Eldorado Canyon Trail

Location: Eldorado Canyon State Park, southwest of Boulder, CO
Access: From Boulder, head south on CO-93 for  about 4 miles. Turn west onto CO-170, and continue 3.1 miles to the park entrance, which is just past the town of Eldorado Springs.
Maps: Probably the best trail map is the state park-produced map
Trailhead: UTM NAD83 475865e 4420151n 5848í
Trail: The Eldorado Canyon Trail is 3.5 miles with 1,000í elevation gain to the point where it connects to the Walker Ranch Loop. The trail has one tricky section where itís easy to get off-track onto a social trail that is presumably a route made by rock climbers to access some of the great walls in the canyon. Otherwise, the trail is not difficult, though the overall grade is fairly steep. 
Fees: $8/car


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August 28, 2010
Devin, Amber, Andra and I checked out this little park outside of Boulder, and we decided to hike the parkís namesake trail while we were there. Time didnít allow us to explore beyond the intersection with the Walker Trail, but the experience was great, and I wouldnít mind heading back sometime to take in more of the impressive geological features, both in the inner canyon and beyond. 

After parking the car, we crossed a large wooden bridge over South Boulder Creek and began hiking along a wide path that paralleled the rushing waters of the creek below. The canyon created by this creek is magnificent, with high flat walls that are nearly vertical in places. Cottonwoods and box elders lined the trail by the creek, shading it in a nice dark coolness that was refreshing even at that early hour of the day. We passed by a little cave that we walked back into about 30 feet before it petered out. A man was busy readying his climbing gear at the entrance to the cave.  Climbing seems to be a very popular pasttime here. 

The shade and the cottonwoods quickly disappeared when we began ascending through the north wall of the canyon, through a drier, more open hillside dominated by perennial grass, potentilla, juniper and pine. Steep going at first, we breathed heavily while trying to maintain conversations, well, perhaps Andra and I more than Devin and Amber, who were at that time training for competitive relay racing. Distracted by the conversation, we took a wrong turn on the path onto a little trail that looked official, but apparently was an unofficial trail that, after awhile, was clearly not taking us the direction we intended. We backtracked, and got back on track. 

In the draws that we crossed over, thick Douglas fir shaded the ground, and in places the pines were also very thick. Usually the trail was covering pretty open ground, with unimpeded views of the rough terrain in all directions. Eldorado Mt sits to the south of the Canyon, and the narrow-guage railway that plies it's slopes is visible, though I think the days of the railroad's operations are over. Just gazing out across the miles of craggy bumps and knolls, crumbling ridges and deep canyons lets you know that travel in the area is not quick, but it will be fun. 

We reached the junction of the Walker Trail, and decided that was far enough for the time we had allotted. Itís always tempting to go on, but we turned back so as to make it a half-day hike rather than a full-day hike. The walk back went pretty quickly, and upon returning to the parking area, we all went wading in South Boulder Creek at a swimming hole that had about twenty kids splashing around in. 

Eldorado Canyon State Park, Colorado
Eldorado Canyon State Park, Colorado

Eldorado Canyon State Park, Colorado
Eldorado Canyon State Park, Colorado
Eldorado Canyon State Park, Colorado
Eldorado Canyon State Park, Colorado
Eldorado Canyon State Park, Colorado
Eldorado Canyon State Park, Colorado

Eldorado Canyon State Park, Colorado

Eldorado Canyon State Park, Colorado
Eldorado Canyon State Park, Colorado

 


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Page created 11-13-11
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