Rattlesnake Gulch Trail: Boulder’s Hidden Gem

Nestled in the picturesque Eldorado Springs, just a short drive from Boulder and Denver, lies a true hidden gem of Colorado’s extensive trail system: the Rattlesnake Gulch Trail. This remarkable hike, often overshadowed by more famous counterparts, offers an invigorating blend of natural beauty and historical intrigue, leading to the ruins of the old Crags Hotel.

Getting There: Your Gateway to Adventure

From Boulder, the trailhead is a mere 20-minute drive. Head south on CO-93, turn west onto CO-170 W toward Eldorado Springs, and soon you’ll find yourself at the entrance of Eldorado Canyon State Park, the starting point of your journey. Denverites can reach this destination within an hour by taking I-25 N, merging onto US-36 W, and following the same route from CO-93 to CO-170 W.

The Trail: A Path Through Time

The Rattlesnake Gulch Trail is a moderately challenging hike, perfect for those looking to immerse themselves in nature without venturing too far from urban comforts. As you ascend the switchbacks, each turn offers a new vista, with panoramic views of the Continental Divide and the canyon below.

The trail is a 3.6-mile round trip, featuring a unique blend of rocky terrain, lush woodlands, and open meadows. The highlight of the hike is undoubtedly the ruins of the old Crags Hotel, perched at the top. Built in 1908, this hotel was a luxurious destination, accessible then only by an incline railway from the canyon floor. Sadly, it burned down in 1912, but its remnants still whisper tales of a bygone era.

The Crags Hotel: Echoes of the Past

The Crags Hotel was more than just a place to stay; it was a symbol of early 20th-century luxury and adventure. Guests were treated to modern amenities, exquisite dining, and orchestral music, all amidst the backdrop of Colorado’s wild beauty. Today, you can still find parts of the old fireplace, the hotel’s foundation, and interpretive signs that tell the story of this once grand establishment.

Why It’s a Hidden Gem

Despite its proximity to Boulder and Denver, Rattlesnake Gulch Trail remains a relatively undiscovered treasure. It’s not just the hike that makes it special; it’s the history embedded in the trail. Few places offer such a tangible connection to Colorado’s past while also providing a robust hiking experience.

In Conclusion

Rattlesnake Gulch Trail is more than just a hike; it’s a journey through time, offering a unique glimpse into Colorado’s early tourism industry, all while providing a scenic and enjoyable outdoor experience. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, this trail is a must-visit for anyone looking to explore the lesser-known jewels of Colorado’s landscape. Remember to respect the natural environment and tread lightly on this historical path.

As you plan your next adventure, consider this hidden gem, where history and nature converge to create an unforgettable experience. Rattlesnake Gulch Trail is a testament to Colorado’s enduring allure, a place where the echoes of the past meet the beauty of the present.