Lair o' the Bear Park

Denver
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Lair o' the Bear Park

Distance: 11.6km
Elevation: 335m
Time: 3-5.5h

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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!

Getting there

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

About

When to do

Year round

Backcountry Campsites

No

Toilets

Pit toilets at trailhead

Family friendly

Yes

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Low

Route Type

Out and back


Elevation


Detailed Description

This 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 4267m) 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 2.0km. 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 2.0km, 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 5.2km, 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.

Insider Hints

  • 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 4.5km 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.

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