The Eldorado Canyon Trail is a 6.6 mile round trip hike in Eldorado Canyon State Park. It’s the longest hike in the park and has amazing views of both the park itself and the continental divide. I would consider the Eldorado Canyon Trail to be a moderate to strenuous hike, because it gains over 1000 feet in elevation gain. Though to be honest, it’s the first quarter and third quarter are steep, with rolling hills in between, so it’s not as strenuous as other hikes with the same stats.
Christian, Savannah Dog, and I hiked this trail on a Tuesday, after a holiday weekend. We headed out early to avoid the afternoon thunderstorms and returned back to our car just as the clouds moved in. It took us 3 hours and 35 minutes, with a 2 mph pace. That included some exploring at the turn around point and quite a few water breaks. We saw a half dozen other hiking groups, including two off leash dogs. The trail does require that all dogs be on leash, but apparently not everyone got that memo.
Savannah did great, tail wagging and tongue flapping the entire way.
If you wanted to, you could shorten this trail significantly while still getting to enjoy the stellar views. About 2 miles up the trail, there is an overlook that is clearly marked. This is a great place to take a water break and catch your breath. At this point, you could turn around and head back the way you came. Otherwise, you continue to follow the trail to the west towards the Walker Ranch Trail.
Total Distance: 6.65 miles
Estimated Time: 3-5 hours, depending on fitness
Elevation Gain: 1472 ft
Dog Friendly: Yes, but please keep your dog on a leash.
Parking area: Last lot in the park, on the right. There’s a sign that says “authorized vehicles only beyond this point” right after the parking lot. Walk west up this access road and you’ll see a trail sign on the right.
Fee: $8 fee to get into Eldorado Canyon State Park
Bugs: Wildlife was great on this hike. I didn’t get any bites and the stinging insects were doing their own thing. Check for ticks though, I found one on my neck on the drive home.
Views along the Eldorado Canyon Trail