Lair o’ the Bear Park

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
3-4h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
11.6 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
335 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
9.5
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Panorama from the Lair o' the Bear Park hike near Denver, Colorado

The perfect example of a Colorado trail, Lair o’ the Bear Park provides a great hike through the forest and beautiful views of the snow-capped peaks. This walk also holds a secret: views of the beautifully restored Dunafon Castle!

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Route Description for Lair o’ the Bear Park

The Lair of the Bear out and back trail follows the river for the first mile and then climbs into the hills ending at the top, at Panorama Point, for panoramic views of Evergreen and the 14ers (mountains over 4,267 m) overlooking the skyline.

From the parking lot, head west along the river on Bear Creek Trail. You’ll stay on the main trail for a 2.0 km. Although you are hiking below the highway, you can’t tell there are any cars, as the river drowns out the noise. Lining the trail—along with the river—are pine and aspen trees; but pay close attention, you might catch a glimpse of a secret castle! The Dunafon Castle is tucked away from the highway, but from the trail you can see the restored palace for all of its beauty.

After about a 2.0 km, you make a sharp left, almost a U-turn, staying on the Bear Creek Trail heading into the forest as you start your incline. If you were to continue straight, you would reach another small trailhead and picnic area. There are no other trail junctures until the turnoff for Panorama Point.

When you reach the Panorama Point Trail at 5.2 km, hang a left at the clearly marked sign. The remaining half-mile to Panorama Point is steep, but it’s worth it. After you take in the view, head back exactly the way you came, mirroring your path.

Check out some other great hikes around Denver:

Insider Hints for Lair o’ the Bear Park

  • Lair o’ Bear park and all its connecting parks is expansive. Since a lot of the trails are point to point, know where you’re hiking to and where you started. Pay mind to all trail signs as you hike.
  • To still reach Panoramic Point without all the miles try the 4.5 km trail from the Corwina Park Trailhead. To get there, stay on highway 74 for a couple more miles up the canyon and you’ll see the trailhead to the left.
  • After your hike, find a river access point at the Lair o’ the Bear trailhead just south of the parking lot, take your socks and shoes off and soak your tired feet in the cold river.

Getting to the Lair o’ the Bear Park Trailhead

From Denver, take I-70 to C-470 east (exit 260), and head south to Exit 4, Morrison (Highway 74). Head west and travel 8.0 km up the canyon to the trailhead on the left clearly marked with “Lair o’ the Bear” open space.

Route Information

  • When to do

    Year round

  • Backcountry Campsites

    No

  • Toilets

    Pit toilets at trailhead

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Low

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Lair o’ the Bear Park Elevation Graph

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Lair o’ the Bear Park Reviews

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