“A long, tough climb rewarded by great views and easier, flatter trails up high.”
— Nick Wilder
Fall Colors · Views
For those looking for a solid workout combined with great trails and views, this is it!
If you want an easier hike, start at the upper lot as for Mount Falcon West Loop
. There is NO easy way to start hiking here, as both trails (Turkey Trot
and Castle Trail
) are very steep and climb 1700 vertical feet with no break.
From the parking lot, start up Castle Trail
. It's hot, exposed, and can be crowded. Consider using Turkey Trot
if there is a lot of bike traffic (it's cooler and less crowded). About halfway up, a hard left turn (with just a touch of tree shade) offers a brief respite before the climbing kicks in again. Then it's more grinding to the top!
Once on top of the ridge, enjoy much easier hiking on wide, easy trail. There are many optional side-trips (all worthwhile), but for this loop, look for Meadow Trail
to the left. This smooth and easy trail takes you to the Ute Loop. Going left is a little harder and more interesting, but either way will take you to Devil's Elbow
There's a good amount of shade and the trail is fairly level, so this makes a nice place to add some miles to your hike. Once you're on the loop (after the lollipop section), there is a short climb and then some nice opportunities for scenic views of the mountains.
Head back the way you came, and use Turkey Trot
on the final descent so mountain bikers don't come up behind you too fast.
Overall, this is a great all-around outing, with great views and hard work!
History & Background
John Walker purchased 4,000 acres in this area in 1903 and built a house near the summit of Mount Falcon in 1909 (you can visit the ruins). Eight fireplaces, a music room, library, and 10 bedrooms made quite a grand house, but lightning struck and burned it to the ground in 1918.