The 0.9-mile Fowler Trail at Eldorado Canyon State Park traverses a wooded hillside on the south side of Eldorado Canyon. This easy hike offers spectacular views of the canyon and cliffs and ends at an overlook above the small town of Eldorado Springs south of Boulder. The first 0.7-miles of the trail is handicapped accessible and is a self-guided nature hike with interpretative signs about the canyon’s geology and natural history. The trail also passes the site where aerialist Ivy Baldwin’s steel cable stretched across the canyon for 635 feet from the top of The Bastille. Baldwin walked the high wire, 582 feet above the creek, and a low wire over 80 times with his last tightrope walk on his 82nd birthday in 1948.
- Fowler Trail, a 1.8-mile out-and-back hike, begins on the west side of Eldorado Canyon and follows an old railroad route with a gentle grade for almost a mile. It’s an ideal hike for families, children, handicapped people, and beginning hikers. The easy hike passes interpretative signs on its first 0.7 miles, giving information about the canyon’s geology. Look across the canyon at the Redgarden Wall as you hike and spot rock climbers on its vertical cliffs. The Rattlesnake Gulch Trail takes off right partway along the path. End at a stunning overlook that views Eldorado Springs below and the prairie beyond. Return along the same trail.
- The popular trail is often busy on weekends. Hike on weekdays to avoid crowds. The trail is wheelchair and stroller accessible. Dogs are allowed if they are on a leash and under control. Bikes and horses are not allowed. It’s best to park at the main lot by the canyon entrance since parking is limited in the upper canyon and hike up the road to the trailhead. Watch for rattlesnakes along the trail in summer.
- The Fowler Trail and Eldorado Canyon are usually hot in summer, with highs often above 90 degrees. Get an early morning start or go in the late afternoon for cooler temperatures. If you hike in the mid-day sun, wear a hat and sunscreen, and carry plenty of water.
- Eldorado Canyon is one of Colorado’s best rock climbing areas. Bring binoculars to watch climbers scaling the park’s vertical cliffs, including Redgarden Wall, The Bastille, and Wind Tower. If you want to try climbing, ask at the visitor center for a list of approved climbing guides. Don’t scramble on cliffs without proper equipment-it’s easy to get hurt.
Recommended season(s): Year-round.
–Stewart M. Green