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

5.8 miles
695 feet

dogs on leash

kid friendly



nature trips


partially paved




wild flowers



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.

10 days 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.

11 days 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.

1 month 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

1 month 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.

2 months ago

Wife and myself absolutely loved it

2 months ago

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 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.

2 months ago

The scenery here was unique, and I really enjoyed the hike overall (I like loop trails where you get to see new things throughout the hike). However, the trails were packed for someone like me who typically aims for less trafficked areas, the route was hard to keep track of due to lots of little offshoots, and I was surprised by how many large rocks there were to get over given that the trail is rated easy (my knees won't thank me tomorrow!).

horseback riding
3 months ago

Hiking only; mountain bikes and horses are not permitted; dogs on leash O.K. It is a beautiful place.

5 months ago

Lovely trail - fabulous for any time of year. Did this in the winter. Great views of the entire park. Quite manageable and well-maintained trail. Would definitely do again.

6 months ago

Cool hike, saw 5 Rattlesnakes on the trail and one guy got bit. The park ranger said one person gets bit a year so we should be good. The snakes were on a very narrow trail so it was tricky getting by but they let us through. Tons of people going in both directions

6 months ago

Great hike! Beautiful views, peaceful, fun rocks to climb. We did this with me using an infant carrier and with our three year old. He rocked this trail. Definitely would do this again. We went on a Wednesday so not very crowded maybe saw a dozen people.

7 months ago

This is a great hike. Easy, clearly marked trails. Would be great for kiddos. I took a ton of pictures. I really like to hike by water so this was great for me.

7 months ago

Sections of the trail today were really MUDDY! Overall, though, great hike and Rim Rock views are beautiful! I love that this is so close to the metro area! We have such a treasure in this park!

7 months ago

$7 for a day pass but there are miles and miles of trails ! We did a 6.5 mile loop (many trails connect and loop to each other). Pretty creek in the canyon . Trails along the creek at the canyon bottom and rim trail along the edge of the canyon . Old dam you can hike to as well! Many nice lookouts . Enjoyable hike . Playground for kids near parking area. Some restroom. Dog friendly and rock climbing areas too.

9 months ago

always a lovely hike!

9 months ago

Very nice hike. Some snow pack this time of year.

10 months ago

A good trail for a quick hike. Can get a bit crowded after lunch. The river water is clean and wind is minimal.

11 months ago

Fantastic hike when you are looking to get out during the winter months!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Nice little afternoon hike. However, it was too crowded. If I hike this again it won't be on a weekend.

Monday, July 17, 2017

First real hike me and my husband did in CO. Great scenery. Loved it.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Monday, June 26, 2017

love this hike. great scenics. pretty flat unless hiking up to rim. pretty populated. and dogs, lots of dogs.

Monday, June 12, 2017

One of my favorite local spots, beautiful year around. Watch out for rattle snakes and you will be fine. Pretty ease and downhill for the most part of the trial. Amazing views, not many people after 5 pm. Must do if you are near by.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Perfect trail for beginners and families. Go early as the trail gets very hot. Nice views of the canyon and the little creek running through it.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

This trail was a delightful surprise. Didn't know what I'd find at CW but took a chance and was as I said, delighted and surprised! A solid hike but with beautiful views and magical glens and pools. Going back soon....

Monday, May 15, 2017

I would say moderate trails as there was so much climbing on rocks... but overall a great hike. We started in L then G. Came back on G joined K and ended in Canyon point parking lot. It was 6 miles. Took my 10 year old.

We went on a 75 degree day. Definitely not fir a summer hike. No shade. Take lots of water. There is a creek that you walk by.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Start any of several trailheads on the north end of the park. This loop follows the creek, past the ruined dam (dam that's big) and along the cliff edge. I would suggest going north to south on the cliff trail - that way you have pretty much constant views of Pikes Peak.

This trail would be VERY hot in the summer months - and not a lot of shade. Better as a spring or fall trip.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Great winter hike. Didn't have to be worried about rattlesnakes they don't come until April. This is the trail you have to take to complete the Lake Gulch Loop.

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