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Castle Rock via Elbert Creek


An approachable hike leads to a stunning view point from the top of Castle Rock.

Hiking Difficult

8.2 km
502 m
502 m
2-3 hrs
Low Point
2.7 km
High Point
3.2 km
Castle Rock via Elbert Creek Map

Rising to a modest height of 10,441 feet, Castle Rock is a high point along a ragged cliff band known as the "Hermosa Cliffs," which tower above Highway 550 north of Silverton. The ragged line of cliffs is beautiful from below, and for hikers who ascend to the top of the ridge, it yields even more stunning views from the top.


The hike's stats are pretty achievable in the world of peak climbing: just 5.5 miles round-trip with 1,745 feet of elevation gain. As a result, the effort-to-view ratio found on this climb is superb, making it a popular outing.

The climb begins from a trailhead directly off the highway, heading up through a towering grove of aspen trees. The trail soon begins to ascend the mountainside, switching back and forth to gain elevation. As you climb, you'll catch glimpses of Castle Rock towering high above you, beckoning you onward in pursuit of your eventual goal.

After some steep climbing on the front of the face, the trail mellows out a bit as it climbs to a beautiful meadow. On the edge of the meadow are two historic cabins which aren't open to public access but still provide an intriguing spot to stop, take a breather, and poke around.

After passing through the meadow, the hike takes a right turn onto an unsigned but heavily-traveled trail toward the top of Castle Rock. From here, the climbing gets dramatically steeper, with a few steep pitches and some loose, sliding dirt. After hiking through some dark timber stands, you'll soon reach the top of the cliff band and enjoy a spectacular view of the valley spread out below you.

You'll notice that the trail continues beyond the outcropping that is Castle Rock. While you can opt to continue along the trail, sources report that it runs for quite a long ways. Trying to create a loop would result in a dramatically longer adventure.

While the hike is a bit steep and loose in places, overall, Castle Rock is a very achievable climb. As such, it attracts many hikers looking to enjoy the views from the top of the mountain. While you'll have to share the trail with some other people, the hike is well worth the effort!



Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between June and October


  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area