is South Boulder Creek. Initially, the trail winds through a boulderstrewn path, then edges close to open cliff sides—youngsters who tend to wander need to be reined in here. Following the canyon contours, at 0.4 mile the trail nears
a 10-foot-wide cement aqueduct carrying water from South Boulder Creek to Denver."

"Close to Boulder, this ride has a little of everything. Diehards will enjoy the steep, tight climbing on the singletrack up Rattlesnake Gulch. Watch for traffic on roads and other users on singletrack. This is a popular trail on the weekends. The trail begins on the Dowdy Draw trailhead.

Tread: 2.0 miles on paved road, 2.2 miles on packed dirt road, and 3.4 miles on singletrack."

"Follow old Crags Boulevard up Rattlesnake Gulch to the ghost of the Crags Hotel, a popular and luxurious resort in the early 1900s. Winding up the steep gulch, one wonders how early autos could make it!

The trail provides wonderful views of the sheer walls of Eldorado Canyon, a world-renowned rock-climbing area. Golden eagles, bald eagles (winter), turkey vultures, red-tailed hawks, peregrine falcons, prairie falcons, and sharp-shinned hawks soar on thermals (upward currents of warm air) and
swoop down on their prey. A higher loop takes you along the path that accessed the hotel from the railroad tracks."

Rattlesnake Gulch Trail Reviews

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6/2/2018
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8/22/2009
I had so much fun on this trail. It takes you all the way up to a railroad through El Dorado Canyon and to the ruins of the Crags Hotel. Huge opportunity for further exploring of the area. This trail is much more of a history lesson than just a trail. Step into 1900 America.
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Rattlesnake Gulch Trail Photos

Trail Information

Boulder County
Nearby City
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Accessibility
For current conditions and more information, contact Eldorado State Park, www.parks.state.co.us or (303) 494-3943
Local Contacts
Eldorado Canyon State Park brochure; USGS Eldorado Springs
Local Maps