Bear Creek Trail to Panorama Point
Date Hiked: October 8, 2014
- Distance: 3.3 mi (RT)
- Elevation Gain: 763ft
- Elevation Min/Max: 6,671 to 7,382ft
- Managing Agency: Denver Mountain Parks
- Fee: None
Corwina Park Trail Map (Denver Mt. Parks)
BCT to Panorama Point Trail Map (Google Maps)
Directions: From Denver take I-70w to C470e. Exit at Morrison and take Morrison Rd through town and up Bear Creek Canyon. After you pass through Idledale look for the Corwina Park Parking Area. There will be a lot on the right (north) of the road and a pull through on the left (south). Park at either spot.
The Bear Creek Trail (BCT) extends from Little Park all the way to Pence Park. While hiking the entire trail is a lengthy proposition, there are various segments that make nice day hikes or quick outings. Panorama Point is a great destination and can be accessed via the BCT.
Starting at the Corwina Park parking area find the small trail sign pointing towards the Bear Creek Trail. The trail starts along the side of the road and then crosses over Bear Creek on a wide cement bridge. Just after the bridge you'll see a trail sign for Bear Creek Trail and the trail that heads up the east flank of the mountain. The trail switchbacks up through the forest providing various viewpoints up and down Bear Creek Canyon. You will also see signs marking open space boundaries, the trail weaves between Denver Mountain Parks and Jefferson County Open Space (Lair 'o the Bear Park). At the 1 mile mark there is a rock outcropping that provides the first views west towards Mt. Evans.
Follow the trail for another .5 mile and when you see the 1.5 mile marker, look to the opposite side of the trail. You'll see a log blocking the unofficial and unsigned trail up to Panorama Point. If you really want to stick to the official trails keep on the BCT until it intersects with the Panorama Point Trail, otherwise follow the unofficial trail up for just a short way until you pop out at Panorama Point. Panorama Point is a large rock outcropping and has great views to the west. If you're here in the morning or early afternoon with good weather then you have a terrific straight on view of the Mt. Evans Massif. In the later afternoon the sun will obscure your view but it is still worth all the effort to get there.
This trail is very very popular with mountain bikers, make sure you are listening for them as you turn corners on switchbacks.