Area in and near Elbert County rich in hiking trails

Colorado offers much more than mountains

When you think of hiking in Colorado, panoramic views of the snow-capped Rocky Mountain peaks probably come to mind. While there’s no argument on the beauty of that view, you don’t need to venture that far from Elbert County for inspiring sights. There are numerous hiking trails much closer to home that offer stunning views and peaceful scenery.
The first on the list is right in Elizabeth within Casey Jones Park. This soft-surface trail, which is approximately 1.3 miles in length, weaves through tall pines in the northern portion of the park and can be accessed from the north end of the baseball fields. The trail can be used for walking, running, biking and horseback riding.
Also close to home are Bayou Gulch Open Space and Two Bridges Trail. Both are located just west of Elizabeth on Bayou Gulch Road and have connections to the Cherry Creek Trail. These trails are both popular for horseback riding and mountain bikes.
If you are looking for a little more elevation change, head to Franktown and check out the many trails at Castlewood Canyon State Park. With trails that follow Cherry Creek and ones that traverse the rocky terrain up and down the canyon, there is a wide variety of intensity levels and scenery from which to choose. Local history is also available with views of the ruins of the Cherry Creek Dam that burst in 1933. You’ll need to utilize your state parks pass or purchase daily admission to enjoy this park.
Other options close to Franktown include Hidden Mesa Open Space and Gateway Mesa Open Space. These both are managed by the Town of Castle Rock and have multiple trail options depending on the length of hike you’re looking for. Both the Town of Castle Rock and the Town of Parker manage numerous open space areas that have ample hiking opportunities. Specific trails and their locations can be found by visiting either or
Spruce Mountain Open Space, located in Larkspur, offers 8.5 miles of trails, stunning views and this time of year is especially good for wildflowers. Sandstone Ranch Open Space, also located in Larkspur, provides unique and diverse landscapes including red rock formations and large meadows with 12 miles of trails. Additionally, visitors can view a number of historic ranch buildings, dating back to the original owners in the 1870s. Dawson Butte Ranch Open Space is another area in Larkspur with close to eight miles of trails to explore. Visitors will travel through open meadows with views of the Front Range as well as forested areas.
Homestead Ranch Regional Park is located east of Black Forest and provides two hiking loops to choose from. The eastern loop travels through an open meadow and boasts a view of Pikes Peak. The western loop takes hikers to the top of the bluffs. Additional trails to check out around this area include Limbach Park, Double Eagle Trail, Woodlake Trail, Red Rock Canyon Open Space, Austin Bluffs Open Space, Lincoln Mountain and Greenland Open Space.
If you are looking for a truly unique hiking experience, you’ll want to explore the Paint Mines Interpretive Park near Calhan, which sits on about 750 acres. This unique area features incredible and colorful geological formations. The bands of vibrant color seen in each layer of clay are caused by iron compounds that have been oxidized. This location contains evidence of human life dating back 9,000 years.
This, of course, is not an all-encompassing list of the many hiking opportunities we have around us. In Colorado, there are close to 40,000 miles of hiking trails, many of which are closer to home than we may realize.
A great resource, if you are looking for hiking trails, is Colorado Trail Explorer (COTREX). This app can be downloaded on Apple or Android devices, is a partnership between Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Natural Atlas, and provides the most comprehensive trail maps for the state of Colorado.
Casey Jones Park, Elizabeth, Bayou Gulch Open Space, Two Bridges Trail, Castlewood Canyon, Hidden Mesa, Gateway Mesa, Spruce Mountain, Dawson Butte, Homestead Ranch, Limbach Park, Double Eagle Trail, Woodlake Trail, Red Rock Canyon, Austin Bluffs, Lincoln Mountain, Greenland Open Space, Paint Mines Interpretive Park


Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.