Mount Falcon Park
This challenging hike isn’t short on elevation gain; however, this trail through the Colorado woods does boast some “castle” ruins. We like to think this walk is fit to please the explorer and the history buff in all of us!
From Denver, take I-70 west, exit at C-470 east. Take the exit for Morrison (exit 4) and head west for about 1.6km. At Highway 8, make a left, heading south to Forest Ave and turn right, heading west. Make a right on Vine Street and follow it until it dead ends into the Mount Falcon Park parking lot.
|When to do|
Pit toilets at each side
This beautiful, but challenging hike takes you up a steep trail but rewards you with amazing views and historical ruins of the old Walker Ranch built by entrepreneur John Brisben Walker in the early 1900’s. You can enjoy this park in two different ways. Park on the west side for an easy hike to the ruins or to get a good heart-pumping, leg-burning work-out, park – as described above – on the eastern side. Add on the Parmalee loop for beautiful vistas and a walk through nature for a full adventure.
From the trailhead, head west, directly toward the hills. At the trail split, stay left on the Castle Trail (the Turkey Trot Trail goes to the same place, but is more exposed to the sun). You’ll climb up right away into a series of switchbacks for 4.0km until you reach the top. While you’re climbing, be sure to look north at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater and turn around to the east to see views of Denver.
There is a pavilion with a picnic bench for resting at the top but, to keep hiking, stay on the main, wider trail, which is still The Castle Trail.
To the right is a hike to a scenic overlook, the Walker’s Dream Trail, and the spot where Walker wanted to build the Summer White House. An old block of white marble marks the spot. To the left is Two Dogs Trail, another summit trail that overlooks the views to the south.
The trail widens as it passes the Walker home ruins and continues for another mile through an open meadow. You can’t walk through the ruins, but you can walk around and see what was once a beautiful, hill top mansion.
Just as you’re about to reach the eastern parking lot, look for the signs to Parmalee Loop on the left. You’ll see a Parmalee Trail sign to the northeast, but you want the loop. The loop is to your left and sometimes is easy to miss. This trail adds another couple of miles and is a bit more technical with loose footing. You descend into the forest and valley before you hike back up to the meadow.
The Parmalee Loop will connect to the Meadow trail at 9.7km where you’ll take a right, heading east (if you were to go left, there’s a trail called Tower Trail that is to the summit of the namesake, Mt. Falcon). After turning right, a 0.2km later you’ll find another intersection. Take a left, staying on the Meadow Trail. To the right is Old Ute Trail.
This will spit you back out on the Castle Trail where you’ll take a right, heading back to the east and back down the switchbacks you came up.
TAs with any trail, practice Leave No Trace and walk through the mud or snow. This trail can get very muddy in the wet season. Walking through the mud limits your impact on the environment around you.
To still see the Walker Home Ruins with only a 3.2km round trip hike, park on the western side of the park.
More info on John Brisben Walker can be found here.
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