Inner Canyon Loop Trail

MODERATE 270 reviews

Inner Canyon Loop Trail is a 5.8 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Franktown, Colorado that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 5.8 miles Elevation Gain: 695 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

partially paved

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

fee

Where Denver's Cherry Creek Ran Wild The headwaters of Cherry Creek lie in the low hill country about 35 miles south of Denver. The creek is an important source of water for the farms and ranches between Castlerock and Denver, and eventually flows into the Cherry Creek Reservoir on Denver's east side. One hundred twenty years ago, in 1890, local farmers arranged to have a dam built across the creek for irrigation purposes. On 3 August 1933, the dam broke, sending a 15 ft high wall of water into downtown Denver. Thanks to Elsie Henderson's quick action many lives were saved, as people responded to her telephone call and pulled their families out of the torrent's path. Today Castlewood Canyon State Park contains the ruins of that old dam and offers you the opportunity to hike along the banks of the river. The main park entrance is off of Hwy 83 about 30 miles north of Colorado Springs. You can also reach it by driving south from Denver on the same highway, or east from Castlerock on Plum Creek Pkwy, connecting with South Lake Gulch Rd, then north on Hwy 85. The park is open from 0800 - 1700 daily; entrance fee is $6/car. While there are about 12 miles of hiking trails in the park, I've loaded a 6 mile long hike that takes you from the Lake Gulch trailhead in a figure eight loop track. The track begins by dropping down to the shore of what was formerly the lake created by the dam. Then it crosses Cherry Creek just south of the dam and follows the Rimrock Trail up the east side of the canyon. At the north end of the canyon, the trail drops down to the creek bed and returns south along Creek Bottom Trail. After the trail crosses the creek again, you'll return to the trailhead via Inner Canyon Trail along the north side of the creek. Dogs are allowed in this part of the park on a leash. The trail is great for kids with lots of opportunities to climb around on the rocks in the upper part of the creek (Inner Canyon Trail). Entry fee.

hiking
10 hours ago

Entry level hike which means the views aren’t the best but overall a nice one.

recorded Inner Canyon Loop Trail

hiking
rocky
1 day ago

hiking
bugs
rocky
19 days ago

Awesome hike! Loved climbing on the rocks & seeing the falls. Lots of mosquitos as the brush he thicker towards the dam - I recommend fast walking or ensuring you've got some repellant on.

hiking
1 month ago

Really enjoyed this loop trail as it started in the canyon by the creek then around the top rim. Several different terrains from creek bottom to rocky top of the rim along with packed dirt and some sandy areas closer to the dam. Very scenic and was able to take many pictures of the rock formations, waterfall in the canyon, the dam and of the valley. Great trail, fairly busy closer to the trailhead but thinned out the further you hiked.

hiking
1 month ago

Very nice trail. Gets steep at points buys very doable and recommend for a intermediate hiker looking to get out

hiking
bugs
muddy
no shade
1 month ago

More than a few places with no shade

hiking
2 months ago

Lower traffic than one might expect for a summer Friday. Good easy hike relatively close to the city with an attractive landscape, but there are better options around Denver.

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing and beautiful trail with some boulder climbing and creek crossing...gorgeous view of the prairie and rock formations...easy enough for my 3year old!

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike with the littles! 6 and 1 year old kiddos were just fine and adventurous during this sight seeing hike. Loved it. 6 year old got some cool pics to share with his kindergarten class, which is currently studying trees.

4 months ago

beautiful hike. weather was fantastic. my dogs love the water access. unfortunately some people don't thing they need to pack their dogs waste out. bagging it and leaving on the trail....not cool!

hiking
4 months ago

Great easy trail!!

4 months ago

nice escape so close to town.

hiking
no shade
4 months ago

This is a compilation of Lake Gulch, Rim Rock, Creek Bottom and Inner Gulch trails. It’s almost exactly 6 miles. I would rate it as moderate with occasions to step gently over rocks. Went trail running and pretty solid for that option. Small waterfall; cliff; birds soaring; turkeys...not soaring; creek bottom; trees. Beautiful!

hiking
5 months ago

Went a few days ago. Ice and mud in a few spots. Nice get away without the hassle of driving to the mountains and associated traffic. Great for leashed dogs. The view of the old damn was interesting and made for a few nice pics. Appreciated the views along the top of the ridges which provided great views and nice hawk watching. Mixture of shade, sun, flat and hilly. Not real challenging but fun. I’ll do this one again.

hiking
muddy
rocky
5 months ago

This run was a compilation of multiple trails that included flat gravel, rocks, rock steps, top of cliff, creek. It was amazing but ensure you have app with you so you don’t take a wrong turn. Will do again.

recorded Inner Canyon Loop Trail

hiking
muddy
6 months ago

8 months ago

Love the creek and all the rocks!

hiking
9 months ago

I live nearby in castle rock. This is one of my favorite hikes in the area. I last hiked this in mid October. I would caution anyone considering this hike to watch out for rattlesnakes. 2 of the 3 times I’ve hiked this I found fairly large rattle snakes sunning themselves on side of trail. If I wasn’t specifically looking for them I probably would have walked right by without noticing. I always bring hiking poles just in case.

hiking
9 months ago

East Canyon Preservation Trail was temporarily closed, so decided to do this one instead. This trail was more like 6.5 miles. This was the best trail out of all the trails at Castlewood Canyon I've done. The entrance fee is more than $6 now, as of Nov 24.2018, unless you have an annual pass for the state park. Some part of trails were muddy and wet, also icy. Have fun! x

hiking
10 months ago

Some mud on the western side of the trail.. I like the route this took in terms of when to go uphill. Enjoyed seeing the remains of the dam. Good trail for dogs.

hiking
10 months ago

Really enjoyed this hike. Did it with my dog, Friday 11/2/18. We passed about 5-6 people in a total of 4.5 hours. We crossed wild turkeys a couple times, and lots of deer. Weather was perfect, couldn't have asked for a better day.

hiking
11 months ago

I had a lot of fun on the trail. It was moderately trafficked and spaced out enough so I still felt alone for most of the trip. For a quick escape this is a great option. Will definitely come back again

11 months ago

It was a beautiful trail. I highly recommend starting early on hot days. The top of the Rim has very little shade. Views were incredible and the waterfall was a pleasant surprise.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Wife and myself absolutely loved it

hiking
Thursday, August 30, 2018

Great hike and wonderful views. I started my hike there on Wednesday, 8/29/2018 at 1:30PM and saw 5 people the entire way, and then only on parts of the hike within a 10 minute walk from the parking lots. The trail is well-marked and maintained - the trail simply follows the canyon all the way around, either on the rim or along the bottom near the stream so you can't get lost or sidetracked if you're paying attention. The hike is more than 5.8 miles...my hike was 6.5 miles without roaming off the trails much, and the only heart pumping part is just past the dam as you ascend to the rim of the canyon for a quarter mile or so. NOTE: there is poison ivy along all parts of this trail right along the edge of the trails (poison ivy thrives on disturbance). If you are sensitized to it like I am - and have had it many times like me - then you'll notice it pretty quickly. I'm a field botanist so I was turning sideways on a few of the narrower portions of the trail because I was in shorts. If you have kids with you just be careful that they don't handle random vegetation along the trails. Overall a great hike - I'm coming back to do the eastern loop, which is a preservation area and will be of more interest to biologists and environmental types.

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