DIRECTIONS: From I-25 Castle Rock, take the Founders Parkway exit and follow Founders Parkway east. Make a left (east) on 5th Street which is Hwy 86 and take this almost all the way to Franktown. Before you reach Franktown, make a right (south) on Castlewood Canyon Road and take it into the park. The trailhead across the road from the Westside Parking Area.
Castlewood Canyon has long been one of my favorite State Parks in Colorado and a hidden gem in the fall, see this description for amazing fall colors. The Climbers/Cave/Cliff Base trail system is one of the shortest loops in the park, but it is an amazing a fun little hike...great for energetic kids...
You can start the trail from either the Falls Parking Lot (starting with the Cliff Base Trail) or from the West Side Parking Lot across the street from the trailhead for Climbers Trail. This description starts from the Climbers Trail.
The Climbers Trail is so named because it is the access route for various rock climbing areas. The steep trail heads into the thick gamble oak and scrub forest up a rocky trail. Behind you are views looking over the canyon to the far wall. Follow the trail until you reach the base of the cliffs and turn left (south). From here the trail undulates over rocky terrain following the base of the cliffs. The hiking here is extremely fun with plenty of rock hopping along the way. There are many small caves to explore and the rock formations branching of the cliffs are spectacular.
About half way along the cliff base, you'll come to the Cave Trail heading down to a parking area. If you want to complete the full loop, then don't take this trail and continue along the Cliff Base Trail instead. If you need to bail out on the hike, this is a shorter loop option. At the base of the cliffs near the Cave Trail is a cave that you can enter and explore.
Continuing south along the cliffs, you are now on the Cliff Base Trail though the terrain is still roughly the same. There are some wonderful views of the cliffs from this section and some views across the canyon as well. Soon the trail will descend down to the park road and the Falls Parking Lot beyond.
To finish out the loop, go to the Falls Lot and take the West Side Spur Trail to the north. This easy flat trail will take you back to the Westside Parking Area so that you don't have to walk along the road. This is a wonderful little loop and visits some fun and beautiful terrain. This loop sees plenty of visitors but still far less than the rest of the inner canyon and falls area, a great short hiking option.
HIKES BY REGION
NATIONAL PARK HIKES
- BENT'S OLD FORT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK
- COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT
- CURECANTI NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
- DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
- FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
- MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
- GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK
- HOVENWEEP NATIONAL MONUMENT
- SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- YUCCA HOUSE NATIONAL MONUMENT
- HIKES BY CATEGORY
- $UPPORT GHC
- INTERACTIVE MAP
Climbers > Cliff Base Trails
Castlewood Canyon State Park
Date Hiked: July 4, 2020
Distance: 1 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 350 ft
Elevation Min/Max: 6,338 to 6,548 ft
Trailhead Lat/Long: 39.35291, -104.76678
Managing Agency: CO Division of Parks & Wildlife