Rattlesnake Gulch Trail

Boulder County, Colorado

Elevation Gain853ft
Trailhead Elevation6,065ft
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 Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking Colorado's Front Range (Falcon Guides)
Bob D Antonio
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"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."
Hiking through History Colorado (Falcon Guides)
Robert Hurst
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"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’."
Best Easy Day Hikes: Boulder (Falcon Guides)
Tracy Salcedo-Chourre
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"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."
Afoot & Afield: Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, and Rocky Mountain National Park (Wilderness Press)
Alan Apt and Kay Turnbaugh
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"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."
Best Hikes with Kids Colorado (The Mountaineers Books)
Maureen Keilty
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"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."
Best Hikes Near Denver and Boulder (Falcon Guides)
Sandy Heise and Maryann Gaug
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"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 Trip Reports

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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.

Rattlesnake Gulch Trail Photos

Trail Information

Boulder County
Nearby City
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
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

Trail Log