|Elevation Gain||636 ft|
|My Time||1 hr 48 min|
|Closest Town||Indian Hills|
Mount Falcon Upper Loop
The Mount Falcon Upper Loop from the West Trailhead is a sprawling hike with mountain views and includes the former ruins of a mansion and a marker for what was to be the summer White House. This is a very popular spot for hikers, bikers, and trail runners. The trail has some elevation gain and parts can get a little rocky so I am going to rank it as a moderate hike.
The West Trailhead at Mount Falcon has a few options to get started. At the parking lot there is a small trail to a couple of picnic tables to the west and the Castle Trail to the east. About 100 yards down the Castle Trail are some pit toilets as well as the junction with the Parmalee Trail. The Parmalee Trail starts at the auxiliary lot so if you park there this is a way to get to the Castle Trail.
The Castle Trail starts in some woods before opening up to some wide open views and eventually will come to a large trail junction. From here you will see a really nice meadow, a short trail to a small lookout point and two large trails. You can either take the Castle Trail to the left or stay straight on the Meadow Trail. Either direction can end in a loop but the Castle Trail is a bit quicker to get to the Walker Ruins. The Meadow Trail will take you to a couple of overlooks before looping back down towards the Walker Ruins.
The Meadow Trail will intersect the Tower Trail just before the woods. From here continue forward on the Tower Trail to head to the Overlooks. The Tower Trail is a bit more challenging and rustic near the overlooks and might not be right for everyone.
I di the loop by heading on the Meadow Trail and hiking towards the overlooks. There are two main overlooks with one doubling as a picnic area. The hike up the Meadow Trail has some of the most elevation of the loop and takes you to the highest point. The grade only gets to 12% so it isn’t that challenging but it is there.
The first stop is the Eagle Eye Shelter that was a former cabin built in the 1930’s and now is a covered area with some picnic tables.
The views from the Eagle Eye shelter are pretty amazing looking over the Turkey Creek Gulch out towards the mountains out west.
The second overlook is about two-tenths of a mile up the trail from the Eagle Eye Shelter. This one is more of a viewing structure. It has a small staircase up and then is open on all sides with some benches to sit on around the sides.
This lookout doesn’t give as good of mountain views but gives a nice view of surrounding area. I will note that I have been up here a handful of times and these overlooks do have tendency to get pretty windy.
After these two structures it is time to head down the trail to reconnect with the Meadow Trail. This section of the Tower Trail is the steepest with grades hitting 15% and also the most narrow. At the bottom of the hill the Tower and Meadow Trails will combine and meet up with the Ute Trail. Take the turn to stay on Meadow to head to the Walker Home Ruins.
Walker Home Ruins
The most popular feature of the hike at Mount Falcon is the ruins of the Walker Home. Built in the early 1900’s the home didn’t make it very long before being struck by lightning and burning down. The stone remains of the home are still there on the trail and are fenced in but you can get pretty close. My favorite feature that is still standing is the two story fireplace and chimney. It looks like their are fireplaces for two different floors on the single structure. There are more pictures in the gallery below.
A lot of people make the ruins their end destination of the hike and return at this point. If you want to continue take the Castle Trail to the northeast away from where you started. This trail takes you to some of the other features in the park, and in my opinion the best views the park has! Taking the rest of the Castle Trail will add another 2 miles (1 mile out and the return) and includes the real “Castle” of the park.
Back in the early 1900’s Walker had a dream to build a “Castle” in the Colorado foothills, conveniently just down the road from his own home, as a gift for the US Presidents to use in the summer. This was to be the Summer White House. The project never came to fruition but a single block remains with an inscription of the lofty dreams.
The Walker Dream trail is only about a half mile out to the stone and placard but it does have a bit of elevation gain and is one of the rockier sections of the trail. The elevation gain briefly touches a 10% grade. Despite being one of the tougher sections of the trail it also has some of the nicest views.
The trail provides unobstructed views to the mountains and to Denver and pretty much everything in between!
Finishing at the Meadow
One of my favorite parts of the Mount Falcon Upper Loop is the giant meadow. So many of the hikes in the mountains of Colorado are either deep in the trees or the sides of steep mountains. It is rare to find a large swath of beautiful meadow and I really enjoyed spending time hiking around this one.
After finishing the whole loop your last leg of the hike is taking the Castle Trail back up to the top of the hill where you found the initial junction. This trail is steeper than you think! It is one of those surprising trails where it doesn’t seem like you are increasing a lot of elevation but all of a sudden you are breathing hard! The best part is that you are walking next to the beautiful meadow the entire time.
When you make it back to the junction at the top of the hill you can turn right to head back to the start of the hike or head over to one of the overlooks if you missed them on the front side of the hike. Hopefully, you enjoyed your time at Mount Falcon as much as I always do!
I have put together this time lapsed version of the hike to give you a feel of what the trail is like. If you enjoy the video make sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel. It is free and you will get all the latest updates.
Elevation and Distance
If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 4.76 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 636 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 7,848 feet. I was also moving for a total of 1 hour and 48 minutes.
Starting from the top section of Mount Falcon is much easier than starting at the East Trailhead and having to climb the mountain to get to the top. There are definitely some challenges with elevation especially around the overlook but for the most part the inclines are gradual and manageable.
The park at Mount Falcon is very well used and that leads to trails that are in really good shape. For the most part they are wide packed dirt trails that are easy to follow. As you get towards the edges of the park some of the trails narrow down to single file but they are still well defined and mostly easy to manage.
The West Trailhead for Mt Falcon Park is located at 21074 Mt Falcon Rd, Indian Hills, CO 80454. To get to the trailhead you will need to drive through a neighborhood and the speed limit is only 20 mph. The trailhead has room for about 20 cars and then there is an equally sized lot just down the street. There are some picnic tables around the lot and a pit toilet just about 100 yards down the Castle Trail.
Wrapping Up Mt. Falcon park to Walker Ruin
The Mount Falcon upper loop from the west trailhead is very popular and for very good reason. It is one of the most enjoyable hikes I have done close to Denver. There is a bit of history with the ruins. Plus, a bit of incline, a bit of forest, a lot of sunny meadow and it all combines into a wonderful experience.
Because it is so popular it can be a struggle to find a parking spot. Especially if you go a little later on a weekend morning. If you can find a place to park you will have a great time on the Mount Falcon Upper Loop.
I have added this hike and all of my hikes to my interactive map page that you can find here. If you have a suggestion or comment you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!