Great Sand Dunes National Park
The remains of Castlewood Dam
April 28, 2018
About a month ago my son and I hiked for our first time in Castlewood Canyon State Park. We did the Canyon View Nature trail, the Inner Canyon, to the Dam then took the Lake Gulch trail back to the car. Basically the southern end of the park. It was a nice hike but I wanted to hike the northern end, starting at the Homestead Site, to the Rim Rock trail which goes to the Dam then back to the Homestead TH via the Creek Bottom trail. I would be hiking this alone, which isn’t uncommon for me, so I decided to wait until later in the day when the temperature was cooler.
I started my hike around 5:30pm at the Homestead TH. The Lucas Homestead sites are interesting, originally built in 1898, three of the concrete walls still remain. Once on the trail I didn’t venture into the other sites as I was going to be racing the sun before it set around 7:45. I moved quickly to the Rim Rock trail and, the lowest point being 6124ft about 11 minutes into my hike, began the ascent to the rim. I arrived at the rim, roughly 1 mile of hiking and an elevation of 6456ft, after 30 minutes of hiking, so I gained a little over 300 feet in 20 minutes and my body felt it. But the views from the top as well as on the way up were well worth it. After that, the hike is continues for over another mile along the edge of the rim with spectacular views before descending down to the Dam.
The Dam is interesting but I had seen it on the previous hike in the park. Then joining the Creek Bottom Trail you hike down near Cherry Creek and follow it back to the car. The Creek Bottom Trail is fairly gentle but there are some areas where you wouldn’t want to stray off trail. I made it back before the sunset, although I always have my headlamp with me just in case. My total hiking time was 1:54, with a roundtrip distance of 4.89 miles and an average pace of 23:18 per mile. Slower than the previous days’ hike up Spruce Mountain but that’s okay, I really enjoyed this hike. Some things to see on this hike, the Lucas Homestead, cactus on the rim trail, the dam, the effects of water and erosion on the Creek Bottom trail. Be safe and keep moving.
# of 52Hike Challenge
Rim Rock Trail sign and rock stairs
View from the Rim Rock Trail
Cherry Creek, from the Creek Bottom Trail