- Hike Distance: 2.5 to 4 miles approx (RT)
- Denver Drive Time: 45 min
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Duration: 1.5-2.5 hrs
- Activities: Picnic Areas, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Rock Climbing
- Dogs: Allowed on Leash
If your legs are ready to gain some quick elevation
to some rewarding views, the Rattlesnake Gulch trail will give you just that. This trail starts at the west trailhead of the Fowler Trail about 1/2 a mile into Eldorado Canyon. The hike first takes you about 1.2 miles to the site of the Crags Hotel. The hotel was built in 1908 and visitors could reach it by taking an incline railroad and by an old wagon trail. In 1912, the hotel burnt to the ground, and just a few ruins remain. The parks department has put up interpretive signs to give you an idea of what the site was like in the early 1900′s.
If you continue past the Crags Hotel site, you can add on an additional 1.4 miles by hiking the Rattlesnake Gulch Loop. A spur along the trail takes you to the Continental Divide overlook, where you can look out to the plains and towards a few peaks to the west. If you don’t want to hike the entire loop, but you want to catch the view from the overlook, take the trail to the right after the hotel site and hike about 10 more minutes. See the map link above for the exact location of the spur that leads to the overlook.
The picture above is looking northeast towards the Cadillac Rock area. If you take a pair of binoculars, scan the formation for rock-climbers. Eldorado Canyon makes for some great Denver area hiking. It’s one of those places with so many unique features, that you’ll find yourself drawn back there time and time again.
Note: Exact trail lengths are approximate until we can GPS this one. We’ve noticed discrepancies on maps and reports. So, be sure to add some buffer time on to this hike.
- Parking fills up fast at Eldorado Canyon. So, we suggest you go early in the day, or as the crowds are filtering out of the park in the late afternoon. As well, you’ll find weekdays less crowed. Eldorado Canyon is open from sunrise to sunset year round.
- Use the driving directions above. They will lead you to the nearest parking area.
- As we mentioned above, trail lengths are approximate, so add some buffer time to your hike.