On my first day in Colorado I started at Eldorado Canyon State Park. It took a little bit to find the parks entrance. Now when I say a little bit, I really mean it was NUTS. You are driving through this little town on a residential street. Except that this residential street is all sand and gravel. Not a big deal right? Wrong! There are holes everywhere. So many that you cannot avoid them.
Yes, you read that correctly. H-O-L-E-S. You must be thinking “what the heck?!” Believe me, I was thinking something very similar. I almost turned around twice! Rumor has it that the locals come out at night and do ‘upkeep’ on the holes. Now by upkeep, I mean Dig Them. Apparently since there are no sidewalks in this neighborhood they want to ensure that people drive slowly to protect their children. The best way to get people to slow down is to dig many holes that are deep enough you have to slow down to 5-8 mph to preserve your vehicle, but shallow enough you don’t get stuck.
This picture of the interesting designs and grooves in the rocks though out the park.
Once you are through 4 miles of this chaos you enter the State Park grounds. Here the roads are very nice and smooth – still gravel, but maintained and drive-able. You pay a small fee and voila you get into the park and receive a map. There are seven designated parking areas inside the park near various landmarks.
The rock walls go straight up! It is so impressive how smooth and vertical they are.
Near the main entrance there are large rock formations. Standing next to them you feel small and are taken aback by their height and erectness – yup, they stand rock solid at attention for all of you whose minds are in the gutters.
There are various paths which quite honestly I appreciate. I took a short stroll down a narrow gravel path and found this cave and these rocks. This reminded me of a childhood vacation Devil’s Tower where we learned of a GIANT mythical bear that carved vertical lines into the stone structure. The striations throughout the rock at Eldorado made me reminiscence. Ahhh…childhood, to be young again.
When the path became to narrow and uneven for my walking gait I performed a less than graceful 180 startling two young girls (early 20’s) who were following me. After a chuckle I backtracked to the beginning of the path. At this point I re-hydrated because HOLY COW is it dry in Colorado!! I felt like I was parched, in the middle of a dessert…I opted for the long mostly flat gravel road, considering this my safest bet. I approached another almost completely vertical rock wall. All of a sudden I noticed movement and glanced up. I was surrounded by crazy people, crazy talented, nutso people.
I would like to take a moment to clarify, these are my favorite types of people. If I weren’t a parent or if I didn’t have Transverse Myelitis I would LOVE to be one of these local loons. How fun! Exciting! Exhilarating! Just think of all those wonderful endorphin’s and the sense of accomplishment they receive not just when they make it to the top, BUT when they make to the bottom and live!!
I was a total tourist / creeper (yup I’m okay with that). I sat there at the bottom – in a safe area where they wouldn’t fall on me) and watched them for a good 20 minutes. It was kinda stressful, I won’t lie. I was not emotionally invested in any of these individuals, yet I was holding my breath every time they would reach far or take what I deemed a risky move with my zero experience and climbing knowledge. It definitely got my adrenaline pumping.
After my bought of voyeurism I continued on my way to this gem of a spring. Now the angle was not great because just off the path was a 4 foot steep slope of sand and gravel. I knelt right on the edge of danger. In my condition I knew if I slid down there would be no getting back up…so safe picture taking it is.
Once I had thoroughly exhausted my energy and sprained my ankle in a few places I hobbled back to the car in defeat. Then I left the park to drive around just to see what I could see. This old wooden barn with the brick silo caught my attention. I love the long grasses of various colors and the wooden fence. Occasionally I try to get artsy and take chances with my pictures. This was one of them. I adjusted my depth of field to have the second fence post in focus and the rest slightly blurred. I really like how it turned out.
So after spending an afternoon in the park, I definitely recommend visiting Eldorado Springs if you get the opportunity. There are plenty of paths for all ability levels. It is gorgeous and there are multiple parking areas so you can efficiently visit each portion of the park. You can see the athletically gifted and fearless climbers and take in nature.
Thanks for reading!