East Castlewood Canyon Trail, Franktown CO hiked 5/26/14


Starting Elevation: 6604 ft

Highest Elevation: 6653 Ft ( there is some up and down overall I think we climbed maybe 400 ft total)

Trail Length: 4 Miles from the trailhead but we had to park a mile away so we hiked 6 miles total.

Trail Uses: Hiker Only

Degree of Difficulty: Easy

Fees: $7 a day

Bathrooms: There are bathrooms at the visitor center and some of the parking lots.

Pets: Dogs are allowed in the park on leash but on this particular trail NO dogs at all are allowed because of the fragile ecology of the trail.


The best part of a 3 day weekend is that it means 2 hikes over the course of the weekend is guaranteed. This was our 3rd walk of the weekend and strangely my heels had been chewed up worse than I thought on the previous 2 walks.  I needed something easy and had learned that Castlewood Canyon State Park had recently re-opened the East Canyon Hike it was rated as easy as well as one of the longer hikes in the Park.  I think everyone in Colorado decided Castlewood Canyon State Park was the place to go on Memorial Day, when we drove into the park the first 2 parking lots were full so we drove on to the 3rd one which was huge but filling up fast.  Besides the droves of people getting some good outdoor activity in, we were now a mile away from the trail I wanted to hit.

The trail from the car to the trailhead was paved
The trail from the car to the trailhead was paved

I am going to be honest, putting on shoes was tough with my blisters… walking on pavement was even harder.  The mile to the trailhead wasn’t too bad but I was trying to ignore how bad my feet were hurting, so far so good….


The best place to park for this hike is the very first parking lot upon entry into the park from Route 83.  We actually walked right past this sign but when we saw a park volunteer he told us to go off the pavement and look for cairns these would take us through the path.

Looking for cairns
Looking for cairns

This hike turned into a treasure hunt at this point, as the majority of the trail was over huge boulders so we were just looking for cairns the whole time.  I have to tell you it was pretty fun, the geology of this place was totally different then what we were used to and so beautiful!  I have done other trails in this State Park but this one is so much fun!  I mean like I wish I had some kids with me fun.   After cairn hunting for a short period the trail goes under Route 83.

Cairn hunting
Cairn hunting
Going under Route 83
Going under Route 83
All the way under route 83
All the way under route 83

Then back to the treasure hunt.  Slowly we made our way down into the canyon where we hit water – slowly not because the treasure hunt was hard but because my heels were in really terrible shape already.

Creek crossing
Creek crossing
Views while crossing the creek
Views while crossing the creek
Other side of the creek
Other side of the creek

After this low point we started climbing again but not very much, we turned a corner and there were these awesome pools with some fun rock jumping…..again perfect for kids.


It is not far from here that we hit the 1.14 mile loop and all we could talk about was who kids could we take here?

thru canyon

The loop itself was unremarkable and strangely empty of much traffic.  We did get some amazing views of Pikes Peak and all of the front range, plus there were lots of flowers, lizards and an array of butterflies.  That doesn’t even cover all the birds we saw.

Trail loop conditions
Trail loop conditions

All in all it was a fun trail, perfect for a short easy hike when your feet are in trouble.  I think it would be a great place to take kids for a million reasons but mostly because the whole time I was thinking I would have loved this as a kid.  As an adult it was beautiful and fun, bringing me back to those days when I would explore the creek behind a school as a kid.  It is really exposed and so meant more for spring, fall or winter, I would never do this one in the summer unless it was the end of the day or the very beginning.

In the end I had to take off my shoes and walk in my socks the blisters were so bad but I pushed it to the paved part and as close to the parking lot as I could.  I hate blisters and really I am not sure how I got back here but it was a bad place to be after years of hiking every weekend.  We did the whole 6 miles in just 2 hours which is right for easy and had my feet been in better condition we would have moved faster.

This State Park is really beautiful, not just because of the canyon but because of the endless views, beautiful flowers, adventurous trails and fun discovery.  I may not come out here often as I am currently addicted to summit views, but I will for sure brings lots of friends and families here because it is FUN!

Directions: To reach the main entrance of Castlewood Canyon State Park, take I-25 to Castle Rock, exit onto Founders Parkway eastbound. Take Founders Parkway to Hwy 86, go east on Hwy 86 four miles to Franktown. Turn South on Hwy 83 (S. Parker Rd) and go five miles south to the main park entrance.

flowers flowers 2 pikes peak lizards


Published by hikingtohealthy

an enthusiastic hiker living in Colorado.

15 thoughts on “East Castlewood Canyon Trail, Franktown CO hiked 5/26/14

  1. You were almost in my backyard. I live in Franktown and this is my favorite place because it is so close. Looks like you enjoyed it.

