Crags Hotel Ruins & Continental Divide Overlook
May 7, 2022
Eldorado Canyon is only a quick 20 minute drive from where I live, and love every time I get to take someone there for a hike. The drive to get to the entrance of Eldorado Canyon State Park is filled with rolling hills, and expansive views of the Flat Irons. Then as you slowly (and please drive slow for the sake of the residents who live there) approach the tiny little “town” of Eldorado, you notice lots of cute houses, gardens filled with mountain flowers, and neighbors talking to neighbors. Before you know it, you are through the little town, and start the ascent up to the canyon where you need to buy a day pass (or if you have a yearly pass). It’s $10 for a day pass, and usually someone is at the park entrance to take your payment, answer any questions you may have and provide you with a map.
As we drove in, climbers were already starting to make their way up the steep mountains with their technical rock climbing within the massive canyons and panoramic vistas. We were lucky to find a good parking spot up towards the top, got our hiking gear on, and made our way to the trail. There are some informational signs along the way describing the vegetation, animals, etc., which is great for first time or out-of-state visitors. Fowler Trail is well kept, and the ascent starts up towards the ruins of Crags Hotel! There isn’t much left of Crags Hotel, but signs explaining the history of the hotel and area mark the spot, and offer a chance to rest and take a breath. Continuing on up the trail, don’t miss it – as you only have to hike about 10 minutes more for the Continental Divide Overlook. Benches are a welcome sight to those that maybe want to take a longer break up at the top to admire the view, eat some snacks (don’t share any with the greedy little chipmunks), and don’t forget the water! The upper loop of the Rattlesnake Gulch Trail is currently closed so it made our hike a little shorter than anticipated, but the hike was wonderful no matter how short it was! Views towards the snow-covered peaks of the Continental Divide were definitely calling and made it easy to talk about our ambitious hiking plans for the summer! Towards the east, you can admire the views of downtown Denver, and always appreciate the expansiveness of the ‘low lands’ below.
As we were leaving (around 11am) the cars were already lined up waiting to be let in to the park. There isn’t a lot of parking so plan on getting to the canyon as early as possible as there is limited parking for sure.Continue reading