Castlewood Canyon State Park, Franktown

#50 of 255 in Nature in Colorado
Castlewood Canyon State Park is a Colorado state park near Franktown, Colorado. The park retains a unique part of Colorado's history, the remains of Castlewood Canyon Dam. Visitors can still see the remnants and damage from that dam which burst in 1933. The event sent a 15ft wave of water all the way to downtown Denver resulting in a flood. Also contained within the park is the historic Cherry Creek Bridge.
This park hosts a multitude of hiking/running trails, handicapped access trails and rock climbing opportunities, as well as a nature preservation area on the eastern side that is home to wildlife and interesting geological features. Located within the northernmost extension of the Black Forest, Castle Wood Canyon encompasses 2136acre with elevations ranging from 6,200 to 6600ft. Many urban dwellers come for the picnic opportunity away from the city (group picnic facilities can be reserved), others visit the park because of the unusual geology, particularly the caprock features.
Among the many species living in the park are coyote, cottontail rabbit, red fox, black bear, prairie rattlesnake, mountain lion, meadow jumping mouse, turkey vulture, golden eagle, prairie falcon, virile crayfish, Woodhouse's toad and the northern leopard frog.
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Castlewood Canyon State Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
184 reviews
  • Canyons and streams and an old dam make for very interesting hiking. One of many Colorado State Parks that make the annual park pass well worth the money. After hiking then on to Castle Cafe for pan f...  more »
  • The canyon was very pretty with a few inches of snow that had fallen the day before. Good choice of short to medium walks and not too busy (well not in January anyway). The history of the dam that bur...  more »
  • First time here. If you have any interest in geology, native vegetation, birds and birdsong; then this place should be on your list of places to visit. Absolutely gorgeous. Cherry Creek flows at canyons base, and has cut a deep gulch. Waterfalls, caves, damn ruins, old homestead and natural rock bridges. There are several short, easy hiking trails and a more challenging 2 mile hike through the inner canyon. Photographers, birdwatchers, amateur geologist will not be disappointed with this trip.
  • The park is a relatively short drive from Denver and is easily accessible. There are two main loop trails, each about 3 miles or so and with moderate level of difficulty, that take you through the inner canyon. Nice hike, although not as scenic as most other mountainous state parks in Colorado. If you're not interested in the canyon trails you can stay on the main paved trail that starts from the parking lot and loops around. It's pretty short and easy to hike, and has a few observation points where you can view the canyon from above.

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Side trips from Franktown

Duration: 3​h
Duration: 3​h 30​min