  2. I winced at you having to put your shoes on over blisters. This was me on Thursday.
    On Monday, during my training hike, I tested out new hiking shoes (6.8 mile trail; 1100′ elev gain) and wound up with massive blisters on my heels. I drained them and went on a shorter training hike the next day (3.2 miles, 1,000′ elev gain). One blister re-filled up, the other stayed drained.

    then on Thursday (grand canyon hiking day) – I put blister bandaids on, then larger bandaids over the entire area. 19.43 miles later, it wasn’t pretty… the bandaids had moved, but were so sticky that they were dragging skin with them. So gross. so painful. 😦

    Your pics are awesome! What a lovely trail, Kathy!

    1. Ugh! I completely feel your pain and don’t know how you made it that far! I have always struggled with blisters my whole life no matter how great the shoes are or how well I am fitted and all the fun remedies have never worked for me so I just have to push through til it all stops happening. I am so sad I am back at this place.
      I will get past it though, I always do!
      I hope you are healing well!

      1. Way better than I was 7 days ago! I put running shoes on yesterday (first time in 6 days) and hit the gym for Stairmaster and other stuff. The heels held up well. No new damage. Fingers crossed it’s smooth sailing from here.

  3. Have you tried Compeed for blisters? A fellow walker shared some with me on a long walk…worked like magic. I think it’s only available, retail, in the UK, but I order mine through Amazon. It seems to have a healing gel which maybe provides some insulation. Really a fine product. It’s always in my pack, along with my beloved Cytomax 🙂

    1. I have to try it! I have tried everything under the sun and I am also challenged by being allergic to latex… most bandaids rip off my skin so I have that going for me too. Thanks for the tip!!!

  4. Blisters are never fun – but sometimes it’s down to foot-wear. For most of last year I used Scarpa Activ-SL boots – which are supposed to be top-of-the-range-boots. These continually gave me blisters, even when wearing protective plasters.

    This year I switched to a pair of Salomon 4d’s and haven’t looked back. On the last 4+1 day walk in Scotland’s Cairngorms I finished with no blisters! And that was without using any protective plasters. I guess this says a lot about the footwear and whether it suits your feet!

    1. Great advice Rob, I have tried all sorts of fittings the shoes I have now have been the best I have ever used – Keen targahee II- but this last pair I got in combination with the lack of climbing due to snowshoeing this spring has really taken me out. I am doing extra conditioning this week in hopes this weekend won’t be as bad.
      I am sadly allergic to Latex and you would be surprised how often it appears in blister aids…
      I will check out those salomons though, thank you!!!

  5. Keens are notoriously bad for blisters. I know we all have our favorite brands, but at the end of the day, it goes back to how the shoe is manufactured, insulated, how the padding is fixed and what kind of seams the shoe has. Socks seams also play an important part and care should be taken to purchase the right socks. Salomons, Merrells and LaSportivas footwear all enjoy superior manufacturing. The proper shoes is the key, not inserts or gels or anything that can move, causing more friction and more blisters. Sweating will cause more damage, as well. If your feet sweat more than the average, put on 2 pairs of socks, one liner layer being very tight-fitting to avoid friction and movement.

    Blisters can also be caused by poor hiking/stepping technique. You might want to review your stride: do blisters occur when you go uphill? Do you practice the rest step or go uphill by putting most of your weight on your toes and the ball of your feet?

    Do you take a break from hiking once on a while to allow your feet to rest and your blisters to heal properly? Beware of not going from one addiction to another. Hiking can be addictive but obviously can also be damaging to your body. Let your feet rest for a couple of week-ends and ride your bike as a means to get some exercise that will allow your feet to COMPLETELY recover.

    1. You have a lot great advice in here, thank you so much!
      Unfortunately Keens have been the best option for me – merrells and Salomens tear up my feet even worse and never stop tearing them up but I have not tried LaSportivas. I will need to look into them.

      The 2 layers of socks – 1 this and tight- make the blisters hit in between my toes as well and happen faster.
      I have noticed my stride has recently changed and I was trying to get back to my normal stride this past weekend which I think did help but not enough. I am not sure exactly what I am doing but I have started having my husband walk behind me to watch. I am hoping I can nail it down. I think you might be right about how I am climbing…

      Taking a break doesn’t help, it just makes starting up mean starting all over again. I think this recent outbreak is a result of all of our snowshoeing and no climbing. They happen both climbing and descending.
      Blisters have been a life long problem for me and I have spent a great deal of money getting the proper fit, having my gait analyzed to see what I am doing wrong only to still have to deal with blisters.
      My Keens have been the best fit with the least amount blisters I have had in my adult life but I am worried that this latest pair may be different in combination with my not hardened up heels.
      Thank you again for this great advice you have given me a lot to work with!

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