Rattlesnake Gulch Trail at Eldorado State Park

April 3, 2011 Comments (4) 2-3 Miles, 3-4 Miles, About 45 Min, Boulder Hikes, Canyon, Cliffs, Colorado State Park Hikes, fall colors, Medium, Mountain Range Views, Ruins

Rattlesnake Gulch Trail at Eldorado State Park

The Rattlesnake Gulch trail takes you up the sides of Eldorado Canyon, one of Colorado’s historic State Parks. This lollipop trail takes you past the ruins of the Crags Hotel, then on to gain views of the Continental Divide. Scroll down to look over the trail snapshot, then explore the trail details and tips below for this rewarding hike in Eldorado Canyon State Park.

If your legs are ready to gain some quick elevation
to some rewarding views, the Rattlesnake Gulch trail will give you just that. This trail starts at the west trailhead of the Fowler Trail about 1/2 a mile into Eldorado Canyon. The hike first takes you about 1.2 miles to the site of the Crags Hotel. The hotel was built in 1908 and visitors could reach it by taking an incline railroad and by an old wagon trail. In 1912, the hotel burnt to the ground, and just a few ruins remain. The parks department has put up interpretive signs to give you an idea of what the site was like in the early 1900’s.

If you continue past the Crags Hotel site, you can add on an additional 1.4 miles by hiking the Rattlesnake Gulch Loop. A spur along the trail takes you to the Continental Divide overlook, where you can look out to the plains and towards a few peaks to the west. If you don’t want to hike the entire loop, but you want to catch the view from the overlook, take the trail to the right after the hotel site and hike about 10 more minutes. See the map link above for the exact location of the spur that leads to the overlook.

The picture above is looking northeast towards the Cadillac Rock area. If you take a pair of binoculars, scan the formation for rock-climbers. Eldorado Canyon makes for some great Denver area hiking. It’s one of those places with so many unique features, that you’ll find yourself drawn back there time and time again.

Tips & Resources for Hiking the Rattlesnake Gulch Trail at Eldorado State Park:

  • Exact Trail Length: Exact trail lengths are approximate until we can GPS this one. We’ve noticed discrepancies on maps and reports. So, be sure to add some buffer time on to this hike.
  • Parking: Parking fills up fast at Eldorado Canyon. So, we suggest you go early in the day, or as the crowds are filtering out of the park in the late afternoon. As well, you’ll find weekdays less crowed. Eldorado Canyon is open from sunrise to sunset year round.
  • Directions: Use the driving directions on this page. They will lead you to the nearest parking area to the Rattlesnake Gulch Trailhead.
  • Fee: There is an $8 parking fee per car or you can use your Colorado State Parks Annual Pass
  • Trail Map for Eldorado Canyon State Park: Trail Map Link
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: Boxcar Coffee Roasters in Boulder


Golden, CO

Map & Driving Directions

Click for Driving Directions

4 Responses to Rattlesnake Gulch Trail at Eldorado State Park

  1. […] web­site, http://www.dayhikesneardenver-com-staging.fcyx1see-liquidwebsites.com and found a hike I liked in Eldo­rado Canyon called Rat­tle Snake Gulch Trail. With a quick google map of the how to get to the trail head, I packed up snacks and water in my […]

  2. Rattlesnake Gulch Trail is closed due to flood damage as of 4/28/2014. The entire picnic area is closed as well.

  3. Laura Cardon says:

    Rattlesnake Gulch has incredible views and is the perfect challenge for beginner hikers! Easy to get to from Denver, too (although if it’s rained a lot the dirt road you access the park from could get dicey).

    I have a full trail review on my blog here: http://www.outdoorsbeginner.com/2014/12/trail-review-el-dorado-canyon-state-park.html

  4. Cary Floyd says:

    Great Hike today. Map My Hike said 3.79 miles doing the fowler to rattlesnake gulch. I will do this one again. Lot’s of people on the trail even with all of the mist out there. Go early, the parking lots fill up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *