Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Castlewood Canyon State Park

  This park encompasses the narrow canyon of  Cherry Creek. Twelve miles of trails follow along the top of the canyon and down along the creek. The east and west sections of the park are connected by trails but not by a road so to visit both sections you must leave the park and come in again on a different roadway.

The east section is more developed with a visitor center, restrooms, large parking lots and a 1 mile round trip paved trail. The west section has a few small parking lots, the ruins of a homestead house and the remains of the Castlewood Dam which broke on August 3, 1933 and sent a wall of water rushing down the creek. The water traveled over 30 miles to flood the streets of downtown Denver.

  The paved trail in the east section is accessible but not completely flat with steep slopes on the overlook spurs. Wheelchair users may need to have some help. The west section has a very short, paved trail that extends out into the grassland before dead ending. The homestead is visible from the parking lot. The dam can only be accessed by a long, steep trail with steps. It’s possible to view it from the road but stopping is not permitted.

  The east section parking lots are large enough for motorhomes. The homestead lot in the west section has only one entrance and not enough room for large RVs to turn around. The other lots are large enough for RVs. The dirt road continues past the dam area and eventually joins highway 83 but it’s washboard and there are few places to turn around. Park
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  1. We know Cherry Creek as it flows through Wheat Ridge and before it gets into Denver. There is the Prospect RV-Park where we have spent quite some time.

  2. We were surprised at the amount of flooding in downtown Denver when the dam broke. The creek looks so small and innocuous but that dam was holding back a lot of water!