We had a wonderful hike at Eldorado Canyon State Park in Eldorado Springs, Colorado.
The first known visitors to this area were the Ute Native American tribes of Colorado and Utah, who would visit Eldorado Canyon, to swim in the warm springs for health and spiritual renewal. In Spanish “el dorado” means gilded or covered with gold, which might refer to the golden color of the lichen on the cliffs.
There are 4 trails that start in the canyon:
Streamside Trail is .5 mile hike, rated very easy.
Fowler Trail is .7 miles long and runs along the South Boulder Creek. Rated very easy.
Eldorado Trail is 3.5 miles and is rated moderately difficult with an elevation gain of over 1,000 feet. This trail connects with the Walker Ranch Loop Trail.
Rattlesnake Gulch Trail is 1.4 miles and is rated moderately difficult with an elevation gain of 1,200 feet to the Continental Divide viewing area. The historic Crags Hotel ruins are also on this trail at 800 feet above the trailhead.
This is the beginning of our hike on Rattlesnake Gulch Trail. The Bastille rock is to the right. We drove into the park from the crevice.
By the mid-1800s the Utes had lost most of Colorado to the settlers. These new pioneers established ranches and farms, sawmills and logging operations near the canyon.
As we climb our trail, which was the equivalent of climbing the Empire State Building, the town of Colorado Springs comes into view.
In 1908, the Crags Hotel was built high on the cliffs overlooking Colorado Springs and attracted many celebrities. Sadly, it was destroyed by fire in 1912.
Here we are looking at the Continental Divide, the center (east/west) of the U.S.
They wouldn’t let anyone enter without a 4-wheel drive vehicle.