Castlewood Canyon

Franktown, Colorado 80116

Castlewood Canyon

Castlewood Canyon Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Castlewood Canyon is located in the plains region southeast of Denver. Etched by Cherry Creek, this canyon includes several ecological communities that blend together in a relatively small area.

These include surprisingly tall stands of timber, verdant riparian areas, fragile prairie grasses, and more. Add to these natural features a poignant lesson in man’s attempt to control nature and you have a special place indeed."

More Castlewood Canyon Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Hikes with Dogs: Colorado (The Mountaineers Books)
Ania Savage
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"As with the Grand Canyon but on a much smaller and much less grand scale, you don’t realize it’s there until you have crossed the rolling plain and are staring speechless on the edge of a deep fissure that was carved by water eroding rock over the millennia. In the case of Castlewood Canyon, the erosion was by Cherry Creek, which is famous as the stream in which gold was discovered in 1858."
Colorado's Incredible Backcountry Trails (Rincon Publishing)
David Day
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"A wall of water surged into Denver after the failure of the Castlewood Dam seventyfive years ago. Built in 1890, Castlewood Dam had been in service for 43 years when it ruptured. Two people were killed, but it would likely have been thousands had it not been for the actions of an alert telephone operator named Nettie Driscoll who was on duty that night 20 miles downstream. She was informed of the failure at about 2:00 a.m. by the dam caretaker, and managed to relay a warning to the Denver police before fleeing for her own life. Today about a third of the old dam still stands in Castlewood Canyon State Park on the west bank of Cherry Creek. This trail passes just below it. The canyon seems so tranquil now, but gazing up at the dam it isn’t difficult to imagine the horror that existed on that fateful summer morning. The eastern half of the dam, some 300 feet of rock and concrete, were almost completely swept away."

Castlewood Canyon Trip Reports

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Very good family day hike with multiple options, from nature trail to meadows to a mini gorge. While most of the wildlife is hiding by the time most people get there you still might see a variety of critters, especially birds and raptors. The new vistor center (well, relatively new) has made the park much more accessable to more people so expect crowds on weekends. Great place to look for wildflowers.

Castlewood Canyon Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
4 hours
6,600 feet
Trailhead Elevation
6,600 feet
Top Elevation
Castlewood Canyon State Park
Local Contacts
USGS Castle Rock South, Russellville Gulch
Local Maps

Trail Log