Tag: water

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

view of park

Bear Creek Trail and Bruin Bluff Trail (Lair O’ the Bear Park)

Bear Creek Trail

A nice easy loop hike at the Lair O’ the Bear Park starts at the parking lot and follows the Bear Creek Trail west, then go left over the bridge to Castor Cutoff Trail to Bruin Bluff Trail, and then go left over the Ouzel bridge to Bear Creek Trail again. Grab a map at the parking lot for a personal trail map.

Bear Creek Trail in the Spring

This loop trail follows Bear Creek under huge cottonwood trees to a wood planked bridge.

It is a pleasant hike, shaded in areas, slightly uphill through pine trees along the side of a grassy meadow with views of the canyon and the creek. It is a good loop trail within the park where you can experience a little bit of the various micro climates of the park (creek, pine forest, canyon views, grassy meadow).

Bruin Bluff Trail

For a more challenging hike, you may like the Bruin Bluff Trail that moves up over the top of the hill/side of the canyon (1.9 miles loop trail).

One thing to keep in mind is that this park is very crowded on weekends so come on a weekday or early morning to avoid crowds. There are picnic pavillions and grills available along the creekside too.

bear creek

Lair O Bear Picnic Area

Bear Creek Spring Melt

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creek bridge

Cherry Creek Trail and Creek Bottom Trail at Castlewood Canyon

Castlewood Canyon State Park hosts a number of fun and scenic trails. Begin at the Westside parking lot and trailhead.
Cherry Creek Trail Bridge

Start your hike on the Cherry Creek Trail north to the Lucas Homestead site. From there, take the Homestead trail until you meet up with the Creek Bottom Trail where you will go right (you may want to stop and take a look at the water while you are at this intersection- a great place for throwing stones into the water). After that section of the Creek Bottom Trail, you will go right onto the Cherry Creek Trail again back to the parking lot. Grab a map at the trailhead.

The trail offers hiking through scrub oak, small hills, and eventually down into the canyon itself. The canyon walls are covered in trees and lush vegetation, and the bottom of the canyon is covered in huge boulders. It is well maintained and has areas of gradual incline, creek crossing and and shade.
Cherry Creek Cliff

Picnic Recommendations:
We enjoyed packing a lunch and eating on the side of the trail once we found a large rock to call our table. There are many such areas along the trail – down near the water is open and there is a lot to see. Or, you may choose to have your picnic at one of the many picnic tables provided at the trailhead.

Restrooms available at trailhead.

Note:If you like the Cherry Creek Trail, you may also enjoy: Inner Canyon Trail