Eldorado Canyon Trail, Eldorado Canyon State Park - Walker Ranch, Boulder - Denver - Golden - Fort Collins - Lyons, Colorado
Eldorado Canyon Trail - 8.5 Miles
Eldorado Canyon State Park - Walker Ranch
Eldorado Canyon Trail
|Round-Trip Length:||8.5 Miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||6,075' - 6,930' (7,090' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+885' net elevation gain (+2,462' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
The Eldorado Canyon Trail is located at the west end of the Eldorado Canyon State Park Visitor Center parking lot.
The trail begins from the north side of the lot, methodically climbing .9 miles up a series of steep, winding switchbacks. Rising quickly up the canyon's north wall, the trail provides commanding views of the South Boulder Creek drainage and Eldorado Canyon area. The rock walls and formations above you are renowned climbing areas that attract some of the country's most accomplished athletes. These canyon walls are also home to several nesting raptor species.
After 1 mile the trail periodically eases over a series of rocky undulations, alternating quickly through dense forest and open grassy hillsides. After gaining 990' in net elevation, the trail crests on a narrow ridge with terrific views across Walker Ranch toward the Continental Divide (2.45 miles : 7,065').
From here the trail drops 570' in just .7 miles along tightly wound switchbacks to the Walker Ranch Loop connection (3.15 miles : 6,495'). Note this downhill segment may not be readily visible from the crest; look immediately to the west and downhill to find the trail (GPS provided below).
Now in Walker Ranch, the Eldorado Canyon Trail bears right on a fire road and climbs steeply (save a few brief drops) for the next 1.1 miles to its terminus at the Ethel Harrold Trailhead and Picnic Area. Be cognizant of fast-moving mountain bikers along this final segment.
GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84View these GPS points on a Google Map
- N39 55.845 W105 17.654 — Eldorado Canyon Trailhead
- N39 56.028 W105 17.570 — Rincon Wall - climbing access trail
- N39 56.603 W105 18.516 — Begin steep descent to Walker Ranch (2.45 miles)
- N39 56.532 W105 18.913 — Enter Walker Ranch - bear right on Eldorado Canyon Trail
- N39 57.335 W105 19.336 — End Eldorado Canyon Trail at Ethel Harrold Trailhead
- Did you know that Ponderosa Pine Trees have fire-resistant bark? Although the trees might appear dead, they are actually alive and will recover from any major fire in about 3-5 years.
- Mountain bikers are not allowed on the Eldorado Canyon Trail (east of Walker Ranch).
- There is a fee to enter Eldorado Canyon State Park. It ranges between $5 and $7, depending on the season. Do not park in the town of Eldorado Springs, as you will be ticketed and towed.
Camping and Backpacking Information
- This is a day use area. No camping allowed.
- Both bait and fly fishing are permitted along South Boulder Creek. The stream is periodically stocked with rainbow trout. Anglers can access the creek from the South Boulder Creek Trail (beginning at either the Crescent Meadows or South Boulder Creek Trailheads), or from the Eldorado Canyon Trail (beginning at the Ethel Harrold Trailhead off Bison Road). All Colorado state fishing regulations apply.
- Ice fishing is not permitted on any Boulder County Open Space property.
Rules and Regulations
- There's an $8 entrance fee to Eldorado Canyon State Park.
Directions from Boulder
Take Colorado 93 south from Boulder. Turn right on Colorado 170 and continue to the park entrance west of Eldorado Springs, about eight miles southwest of Boulder.
Directions from Denver
Take I-25 North to State Highway 36, West towards Boulder. Exit at "Louisville-Superior" and turn South (left) at the light. Take the first right (West) onto State Highway 170 for 7.4 miles to Eldorado Canyon. Continue one mile through the canyon to the visitors center.
Eldorado Canyon State Park
9 Kneale Road (P.O. Box B)
Eldorado Springs, CO 80025
Park Hours: sunrise to sunset, everyday