Hiking Trails in Colorado | Inner Canyon Loop Trail

Trail Information

Hiking Trails in Colorado Inner Canyon Loop Trail

Trail Name: Inner Canyon Loop Trail, Castlewood Caynon State Park

Location: Near Franktown, Colorado

Date: October 5, 2019

Time at the Trail Head: 7:30 am

Trail Length: 5.8 miles

Elevation Gain: 695 feet

Elev. at Trail Head: 6,608 feet

# of Hikers Passed: 19

# of Mnt. Bikers Passed: 13

# of Horses Passed: 0

Mosquitoes: 0

AllTrails Colorado Inner Canyon Loop Trail

Drive from Denver to Inner Canyon Loop Trail

I started my drive from Lone Tree, Colorado and the drive only took approximately 30 minutes. It’s nice easy drive through Parker and then to Franktown.

Castlewood Canyon State Park | Drive

It’s a pretty drive from Franktown to the Castlewood Canyon State Park and the ground starts to rise up in front of you to where the park sits. The park sits on top of a large bluff, but others might call it something else, and then you walk down into the canyon for a gorgeous hike.

My Day on the Trail

We arrived at the Castlewood Canyon State Park around 7:30 and there were not a lot of people there yet, and this is partly due to our hike being in October. The park is beautiful and well maintained by the Colorado Park staff.

Castlewood Canyon State Park | Trailhead

There are nice facilities at the park if you need them. The park is approximately 20 miles from the Rocky Mountains but there are some beautiful view of the park looking out towards the Rockies in several locations.

I want to add a side note here before getting to the trail. I recommend always layering your clothes when hiking in Colorado and one thing that always goes in my pack is my North Face TKA Glacier Quarter-Zip pullover. It’s light, it keeps me warm and it drys out quickly. I actually wear these to work a lot when it starts to cool off. Having great gear and clothing really helps me to enjoy my time on the trail.

My friend and I were completely amazed at how beautiful the Castlewood Canyon State Park was. We were expecting it to be nice but we were both extremely impressed with what we saw.

We started out at the top of the bluff and hiked clockwise around the two loops. You are immediately greeted with a gorgeous view of the rocks and a beautiful farm as you look southwest towards the Rockies and Pike Peak.Castlewood Canyon State Park

I had heard from some friends that there was a dam in the area that had collapsed in the past and we found out that it was here. The dam broke and flooded the area to the north of the park into Franktown. The dam broke in 1933 and you can read about it in the Colorado Encyclopedia. It was called the Castlewood Dam.

Here are several pictures of the dam today and some chunks that were washed downstream.

Castlewood Dam Looking North

Castlewood Dam Looking SWCastlewood Dam Looking WestHere’s a look at the carved out walls of the canyon downstream of the dam.

Castlewood Dam Carved Out Walls DownstreamHere’s a large chuck of the dam that was washed downstream. It looked to be at least 20 feet high and as wide as it was tall.Chunk of Castlewood Dam Downstream

Let’s get back to the beautiful trail.

Downstream of the dam, the trail winds along a creek and in and out of beautiful trees.

Castlewood CanyonThere are so many interesting rocks and formations in the canyon.

Castlewood Canyon Rock FormationsSoon we came to the north side of the Castlewood Canyon State Park that opens up and looks north towards Franktown.Castlewood Canyon Looking Towards FranktownWe then started heading back up to the top of the canyon and started running into different stunning scenery.

Castlewood Canyon Rock StairsThe view from the top of the canyon, looking West and Southwest was gorgeous and we later came to find out that many people use this area for climbing.

Castlewood Canyon Rock Walls

Castlewood Canyon Rock Walls

Castlewood Canyon Rock Walls

The trail started winding it’s way back to the trailhead but not before we reached a steep part that took our breath away a little.

Castlewood Canyon

Castlewood Canyon

Trail Recommendations

As always, pictures do not do the Castlewood Canyon State Park justice. This park is close to Denver and the hike is mostly easy so it’s a great place to bring your family and friends, especially if they are from out of town and not use to the elevation in Colorado.

You can enjoy a video of my hike Castlewood Canyon State Park by Clicking Here.

Please leave a Comment Below or Email me if you have any questions or would like to share your experience with this area.

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Inner Canyon Loop Trail

7

Scenic Drive

6.0/10

Accessibility

10.0/10

Mountain Views

3.0/10

Lake or Stream Views

8.0/10

Well Maintained Trails

8.0/10

Pros

  • Easy Access
  • Beautiful Canyon
  • Castlewood Dam
  • Incredible Rock Formations
  • Waterfalls

Cons

  • State Park $8

4 thoughts on “Hiking Trails in Colorado | Inner Canyon Loop Trail”

  1. Hello Rick,

    This article is amazing. I like how you described everything from your personal experiences rather than just sticking to information we gather by reading articles about Inner Canyon Loop trail. Since I have never visited Colorado before, I don’t know how the canyon looks to real eye. But the pictures you have posted are really beautiful with all the blue sky’s and natural sceneries of rocky mountains. Castlewood Canyon State Park seems truly beautiful and refreshing.

    Thanks for writing this interesting article Rick. Where are you planning to go next?

    Reply
    • I am planning on visiting all of Colorado and also Wyoming, Utah, Montana and Idaho. But more specifically, I am planning on a hike up at “Chief Mountain Trail” near Mount Evans just west of Evergreen, Colorado. The trail is only 3.1 miles long, out and back, but starts at an elevation of 10,729 and peaks out at about 11,711 feet in elevation. After that, I will probably hike the “Mason Creek and Staunton Ranch Trail Loop” in the Staunton State Park, just west of Conifer, Colorado.

      Thanks for the question and let me know if you have some great trail that you like.

      Rick

      Reply
  2. So, you are not far from Denver, but it looks like you are in the middle of nowhere with this hiking trail in Colorado. What a scenery and space you guys have in your country. Something we do not have in the Netherlands where I was borne. How about wild life, is there any and do you need to be on the look-out for bears? In the winters it can get very cold over there, so is this hike only for spring/summer time? As you mention Castlewood is a state park, does it mean that it will be preserved like this?

    Reply
    • Hi Jerry. It snowed today in Denver and it’s the middle of October, but it will be sunny and warm for the next week so hiking in the area is fine until we get a big snow and gets a lot colder. I have seen a lot of people hike during the winter but it’s best to take show shoes along with you.

      There is a lot of wildlife all over Colorado and I videoed about 20 turkeys at the park on this visit.

      There are definitely bears, deer, elk, moose, mountain lions and more here but I have only see one bear but have nearly run into several elk in the evenings up in the mountains.

      Most people hike in the summer and early fall as the high elevations will be impassable until later in the spring or early summer, but I’m talking about 13,000 or 14,000 feet in elevation.

      Thanks for the great questions.

      Rick

      Reply

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