A beautiful hike through Cottonwood Canyon State Park that offers expansive views of Pikes Peak and takes you inside the canyon itself.

This loop is a combination of two different trails - the Lake Gulch Trail (L) and the Inner Canyon Trail (K). Both of these trails leave from the Canyon Point Parking Lot, inside the east entrance to the park. 

I personally like the Inner Canyon Trail a lot more, so I like to start off from the Lake Gulch trailhead, which is located by the restrooms and the amphitheater. The trail starts out wide and gravelly, but quickly narrows and turns to dirt as it begins to work its way into the canyon. Be sure to look south at the incredible views of Pikes Peak as you walk. 

Just under a mile on the trail brings you to Cherry Creek. There's a series of boulders you can cross to get to the other side of the creek and connect with the Inner Canyon Trail. This is a great spot to have a picnic lunch and relax - the temperature is generally much nicer closer to the creek. 

From there, follow the signs for the Inner Canyon Trail (K). This leads you over rocks and through oak trees along the creek. It's 1.16 miles back to the parking lot, and you'll end your hike by climbing up a few dozen stairs to get back to the top of the canyon.

Dogs are allowed on the trail as long as they are on a leash! 

Pack List

  • Castlewood Canyon State Park entrance fee ($7)
  • Sunscreen
  • Water
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RT Distance 2 Miles
Elevation Gain 239 Feet
Activities Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
River
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Hike the Inner Canyon Trail

The Inner Canyon Trail begins at the Canyon Point Parking Lot. There are a few trails that leave from this lot, so make sure you're following signs for "K.

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Hike the Canyon View Nature Trail, Castlewood Canyon

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Hike the Rim Rock / Creek Bottom Trail Loop

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