Rock Park Loop
ElevationAscent: 302' 92 m
Descent: -313' -95 m
High: 6,533' 1,991 m
Low: 6,221' 1,896 m
GradeAvg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 36% (20°)
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“A short but scenic loop located right in the town of Castle Rock.”— Mikhaila Redovian
Start out on the John Emerson Summit Trail. This trail is singletrack, making your journey to the summit feel a bit more adventurous than the alternative. The way is mostly gentle, but as you near the rock feature, things will start to get a bit steep. Push through the final switchback, and arrive at the base of Castle Rock. The interesting limestone feature provides plenty of nooks and crannies for native critters to call home, and you'll be likely to catch a glimpse of Osprey or hawks circling in this area. Take your time to work around the small "plateau," as there are incredible views to be had in all directions. To the west you can take in the rolling mountains of the Front Range, and to the east, you'll be able to see all the way out to the plains. The views to the north and south both provide pleasant combinations of both mountains and plains, illustrating the unique ecosystem of the Front Range.
Once you've had your fill, head to the southeast corner of the plateau, where you'll be able to see the wide, Paul Hill Trail. This doubletrack makes for a pleasant descent, especially for those whose joints might protest at the descent on the John Emerson Summit Trail. You'll be able to take in the eastern views on your way down, and the wide pathway makes it easy to hike two abreast. This trail will eventually deposit you just where you departed from, concluding your loop!
Though you're never too far from the sounds of urban life, this short route still allows hikers to get outside to enjoy the Colorado sunshine.
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ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Dogs Allowed, History & Background
Land Manager: Town of Castle Rock, CO - Parks, Open Space and Trails