Rattlesnake Gulch Trail | Eldorado Canyon State Park
Eldorado Springs, CO | 02/22/20| 3.54 miles | 748′ gain
After our trip to sunny California and Arizona, it was a little rough coming back to Colorado winter. I met up with my friend Allie for a moderate hike to the Crags Hotel Ruins in Eldorado Canyon State Park. We threw our microspikes on at the trailhead and kept them on the entire hike.
The trail ascends out of Eldorado Canyon into Rattlesnake Gulch. It probably wasn’t all that steep but I was really feeling it after being near sea level for a week. The trail switchbacks and then crosses a bridge. We saw something strange peeking out of the trees.
There was nothing to indicate what we’d found and we couldn’t see inside, but our guesses included a bunker, storage building, or something to enclose a pipeline. What do you think?
The trail climbs out of the gulch and contours around the hillside to the Crags Hotel Ruins. The ruins themselves aren’t very far from the trailhead so we soon reached them only to find they were covered in snow. Well duh.
There isn’t much left to see even without a layer of snow. The Crags Hotel was built in 1908 and offered a mountainous retreat for any willing to travel to it. Patrons could come via railroad, tramway, or car on Crags Boulevard (now the Rattlesnake Gulch Trail). Sadly, the hotel burned down in 1912 and no one was ever able to figure out the cause.
The Rattlesnake Gulch Trail forms a lollipop loop, but we found the south half of the loop closed for raptor nesting. We were able to continue on to the Continental Divide Overlook, however, and it was a short and easy trek from the ruins. Not only did the overlook have views of the Continental Divide, but we were able to look down into Eldorado Canyon and even see where the hotel once stood.
Since we couldn’t continue along the loop, we retraced our steps back to the car. A fun and quick hike to get re-acclimated to cold, snow, and altitude.