Castle Rock, Colorado is appropriately named: after the castle shape-topped butte that sits just East of the town.

Castle Rock is the 16th-largest municipality in Colorado and the largest “town” in the state, as well as the most populous place in Denver’s neighboring Douglas County. Heading South from Denver, the scenery quickly and drastically changed on the drive down I-25, introducing evergreen trees and both sloping and jagged landscapes, largely absent in Highlands Ranch just to the North.

On a warm early February afternoon, my girlfriend and I took the short drive down to Castle Rock to check out the towns iconic landmark via a hike. The area was accessible via Rock Park. Spoilers, which we didn’t realize at first: the top of the rock isn’t exactly accessible on your own. I’m not quite sure if proper climbing equipment is the only way to reach the summit (there was a “do not climb” slope on the East side of the trail that appeared traversable without equipment, but this seemed especially treacherous with ice and snow present) but someone was dangling their feet from the top on this particular day.

Rock Park in Castle Rock, Colorado

Hiked On: February 4, 2023

Distance: 1.53 miles

Elevation Gain: 353 feet

Time: 57 minutes, 35 seconds

While graffiti breaks the number one rule of leave no trace, I found this interesting: some kind of tape, displaying a Google map view of the park.
No hike is complete without a nice meal after, so we headed to a local Castle Rock Italian Restaurant: Z’abbracci.
Happy Hour brought great prices on appetizers (we got fried Risotto balls) and Colorado local tap (Hop Peak IPA, Breckenridge Brewing Co.), and we topped it all off with a pizza with wild mushroom, goat cheese, balsamic glaze, and covered in arugula. It was a great experience and would definitely recommend it: especially during their daily Happy Hour.

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