Eldorado Canyon State Park
is west of Eldorado Springs, Colorado and is close to both Boulder and Denver.
Primary activities include include hiking, mountain biking
, and hiking with dogs
but not horseback riding. There were no restrooms or water near the parking lot and cell phone service was weak. A Colorado State Parks day or annual pass is required to enter the park. We parked in a lot just south of Supremacy Rock (i.e., see map below) at an elevation around 6,100 feet.
Rattlesnake Gulch Trail
The Rattlesnake Gulch Trail is moderately difficult for hiking. It is too narrow for off-roading vehicles but wide enough for mountain biking. In addition, this park is host to serious rock climbers that can been seen climbing high in canyon.
Most the trail is unshaded but there are a few stretches where forest canopy provides relief from the sun.
It is a 1.4 mile hike to the Crags Hotel Ruin which is located 700 feet above the parking lot. The Crags Hotel burned down in 1912 and was previously a destination for singing, dancing, and poker playing. In 1908, a $1 bought you a round trip ticket from Denver to Crags Hotel. The ruin in the following picture used to be a baking oven with ceramic dinner plates on the floor.
The continental divide overlook is about 1,000 feet above the parking lot and an additional 0.2 miles from the Crags Hotel Ruin. Total hiking time to the continental divide overlook was one hour. The overlook provides a nice park bench for eating lunch and a view to the east of south Boulder. The best part about the overlook is the sound of the wind going through the trees. Specifically, it sounds like you are listening to the roar of the ocean while standing on a sandy beach.
The view of the continental divide is barely seen because it is obstructed by trees and the overlook is not quite high enough to provide a panoramic view.
In sum, this is a great hike that can be completed in a short amount of time and, thus, can be a good option for a family and/or dog hike on a warm summer evening after work. Other trails nearby include: