When you think of vacationing in Colorado, what comes to mind? The Rocky Mountains, of course, and wildlife is a big one, too. Maybe even the food strikes a chord for you, as Denver is quickly becoming a place where foodies unite under the banner of deliciousness. Travelers also hit this stunning state in droves for adventurous activities like skiing and hiking, and the kids are no exception, but where do you go? The mountains are certainly nice, but down in Franktown, Castlewood Canyon State Park proves that there’s more to this stunning state than what you can find in the Rockies.
Tackle the Inner Trail
Upon arrival, you have a clear picture of the mountains in the distance, but this won’t last for long. While there are many trails available to traverse here, the best one just might be the Inner Canyon trail—for both kids and adults. Take the stairway down into the canyon and get pumped up for what’s ahead. Many, many creatures call this area home, so be on the lookout for everything from turkey vultures to rattlesnakes as you meander along.
In fact, meander might not be quite the right word. While many trails here are paved, the Inner Canyon Trail is marked as intermediate for a reason. Small boulders jut out everywhere along the trail and make for the perfect obstacle course for tenacious toddlers who like to climb. Take your time and allow the kiddos to tackle the trail at their own pace; while only a mile long this trail may be easy for adults, but for toddlers it’s an all-day adventure.
Thankfully for everyone in the family, the majority of the trail is under shady trees, so you won’t run the risk of getting to hot or burnt with direct sun exposure. Make no mistake though, you are doing some real work here and should have lots of water on hand.
Splash about in the sweet Colorado sun
Speaking of water, by the time you reach the opening at the end of this trail, you may want to take a break from your trek to splash and play. In that case, you’re in luck! Make your way down the large boulders and have a seat by the stream to have some lunch and enjoy the cool, running water in whatever way to deem fit. Climb along the big boulders here to search for little lizards that can make a day of outdoor discovery complete.
There’s something for everyone at Castlewood Canyon State Park
Older kids will, in fact, love this trail as well. Add a bit of challenge to your day by skipping the tried and true trail and try to make it all the way to the end by climbing over all the boulders that litter the inside of the canyon. There’s just no wrong way to hike the Inner Trail!
If you are pooped but your toddler is still rearing to go, head back up to the parking lot where you will find a shady pavilion and a playground where the little ones can truly wear themselves out while you sit back, relax and think about what else Colorado has in store for you.
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