Castlewood Canyon Ruins Loop

Ruins of an Early Homestead,
Failed Dam, and 20' Waterfall

Featured Route
on Cherry Creek in Castlewood Canyon State Park, CO
  • Total Length
    4¾mi
  • Ascent
    832ft
  • Difficulty
    Moderate

This hike starts off with a journey back to 1894, turns around at the ruins of a dam which burst in 1933, and passes by a modest waterfall on the return.

Just a few steps from the trailhead is the Lucas Homestead site, consisting of remains from a two-story, 1898 concrete house. Patrick and Margaret Lucas were among the area’s first homesteaders, settling four years prior to building the house whose remains stand today. This site offers more to see than meets the eye, so be sure to download the Lucas Homestead brochure from the park’s website for a six-stop self guided tour. 

Following an initial dose of history, an easy but mostly exposed 2.4 hike along the Rimrock Trail offers up views of the canyon below. Continuing back north on Dam Trail, you’ll encounter the remains of a 1933 disaster. The Castlewood Canyon Dam was built in 1890 to attract settlers with a reliable water source, but its construction was  fraught with issues and the leaks began immediately. 43 years later, the dam cracked during a storm and sent 1.7 billion gallons of water toward Denver, killing two and causing extensive damage. Download the Castlewood Canyon Dam brochure for its full history. 

Creek Bottom Trail takes you back toward the starting point and actually travels above, not on the bottom of, Cherry Creek.  Look back after 0.7 miles to see the modest but beautiful 20’ Cherry Creek Falls. From there, the trail continues back to the trailhead along the creek. 

Get Here
  • Hiking
  • Loop
  • Scenic
  • Waterfalls
  • Wildflowers
  • Wildlife
  • History
Photos
Elevation Profile
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Timeline
Start Hiking
For 318ft
2
Historical Place
Continue Hiking
For 2.4mi
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For ¼mi
Continue Hiking
For 0.7mi
Continue Hiking
For 1.3mi