Mount Falcon Park – Eastern Loop | Jefferson County Open Space
Morrison, CO | 01/16/21 | 7.88 miles | 1,796′ gain
This was a very last minute hike. I texted Allie at 9am asking if she wanted to go hiking – well, now. She was on board so we quickly picked a hike, packed our bags, and made it to the trailhead by 10:30, snagging the very last parking spot. Sometimes doing things last minute works out!
Mount Falcon Park is most commonly known for the Walker Home ruins, the remains of a grand mansion. I’d visited two years before from the west side, but Allie hadn’t made it up there yet and was itching to see the ruins for herself. It was an easy choice to start from the east side this time – new trails for me and a longer/more difficult hike.
The eastern trailhead is right outside the town of Morrison, very close to Denver. There are two trail options leaving this trailhead, the Turkey Trot Trail and the Castle Trail. We took the Turkey Trot Trail first, a hiker-only alternate to the busy Castle Trail. We were on Turkey Trot for 1.7 miles before reconnecting with the Castle Trail, which we took all the way to the “castle” or the Walker Home ruins.
Once we met up with the Castle Trail, we found the crowds. Mount Falcon Park is always busy, perhaps especially so on a beautiful Saturday. After 1.6 miles on the Castle Trail, we reached the Walker Home Ruins.
John B. Walker, a self-made millionaire, bought 4,000 acres including what is now Mount Falcon Park. Construction began on the mansion in 1909; a grand home plenty big enough for John, his wife, and their children. There were ten bedrooms, a music room, a library, and servants’ quarters. Sadly, Mrs. Walker died in 1916 and lightning struck the home in 1918, burning it to the ground. Soon after, Walker left Colorado for good. All that remains of the mansion are a few stone walls, but it’s not difficult to imagine how grand this mansion once was.
After exploring the ruins, we headed back down the Castle Trail. We made a quick detour to the Summer White House site down a 0.4 mile side trail. Another of John Walker’s dreams, the Summer White House was to be a retreat for US Presidents. Modeled after European castles, Walker had designs drawn up and the cornerstone was laid in 1914. Soon after, Walker switched his focus to other projects and the Summer White House was never finished.
From the Summer White House, we followed the Castle Trail 2.5 miles back to the trailhead.