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    Dark Canyon, Irwin, and Dyke Loop Trail

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    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.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    9.5 km
    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.
    450 m
    User Ratings
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    Directions to Trailhead

    The Dark Canyon, Irwin, and Dykle Loop Trail is an exceptional excursion in the Elk Mountains of Colorado that will produce stunning views of the surrounding mountain landscape. While out hiking the trail, you will climb uphill through the forest across some rugged mountain terrain, enjoying lovely views of the surrounding landscape through the intermittent breaks in the aspen trees. You will certainly want to wear proper hiking boots, preferably a waterproof paor, as the terrain here is fairly rugged and often muddy.

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    Route Description for Dark Canyon, Irwin, and Dyke Loop Trail

    Featuring some absolutely breathtaking forests and incredible peekaboo views through the breaks in the tree cover, the Dark Canyon, Irwin, and Dyke Loop is a great intermediate length hiking route that can be enjoyed by seasoned adventurers and casual hikers looking to push themselves with a moderate elevation gain.

    Setting out from the parking area, you will leave Horse Ranch Park behind and make your way to the north, traversing the undulating landscape of the mountains as you pass through some lovely stretches of forest. Views along this trail will be dispersed throughout and will come largely during breaks in the tree cover, so be prepared to take a few breaks in order to take in the full majesty of the Elk Mountains.

    Continuing to climb uphill further into the mountains, you will pass by a series of small ponds before crossing over the waters of Dyke Creek. A bit further up the trail to the northeast, you will come to a junction with the Irwin Trail, at which point, you will make a sharp right to begin the return leg of the hike. After crossing back over Dyke Creek, you will continue across the rugged mountain landscape and begin your descent through the forest on the return into the trailhead.

    Getting to the Dark Canyon, Irwin, and Dyke Loop Trail Trailhead

    The trailhead for the Dark Canyon, Irwin, and Dyke Loop Trail can be found at Horse Ranch Park along CR12.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground


    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type


    Dark Canyon, Irwin, and Dyke Loop Trail Elevation Graph

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    Dark Canyon, Irwin, and Dyke Loop Trail Reviews

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