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Castle Rock, located alongside Interstate 25 south of Denver, is named for 6,586-foot Castle Rock, a cliff-lined butte that towers above the city. The Front Range landmark is composed of rhyolite, an erosion-resistant volcanic rock.
Climbing to the summit of Castle Rock is the first thing that most people want to do. Castle Rock sits in the middle of Rock Park, a 52-acre open space area with trails and Castle View Picnic Area. The main trailhead on Front Street often fills up so use two trailheads on the east side of the park. It’s best to hike up John Emerson Summit Trail and descend Paul Hill Trail for a 1.4-mile roundtrip hike.
An 8.6-mile network of trails threads through Phillip S. Miller Park on the west side of Castle Rock. Four connected loops cross hills and valleys in the 270-acre park. If you want to get in shape for the Manitou Incline, hit the Blue Loop and run up Challenge Hill, a 178-foot-high hill climbed by 200 steps. The park also has a swimming pool, sports field, kid’s adventure playground, and zip line tours. The Castle Rock Zip Line, operated by a park concessionaire, has 10 zip lines on 1.5-miles of cables.
Castle Rock boasts some of Colorado’s best golf courses with 10 courses within 10 miles of town. The city has been named one of the “Top 10 Golf Cities” in the United States. Red Hawk Ridge Golf Course on Castle Rock’s western edge offers superb challenges among grassy hills with mountain views. Pine Creek Golf Club south of town is open for public play. The excellent course, one of the state’s best, has spectacular holes like the 12th with 10,000 railroad ties and the watery 17th.
Pike National Forest lies west of Castle Rock. This vast mountainous area is a popular getaway for hikers who trek up the Devil’s Head Trail to one of Colorado’s last fire lookouts, climbers who edge up huge granite domes, fishermen who cast for trout in the South Platte River, and motorcyclists who ride trails in the Rampart Range Motorized Recreation Area. Plenty of campgrounds scatter through the forest for cool summer nights.