Trailhead Sign

Colorado Trail (Segment 1) Waterton Canyon Trail

Waterton Canyon Trailhead Sign

The beginning of the Colorado Trail is the Waterton Canyon Trail segment adjacent to Chatfield State Park on Waterton Rd. This section of the famous trail is very popular due to its proximity to Denver and easy access to the trailhead.

Though segment-1 is 15 miles long ending in the Foxton area, many hikers and mountain bikers chose to travel in-and-out without completing the entire 15 miles from end-to-end (or 30 miles roundtrip).

Starting up Waterton Canyon

The first portion of the hike travels along the water access road along the South Platte River. This is a pleasant hike that leads under huge cottonwood trees,towering canyon cliffs and near rushing water.

This trail is heavily traveled but there is plenty of space for all hikers, mountain bikers and casual day hikers who enjoy the many attributes of the area.

Waterton Canyon Trail through the trees

We traveled in one mile and out again but got a taste of the canyon scenery and the wildlife in the canyon. Big horn sheep are commonly seen on the cliffs and dogs are not allowed on this portion of the trail for that reason.

As the trail enters deeper into Waterton canyon, the trail narrows to a footpath shared by hikers and bikers.

Entering Waterton Canyon

Beginning of Waterton Canyon Trail first portion

Platte River in Waterton Canyon

Platte River in Waterton Canyon One Mile Mark

Trail and Platte River in Waterton Canyon

Trail and Platte River in Waterton Canyon 2

Waterton Canyon Big Horn Sheep

Trailhead at Gateway Mesa

Mitchell Creek Trail and Chuck’s Trail at Gateway Mesa

Trailhead at Gateway Mesa
Gateway Mesa Open Space Park, near Castle Rock, offers an easy hike called Chuck’s Trail. The area offers a mesa-top trail with views of the the black forest area, Parker, Cherry Creek, Mitchell Gulch and the mountains from Pikes Peak all the way to Mt Elbert.

rock formations along Gateway Mesa trail
Chuck's Trail on Gateway Mesa

There is little shade on this trail so the best time to hike it is early in the day before it gets too hot. The openness of the trail allows you to see views of the cliffs near Castlewood Canyon.

meadow view on Chuck's trail

A good route from the parking area is to go left on Chuck’s Trail. The terrain is flat with the trail crossing over packed dirt and large, flat rock. It leads out to a bluff where you have nice views of Franktown and Parker to the east. The trail has plenty of trail markers (stacked rocks) to guide you over the rocky areas. Pay attention so you don’t lose the trail.
Chuck's Trail overlooking Parker east
When you get to the trail junction (marked with a large map), go right to head back to the parking lot to complete the Chuck’s Trail loop (1.8 miles).
trail junction
Another option is to go straight on Mitchell Creek Canyon Trail for a short way until you reach the bluffs overlooking the lush gulch where the creek keeps the trees a brilliant green. You will have beautiful views of the cliffs, creek and pond below, and the hawks flying in this beautiful gully. If you follow Mitchell Creek Canyon trail to the end (.75 miles), it dead-ends at the head of the gulch. Turn around and go back the way you came until you reach the trail junction again. Go left back to the parking lot to complete a 3.3 mile hike. Below are Mitchell Creek Canyon Trail views:
Mitchell Creek Trail straight aheadTrail markers
Mitchell Gulch Trail overlook east
trail crosses into private property on Mitchell Creek trail
overlook Mitchell Creek Canyon
on top of Mitchell Creek trail
Trail junction of Chuck's and Mitchell Creek TrailsChuck's Trail return

10 Fantastic Rocky Mountain Hikes Near Denver - Mary Norton

Bring the best hikes with you with our quick pocket guide to hiking trails near Denver. Normally $4.99 it is yours free just for liking FunColoradoHikes on Facebook!

Map at parking lot Silver Dale

Sporting Times Trail on Guanella Pass

Silverdale Trailhead offers a series of hikes located in the beautiful Guanella Pass area just off the east side of the pass road. The area features a creek, open views of the valley, large stands of aspens, towering mountains and a scenic drive to and from the trail.

The Sporting Times trail(s) begin at Silverdale trailhead. It is located about 4 miles from Georgetown on Co Rd 381 (Guanella Pass Rd). The parking area is located just past the first reservoir and is well-marked. The trail begins just after you cross over the creek on the wooden foot bridge. Before you head out, stop at the trail map in the parking area and decide what route you will follow. There are no trail maps to take with you, and once on the trail, there are no trail markings. Plan your route before you set out because there are several trail intersections that can be confusing. You may want to print the map below and take it with you.

Silver Dale Trail Map

To hike the easy Sporting Times Trail, go left at each junction. This trail is relatively wide and has some rolling hills as it heads north. Enjoy the pretty scenery that includes glimpses through the trees of the towering mountains in the pass as well as views of snow capped mountains in the distance. The other trails in the area are a little more difficult terrain but offer more fantastic views.
Sporting Times Trail 1
Sporting Times Trail 2
Sporting Times Trail 3

The trail is wide (an old fire road or jeep trail) and a very pleasant hike through the forest. About a half mile in, you will come to a steep climb. As you go up, look for the views – very nice!
Make the whole 4 mile hike in and out or just go for a portion; it’s an easy/moderate trail with pleasant views and it’s not a heavily populated trail – enjoy the peace and quiet.

