This is an incredible park to explore as a family. There are more than a dozen small trails that you can splice together to enjoy a short morning or a long adventure together. For this hike, we tried out the Canyon View Nature Trail which is completely paved, and then we added on the Inner Canyon Trail. All together, we hiked less than five miles, and as you’ll see from the photos – it was beautiful!

Castlewood Canyon State Park is located less than an hour south of Denver, just east of Castle Rock. There are two entrances, and for the trails we chose, we entered through the more southern Main Park Entry. There is a small fee, but this location is included if you purchase an annual state park pass. I will include more information about the park and how to get there at the bottom of this post.

As we arrived at the entrance, I stepped out to grab my normal shot of the sign. But I realized quickly that I better take it from afar because I’m thinking rattlesnakes might enjoy this tall grass. We’re still new to the area, and we respect the habitats of creatures that might not want us in their space.
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We paid and found a quick restroom. Then we parked, and although I didn’t include it above, we quickly checked out this Bridge Canyon Overlook Trail. I should mention here that if you are bringing your kids and they are anything like ours, let them know every single trail that you plan to take. It doesn’t matter that this trail is only 800 feet round trip, our kids whined.

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But it was gorgeous and totally worth listening to them complain.

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You don’t expect this kind of beauty so far east of the mountains, but there you have it!

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He looks like he’s contemplating the amazingness of the view. He’s not.

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We walked back and headed onto the Canyon View Nature Trail. It’s completely accessible which makes it perfect for all families, and it’s short enough to keep the attention of even the most uninterested toddlers and teenagers.

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The trail is largely away from the canyon, but there are a few points to check out the scenery.

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And you know I enjoy informational signage! I mean, seriously, we’ll just count this as PE, science, and history for our homeschooling portfolio.

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These three.

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We saw a chipmunk!

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Just an awkward photo of my kids walking along having the time of their lives. Clearly.

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Another shot of the canyon.

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And then a caterpillar. Because they’re fun.

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In the interest of full disclosure, Austin was NOT thrilled about adding on this part of the hike because we did it on the fly. We took this photo at the end because he realized it was awesome and there were lots of boulders to climb on. So, we’ll just pretend here…IMG_1021blog

Down the steps. (This trail is NOT wheelchair-accessible.)

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It’s not a tough trail at all, but compared to the paved one, it’s a little more cardio intensive. Except for these flat parts. Which are obviously my favorites.

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See? Boulder. Happy kid.

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It’s gorgeous, right? So little work for a huge payoff.

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Sheer beauty.

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I picked up some shirts online that fit me perfectly. We hadn’t been hiking in months prior to this little adventure, and my soul needed it so badly!

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It was at this point that the Inner Canyon Trail met up with two other trails (Lake Gulch and Rimrock), so we snapped our photos and headed back the way we came.

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Back up this little set of stairs.

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And stopped often to capture the beauty of the canyon.

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This is a perfect little lunch spot. Of course we didn’t bring lunch, so we just used it as a photo op.

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Awkward bridge photo.

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A photo of me taking a photo of Austin. Because really, this is what I do most of the hike.

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And then on our way out, I was setting up our GorillaPod for a family photo, and a nice man came by and asked if he could help. I normally prefer doing it myself because I’m a control freak and I want the photo to be framed just so. But I didn’t this time – and the guy did a fantastic job. Thanks, Stranger!

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We will definitely be back because as you can see, this place is amazing. To see a brochure containing more information and a handy map of the trails, click here. And you can also check out their website.

Castlewood Canyon State Park:

*This post includes affiliate links.*
McCullough Gulch Trail
Garden of the Gods