Trail Snapshot: Carpenter Peak Hike at Roxborough State Park
- Hike Distance: 6.2 Mile Round Trip
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Duration: 3-4 hours
- Trail Type: Out-and-Back
- Starting Elevation: 6200′
- Elevation Gain: +960′
- Seasons: Year Round
- Dogs: Dogs Prohibited in the Park
- Hike Trail Map: Click for a Map of Roxborough State Park
- Denver Drive Time: 45 min
- Driving Directions to Roxborough State Park: Click for Google Map
- Town Nearest Hike: Littleton, Colorado
- Beauty: Red rock formations, meadows, wildlife: mule deer, eagles, foxes, birds
- Activities: Hiking, birdwatching, Visitors’ Center
- Fee: Entrance Fee or State Parks Pass Required
Parking and Trailhead Information
The last two miles of access road into Roxborough State Park are a maintained dirt road, but it can get washboarded and can be tough on the car. Still, it’s not a long drive in. Undulating green hills can be seen in the east where deer and antelope graze. Roxborough State Park can fill up during it’s busiest hours on the weekend. If that’s the case, you can wait until enough vehicles exit the park then drive in. The peak times appear to be are around 10AM-2PM on the weekends. If the line looks long, you can always turn around and head over to Waterton Canyon or to South Valley Park–both are great options.
The trail will soon cross a dirt road and begin its way west. This is the most steep and demanding segment of trail. We’ve classified this as a moderate hike in difficulty, but for those who are from out-of-town or who are not in the best of shape, it may be considered difficult.
At 1.7 mile, the trail will come to a Y intersection (pictured above). The trail to the left leads to Elk Meadows, and the trail for Carpenter Peak leads to the right. The trail now winds along the hillsides with switchbacks that open up to expansive views of the red rock formations that make Roxborough Park Denver’s Garden of the Gods.
After gaining the ridge at mile 3, hikers will encounter a final intersection. Again, there is clear signage pointing the way right to Carpenter peak, now just a few hundred yards further. At the summit, you’ll be able to take in a 360 degree panorama of Denver, Roxborough State Park, the plains, and distant mountains in the west. I particularly enjoy the views from here over to the mountains that surround Waterton Canyon. In the Spring and early Summer, a few western peaks will still still show their snow caps.
The return route follows the same trails back down to the visitor center.
Tips & Resources for Hiking to Carpenter Peak in Roxborough
- Posion Ivy: Because there is a significant amount of poison ivy that grows out to the edges of parts of this trail, it’s wise to wash your clothing soon after your return home as poison ivy can affect people by indirect contact.
- Hiking in Winter: If you plan to hike Carpenter Peak in the winter, it is advised that you have traction devices like YakTrax because much of the trail will be in shadow, and ice will likely form on the trail.
- Trail Map for Roxborough State Park: Trail Map Link
- Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get list and dayhiking packing checklist.
- Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
- After the Hike: Waterton Tavern in Roxborough
Map & Driving Directions
Click for Driving Directions