A hidden gem of Colorado hiking spots is Eldorado Canyon in Boulder County. Well, maybe it isn’t really a hidden gem, but I had never heard of it before. Eldorado Canyon is a Colorado State Park that hosts multiple hiking trails that take you up among the foothills for some incredible views.
My group and I headed out early in the morning in order to avoid the crowds and the unbearable heat! With Colorado weather, you never know what to expect, so it’s always a good idea to get out early before you have time to experience crazy weather (especially if you want to go hiking in the summer, because the heat could either knock you out, or there could be an afternoon storm). The day started out with a quick McDonald’s breakfast, and you can what you will about McDonald’s, but their breakfast is delicious. Also, we discovered that orange juice is refreshing to drink before you head up for a hike. Then again, orange juice is always refreshing.
We only had time for one trail this day, so we chose to tackle the most popular of the park, which is the Eldorado Canyon Trail. This trail is approximately 7 miles long total, with a gain of over 1,000 feet. It’s a decently difficult hike; not too hard to hike up, but the incline does add some time onto your trip). Also, the beginning of the hike is all stairs, which are no fun at all. They wear you out, especially when they are placed at the very beginning of the trail. You have to make it up that incline somehow! Although, I was also sick when we completed this hike, so every mile of the trail seemed about ten times harder than it probably would be for anybody else who is healthy when they visit Eldorado Canyon.
The trail seems to go by quickly, and most of it consists of you walking along the outer edge of the mountain, which only serves to allow you to drink in the views of the Boulder foothills! Most hikes will take you between the trees and make you feel enclosed, but this trail allowed you to always have one side open to the edge of the mountain. That way, you really get to embrace the fresh mountain air! What’s also cool is that this hikeoffers a view of a train that runs along the side of a mountain opposite of the Eldorado Canyon Trail. We had the opportunity to see quite a few trains go by while we were walking along!
Overall, the trail took about three hours for us to complete, and that includes stopping and sitting on logs and rocks in order to be able to fully enjoy climbing above the foothills. We also had to go pretty slow, due to the fact that I wasn’t feeling very well and because the elevation kicked our butts! I am not ashamed to admit that. This was my first hike that I had attempted in a while, and even though I have lived in Colorado all of my life, it still does take some time to adjust to the high elevations of the mountains. Going up 1,000 feet in an hour and a half does wear you out. Make sure (like with any hike) that you bring plenty of water and some granola bars to keep your energy up and to save yourself from getting dehydrated.
It was also getting very hot out by the time that we had made it about halfway up the trail, so make sure that if you ever plan on hiking Eldorado Canyon (or anywhere else, really) that you bring lots of sunscreen! It is easy to spray on and saves you a lot of pain later. Trust me, you don’t want to be sore and burnt, especially as you move closer and closer to the sun.
Unfortunately, like I said, we only had time for one trail, meaning we didn’t get to explore the rest of the park, but from what we saw, it looked beautiful. Before we got on the official trail, there was a river that had picnic tables set up next to it for anyone to enjoy if they wanted ti! If we had packed ourselves a lunch, I would have loved to have eaten there and dip my feet in the river, especially after the crazy heat we had experienced while on the hike! There was also a campsite near the base of the Eldorado Canyon Trail. I have never camped before, but if you’re interested in that kind of thing, you should definitely look into it! I’ll leave the link to the state park’s website down below so that you can look into all of the other trails and activities that Eldorado Canyon offers!
I hope to go back to this park once it gets warm enough to hike again so that we can try out a different trail and experience more of what Eldorado has to offer. Another great thing is that since the hike is in Boulder County, it is less than a half hour drive away from home! I can’t wait to head back. Until then, though…
Don’t Forget to Make It Meghan!