Eldorado Canyon, or "Eldo" as it is known to rock climbers, is a world-famous outdoor playground located right outside of Boulder, Colorado. Though it has earned its reputation as a beautiful and challenging rock climbing destination, anyone can enjoy the grandeur of this place on its hiking trails, or simply by driving to have a look.
Though the trails are not numerous, they offer quite a variety of terrain and scenery. The Fowler Trail is an easy, self-guided nature walk beneath the towering canyon walls. Rattlesnake Gulch is a moderately difficult hike that switchbacks out of the canyon to a spectacular overlook of the Continental Divide. Eldorado Canyon Trail is more difficult and offers equally rewarding views from the opposite side of the canyon.
Living up to its name during all seasons, snowshoers and cross-country skiers love Eldorado during the winter, when freezing temperatures keep most other visitors away. Fall is brilliant when temperatures cool off and the leaves change. After heavy spring rain or snowmelt, you may see kayakers taking on high-flow whitewater on South Boulder Creek.
The park is actually divided in two halves, though there is no road access in between. Most people come in the eastern entrance, which is easily accessed from Boulder or Denver. The western half, called Crescent Meadows, is much less developed but offers additional hiking as well as mountain biking trails. It can be reached via Highway 72 from Denver, Flagstaff Road from Boulder, or by hiking 4.5 miles along Eldorado Canyon Trail and Walker Ranch Loop.
As a state park, Eldorado Canyon offers several facilities. There are bathrooms and trash receptacles in convenient locations. A well-maintained picnic area with grills sits on the edge of the creek, and an event center can be booked for parties or meetings. There is also a visitor center and bookstore with informational exhibits about the area's geology, nature, and human history.
*Note: When visiting Eldorado Canyon, you must pay the entrance fee and park within the boundaries. There is no parking along the road outside the park because this is lined with private property in the community of Eldorado Springs, and your car can be towed.
There is no camping in Eldorado State Park; it is day use only.