Eldorado Canyon Trail, Eldorado Canyon State Park - Walker Ranch, Boulder - Denver - Golden - Fort Collins - Lyons, Colorado

Eldorado Canyon Trail - 8.5 miles

Eldorado Canyon State Park - Walker Ranch

The Eldorado Canyon Trail

The Eldorado Canyon Trail

Round-Trip Length: 8.5 miles
Start-End Elevation: 6,075' - 6,930' (7,090' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +885' net elevation gain (+2,462' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate-Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Eldorado Canyon Trail - 8.5 Miles Round-Trip

Eldorado Canyon is a renowned climbing destination that attracts some of the country's most accomplished athletes. The Eldorado Canyon Trail is located at the west end of the canyon at the Visitor Center, on the north side of the lot.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The trail begins on steep, winding switchbacks that gradually moderate through 1.0 miles (6,870'). It continues steadily up the north wall through intervals of thick timber and open slopes.

The trail gains 970' (net) to a high ridge in the upper canyon with terrific views back down Eldorado, and across Walker Ranch and the Continental Divide (2.45 miles : 7,065').

From here the trail drops 570' in just .7 miles along tightly wound switchbacks to the Walker Ranch Loop connection (3.15 miles : 6,495').

The Eldorado Canyon Trail continues right on a fire road and climbs steeply (save a few brief drops) for the next 1.1 miles to the Ethel Harrold Trailhead and Picnic Area (4.25 miles : 6,930'). Be cognizant of fast-moving bikes on this final segment.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N39 55.845 W105 17.654 — 0.0 miles : Eldorado Canyon Trailhead
  • N39 56.028 W105 17.570 — .64 miles : Rincon Wall - climbing access trail
  • N39 56.602 W105 17.966 — 1.5 miles : Intervals of rugged undulations and level slope
  • N39 56.506 W105 18.198 — 2.0 miles : Moderate across high, open slopes on north wall
  • N39 56.602 W105 18.515 — 2.45 miles : Crest on high ridge, begin steep descent
  • N39 56.603 W105 18.755 — 2.9 miles : Grade moderates on west slope
  • N39 56.533 W105 18.916 — 3.15 miles : Walker Ranch Loop junction
  • N39 57.200 W105 19.216 — 4.1 miles : Columbine Gulch Trail split
  • N39 57.335 W105 19.336 — 4.25 miles : End Eldorado Canyon Trail at Ethel Harrold Trailhead

Worth Noting

  • Did you know that Ponderosa Pine Trees have fire-resistant bark? Although the trees might appear dead, they are actually alive and will recover from any major fire in about 3-5 years.

  • Mountain bikers are not allowed on the Eldorado Canyon Trail (east of Walker Ranch).

  • There is a fee to enter Eldorado Canyon State Park. It ranges between $5 and $7, depending on the season. Do not park in the town of Eldorado Springs, as you will be ticketed and towed.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • This is a day use area. No camping allowed.

Fishing Information

  • Both bait and fly fishing are permitted along South Boulder Creek. The stream is periodically stocked with rainbow trout. Anglers can access the creek from the South Boulder Creek Trail (beginning at either the Crescent Meadows or South Boulder Creek Trailheads), or from the Eldorado Canyon Trail (beginning at the Ethel Harrold Trailhead off Bison Road). All Colorado state fishing regulations apply.

  • Ice fishing is not permitted on any Boulder County Open Space property.

Rules and Regulations

  • There's an $8 entrance fee to Eldorado Canyon State Park. Use the self-serve pay station if no attendant is on duty.

Directions to Trailhead

Eldorado Canyon State Park is located 3.1 miles west of Highway 119 on Eldorado Springs Road. The Eldorado Canyon Trailhead is located west of the entrance station at the Park road terminus by the Visitor Center and Picnic Area. Additional parking is available in designated areas along the main access road.

Contact Information

Eldorado Canyon State Park
9 Kneale Road (P.O. Box B)
Eldorado Springs, CO 80025
Park Hours: sunrise to sunset, everyday

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"Great trail - well worth the park admission fee. Just after the Walker Ranch Loop junction there's a new trail off the fire road marked 'access to Walker Ranch Loop' - this is a really nice winding wooded route that takes you to Ethel Harold Trailhead with just maybe a half mile extra on your route (there's a T-junction about a mile into it - go right the trialhead. I'd really recommend taking it, much nicer than the slog up the hill on the fire road. "
Rebecca  -  Boulder, CO  -  Date Posted: September 18, 2016
"Saturday, 6/28/2014 - first day in a week with no storms, but front was moving out, so quite breezy on most of the trail. Did the canyon hike to Walker Ranch Loop connection, then the few hundred yards to Boulder Creek, which was running preetty good even though this is toward the end of the major snow melt. Crossed the footbridge and enjoyed a snack and rest along the stream near the rapids. On the way back, right near the stream, encouraged a person enjoying the stream to cross the stream and get another perspective. "
Paul  -  Front Range  -  Date Posted: June 28, 2014
"We hiked 5.6 miles of this trail, turning around at the Walker Ranch Loop connection."
 -   -  Date Posted: October 14, 2012


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