Staunton SP

Staunton SP

Monday, May 28, 2012

Castle > Summer White House > Turkey Trot Trails, Mt. Falcon Park

Castle Trail > Walker's Dream Trail to Summer White House > Turkey Trot Trails
Mount Falcon Park, East Side Trailhead

Date Hiked: May 28, 2012

  • Distance: 6.5 mi (RT)
  • Elevation Gain: 1,600 ft
  • Elevation Min/Max: 6,003 to 7,626ft
  • Managing Agency: Jefferson County Open Space
  • Fee: None

Mt. Falcon Park Website (Jeffco)
Castle>Summer White House>Turkey Trot Trail Map (Google Maps)

Directions:  From Denver, take I-70 or Hwy 6 to C470 south.  Exit at the Morrison Exit and head West through the town.  Just after you cross town, make a left (south) on Route 8.  Pass by the Morrison Natural History Museum and turn right (west) on Forest Ave.  There should be a sign for Mt. Falcon Open Space.  Turn right on Vine St to the parking area.

Mt. Falcon from the East trailhead is my go-to after work training hike, or really anytime that I want to get a great workout without driving very far.  There are 2 options, go all the way up to the Summer White House ruins, or do the 3 mile Castle>Turkey Trot Loop.  Even the 3 mile hike is a great workout.

It's not just that this hike is an outdoor gym, it is also extremely scenic.  You get tremendous views the entire time.  The start of the hike rolls along the foothills with great views back towards the Dakota Hogback.  As you climb steadily the views stretch across the foothills.  Once you reach the junction with the Turkey Trot trail, you pass through evergreen forest and are granted some relief from the sun, the lower part is mostly exposed.  Continuing up you will be looking down on a working granite quarry, not the best of views, but you can look past to the south for views of Douglas County and Castle Rock.  Continue to climb the trail up to the saddle where you can take a rest at the covered pavilion.

I suggest taking the Walker's Dream trail up to the right.  This is a very cool trail.  You'll have many rocky boulders to climb and relax upon and numerous viewpoints looking to the East and West. Once you reach the end of the trail you are not only greeted by educational signs about the Summer White House, but you also get great views of the Continental Divide and Mt. Evans.  By the way, the ruins are actually of an attempted summer version of the White House that John Walker had designed for President Woodrow Wilson.  Funding for the project dried up, World War I began, and nothing more than a foundation was ever built...sorry John...

When you're done, head back down the Castle trail but this time, take the Turkey Trot Trail for the lower portion of the hike.  The trail will descend through pine forest, then climb again to a ridge with terrific views of Morrison Canyon, Mt. Morrison, and Red Rocks Amphitheater.  From here it is a quick, steep mile back to the trailhead.

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