Sporting Times Trail 4
Sporting Times Trail 5
Silver Dale Parking Area

Other trails in this area that you may enjoy are:
Rosalie Trail
South Park Trail to Square Top Lakes
Silver Dollar Lake Trail

Clear Creek County Trail Map

Views north on top of Guanella Pass

Rosalie Trail #603 at Guanella Pass

Views north on top of Guanella Pass

Beautiful mountains, and tundra surroundings encompass the Guanella Pass area! From the parking lot, Rosalie trail (Tr 603) heads south. The entire length of Rosalie Trail is 14 miles but just hiking a short portion of 2.5 miles keeps you up above treeline until you meet Gomer Creek and its drainage (it then heads down into Abyss Trail and trailhead). We prefer the short portion of 1 mile in-and-out just for the views of the peaks, peaceful surroundings and cool air.

Its a good area to wander even if you aren’t up for a serious hike: take photographs, picnic, take-in the scenery and relax at an elevation of 11,700 ft. above sea level! If you have binoculars, you may see Rocky Mountain Big Horn sheep and/or mountain goats grazing on the side of Mt. Bierstadt!

Rosalie Trail looking east

Another short but interesting and fun trail heads east toward the valley – part of the beginning of Mt Bierstadt Trail. Hike down to the small pond or Gomer Creek and watch for wildlife; occasionally there are moose in the area.

Rosalie Trail 2
Rosalie Trail heading east 2
The mountains that you will see on the Rosalie Trail include Mt. Bierstadt (14,060ft.), Mt. Evans (14,264 ft.), Geneva Mtn. (12,335 ft.) and others to the northwest. Straight ahead to the east is Mt. Bierstadt a very popular, “easy” fourteener. Many hikers, expert and beginner alike love this area.

Rosalie trail looking westward

Restrooms available at parking lot.

Rosalie Trail 5

On Top of Rosalie

Other hikes in this area you may enjoy:
South Park Trail
Mt. Bierstadt
Silver Dollar Lake Trail
Sporting Times Trail

For Guanella Pass Seasonal Road Conditions and Closure times click Colorado Dept. of Transport

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mt falcon1 trail

Mt Falcon Park Hikes – Castle Trail and Meadow Trail

Mt Falcon Park Hikes

Two easy Mt Falcon Park hikes from the west entrance of Mt. Falcon Park are Meadow Trail and Castle Trail offering level terrain and views of the mountains as well as the city. One of the best perks of this park is that it is close to Denver just bordering Indian Hills, Colorado (west entry from Hwy 285 to Parmalee Gulch Rd.)

mt falcon park trail

These two trails together offer meadows filled with wildflowers, views of the city and foothills, and plenty of tall Scotch and Ponderosa Pines.

mt falcon park view

The park offers many more trails that are easy to moderate and offer a multitude of views of the mountains and city. See Trail Map.

mt falcon park trails

Castle Trail offers a unique destination of old homestead ruins that once belonged to a wealthy Denverite in the early 1900’s. Kids love to explore the old castle ruins at the end of the hike and enjoy the view of the eastern plains over Denver.

mt falcon trailhead

Our family has visited this park for many years and have always enjoyed its open meadows and pine forests. Pack a picnic and dine at one of the many picnic tables in this mountain setting! Enjoy Your hike or your picnic.

mt falcon picnic pavilion with view

Indian Creek Trail Head sign

Indian Creek Trail

Indian Creek Trail Head

Nestled in the foothills just 11 miles west of Sedalia, sits this pleasant and surprisingly pretty trail. The south end of the Indian Creek Trail #800 in Pike National Forest offers a three mile loop trail that begins and ends at the Indian Creek Campground.
Indian Creek Trail Sign
The trail begins at the south end of the parking lot just past the rest station. But before heading out on the trail be sure to register and pay the day fee for parking ($6) – the National Forest Service has collection boxes at the parking lot where you can pay with cash or check. (We saw a car parked out on CO-67; obviously parking out there allowed them a free day of biking or hiking).
Indian Creek Trail Marker
The trail begins on a gentle incline through pine and aspen trees. It is a well-traveled and well-maintained trail that winds through shady forest up over several ridges. Wildflowers are scattered alongside the trail for the entire 3 miles. Look for redish Indian Paintbrush, pink Wild Rose, yellow Milkweed, pale purple Columbine, and dark purple Larkspur.
Indian Creek Trail
The hike is a moderate climb. Not too steep but enough to bring you up to some wonderful vantage points where the views of the western mountains will surprise you!
Indian Creek Trail 2
Looking west towards the mountains, you will see the Deckers area as well as Devil’s Head to the south. Further south you can glimpse Pikes Peak on a clear day. These views are the big payoff of the hike.
Indian Creek Trail 3

Indian Creek Trail 4

Indian Creek Trail Mountain View
As you continue past the first lookout on the first ridge, you can catch glimpses of the views to the northern mountains as well. Keep looking, you will see several areas where views of the mountains will awe you.
Indian Creek Trail View
After hiking for about 40 minutes (1.6 miles) the trail comes to a junction. It is a busy crossing where we encountered many mountain bikers and horseback riders. You will see signs for the Ringtail Trail to the north and a sign for the Indian Creek Trail #800. Do not continue on the Indian Creek Trail (unless you are planning a 14 mile loop hike out to Roxburough Park). Instead, go right (south) on the fire road. This will take you back to the Indian Creek campground and parking lot to finish this three-mile loop hike.
As you head down to your car, you will enjoy the scenery along the rough fire road as well as the lush grasses and wildflowers. When you reach the campground on your right, cut through it to get back to the parking lot/trailhead where you began.

Indian Creek Trail Colorado

Indian Creek Trail horses
Indian Creek Trail flowers
Indian Creek Trail flowers 2
Indian Creek Trail trees
Indian Creek Trail road
Indian Creek Trail Fireroad
Fire road heads south to the Indian Creek campground and trailhead.
Indian Creek Trail flowers 3
Indian Creek Trail butterfly
Indian Creek Trail trees2
Indian Creek Trail parking