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Hike Along Colorado's Eldorado Canyon Trail

Tom Malone/Adventure Tribune
As the car moves through Boulder, Colorado and enters the town of Eldorada Springs, it seems as if we've teleported into a new location, perhaps the mountainous interior of Mexico. The sterile Boulder environment transforms into Eldorado Springs' character-infused town, complete with a dirt road, two-leveled apartments, hilly inlays, and cinder block structures. The river runs through the center of town. Makeshift tire swings adorn overhanging tree limbs. The town pool lay dormant, though it's Rocky mountain runoff probably thrives during the summertime.

After driving just over a mile through the center of town, we come to the entrance to Eldorado Springs State Park and pay our eight-dollar vehicle fee to enter. The first parking area is packed with rock climbers who revel in the park's vast amount of climbing areas. We decide to continue along the dirt road through the park to reach deeper into the mountains.

When we come to the trailhead for Eldorado Canyon Trail, we park and begin our hike. The starting elevation begins at 6,000 feet above sea level and immediately goes up from there. For the next half-mile, we seem to do nothing but climb stairs. Out of breathe and tired already, we stop, turn, and intake the view. Through the trees, we can see the Denver skyline in the haze through the canyon's outcrop.

We continue through thin forest. Thankfully, the path evens out and we can catch our breathes while we walk and talk. We cross a few streams, climb a few boulders, and slow incline along the trail. Eventually, we reach the summit of our particular trail, which puts us at just over 7,000 feet. We stop and sit on a pile of rocks to appreciate the panoramic view of Denver to our East, and the Continental Divide to our West, just out of reach.

We snack and refuel after the 3.5-mile journey before turning around and retracing our steps. Though the trail connects to another path, we decide to turn and decline down to the car.

The total journey ends up being 7 miles round trip. The degree of difficult is moderate/difficult depending on the section of trail. For a hike that is no more than 10 minutes outside of downtown Boulder, this hike gives you Rocky Mountain intensity, quality views of the city and the mountains, and a surprising lack of people.

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Tom Malone is the Editor-In-Chief of The Adventure Tribune and author of adventure novels, like Across Americana. He is based in Denver, Colorado, where he adventures through the Rocky Mountains while not traveling abroad.
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