Trail Name: East Canyon Preservation Trail
Location: Castlewood Canyon State Park, Colorado
Date: June 28, 2020
Time at the Trail Head: 5:45 am
Trail Length: 4.1 miles
Elevation Gain: 282 feet
Elev. at Trail Head: 6,622 feet
# of Hikers Passed: 0
# of Mnt. Bikers Passed: 0
# of Horses Passed: 0
I’ve gone on some trails farther away from Denver for the last month, so I thought I would stay closer to home this weekend and I remembered that there has been one particular trail I have known about but haven’t tried at the Castlewood Canyon State Park, south of Franktown, Colorado.
I found what I needed on AllTrails and then imported the route into my Earthmate App, so I could see it on my Garmin inReach Mini when out on the trail. I made sure all of my devices were charged up and made plans to hit the trail early Sunday morning.
Drive to the Trail
It was a short drive from my home in Castle Rock to the Castlewood Canyon State Park. This may be a short drive, but I was still able to see a gorgeous sunrise and also was able so see Pikes Peak in the distance by Colorado Springs, plus much of the Front Range of Colorado, even up to Long’s Peak in the Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP).
The longer I live here I realize that I, at times, take the mountain views, the low humidity and the smells of the pine trees for granted, so it’s good to stop and take everything in at times. I so thankful to be living here and be able to experience the Rocky Mountains every day.
My Day on the Trail
The East Canyon Preservation Trail is near the entrance of the Castlewood Canyon State Park. It is a fairly large parking lot and there is a bathroom facility at the front office. We were one of the first ones there, which is not surprising, as we arrived at 5:45 am.
It was a gorgeous morning, which is another reason I love getting up early to see the sunrise and, many times, have the trail to ourselves.
One of the first things I want to bring to your attention is that much of this trail is rock and it’s hard to see the trail a lot of the time, so keep an eye out for the stacked rock monuments that help point out where the trail is. You can see a small stacked stone monument in the bottom of this next photo.
It’s an easy walk from the trailhead to the bridge. The East Canyon Preservation Trail really starts on the east side of the bridge, in my opinion.
One thing you’ll notice is there is a lot of highway noise on most of this trail, due to State Highway 83 running right through, or over this canyon.
You can see the trail under the picture in the picture above.
After you cross under the bridge, I started to get some beautiful photos, and it doesn’t hurt to have the sun rising over the canyon when the photos were taken.
Make sure to turn back around and see the canyon and bridge from the east side.
I kept on hiking to the east and saw a balanced rock that I was sure was about to fall over. I even tried pushing on it to see if it was unstable. It may look unstable but it wasn’t about ready to budge.
If you have ever wondered why some people get up so early to hit the trail, I hope these next few photos will explain this without me having to say a word.
The colors and lighting is spectacular in the early morning hours, plus I have the trail to myself most of the time.
We entered another smaller canyon, and were rising gently to a field on the east side of the Castlewood Canyon State Park.
This section of the trail follows a creek up the canyon, before breaking out into a field.
We finally reached the split in the trail that makes the loop around the east end of the hike. We chose to go right.
We passed one more rock formation before climbing out into the field.
I’m always amazed at how beautiful Colorado is and even on a short hike, how the scenery can change. Right after this we came upon a small herd of mule deer. There were one or two bucks in this group and a larger buck that headed off to safety that I did not get a photo of.
This part of the trail rises up to some ranch land.
This is about the time we decided to take a break. Not to rest, but to relax and take in some views of the front range in Colorado. You can see down to Pikes Peak and half-way up the front range, about to the area where Mount Evans is.
We started heading back to the trailhead but found some more nice scenery as the sun kept climbing higher in the sky.
We were almost back to the truck by the time we reached the bridge.
This was a real nice trail, that has great scenery along the canyon and some great rock formations, however, you will get a lot of road noise from highway 83. I don’t agree with this being classified as an easy trail, primarily due to the fact that you will have to climb over some rocks and step over some drops between the rocks. It’s easy enough to hike, but may be an issue if you don’t do well with climbing up and over some minor obstacles.
This is a hike you should take if you live in the area and are wondering what to do on your next upcoming weekend.
Breakfast in Castle Rock
One of my favorite places to have breakfast in Castle Rock is Santiago’s. They claim to be faithfully authentic, but all I know is that I love their breakfast burritos.
Most people use the drive-through these days, but the line moves fairly fast.
Stop in some time and check them out.
I found on this hike that a good sun shade hat was nice to have, especially when you get into the summer months here in Colorado. I wear the Outdoor Research Sombriolet.
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Check out this short video of the East Canyon Preservation trail, at the Castlewood Canyon State Park, on YouTube.
I would love to know if you have had any experience on this trail or have other trails you love to hike. Leave a Comment Below or send me an Email.
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