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Waterton Canyon

With much anticipation, Waterton Canyon has reopened

Article and photos by Liz Jurkowski

The vegetation is lush near the mouth of Waterton Canyon. It is a
beautiful place to walk and the below trail map shows the well-marked
paths.

 

Part of Colorado’s beauty lies only thirty minutes away from the city
of Castle Pines. Waterton Canyon meanders into the foothills along the
South Platte River, eventually joining the Colorado Trail.

The canyon has a terrific trail that stretches through some beautiful
scenery. It is suitable for walkers, hikers, runners, cyclists and
horseback riders. The entire canyon is a bighorn sheep habitat, so dogs
are not allowed on or near any part of the trail.

To get there from C-470, travel south on Wadsworth Boulevard. Follow
signs to Waterton Canyon and turn left just before entering the
Lockheed Martin plant. Parking, a picnic area, and restrooms are on the
left, and the trailhead is on the right.

After passing the Kassler Center, the trail heads into the canyon.
Picnic tables are placed conveniently in numerous locations along the
six-and-a-half mile route, until the Strontia Springs Dam and Reservoir,
where the path meets the Colorado Trail. The South Platte River runs
alongside the path, bubbling and flowing over rocks and tiny rapids.
The vegetation and cottonwood trees along its banks are a pleasure to
hike next to. Wildflowers, too, pop up in rocky crevices and small
meadows.

After the Buffalo Creek and Hayman fires several years ago, rains
caused too much sediment to collect in the Strontia Springs Reservoir.
Waterton Canyon was closed in August of 2010 so the reservoir could be
dredged. Many have awaited its reopening, anxious to explore some of
Colorado’s beauty so close to Denver.

Take the family for a charming hike not too
far from home. With smaller children, bring bikes or the jogging
stroller because little legs might want to stop and turn around right as
the path begins to wind up into the canyon, at about 1.5 miles. Bring
your fishing pole and a lunch and spend midday at the reservoir, then
head down in the early afternoon to finish your hike before the
afternoon thunder clouds threaten. Waterton Canyon is a great family
outing.

Wildflowers bloom along the trail, fragrant and beautiful. 

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