Trailhead: West Parking Lot (Note: Mount Falcon can also be accessed on the east side via Highway 8)
Activities: Hiking, Mountain Biking, Snowshoeing, Skiing
Closest City / Town: Morrison, Colorado
- Head west out of Denver on Highway 285;
- Take the Indian Hills turn-off from U.S. Highway 285, and follow Parmalee Gulch Road for 5 miles to Picutis Road;
- Hang a right on Picutis Road and follow the signs to the west parking area.
Hiking Distance: 4.6 Miles (roundtrip)
Description: There are a ton of hiking options at Jefferson County’s Mount Falcon Park. We have hiked every inch of every trail in the park; the hike described here is our favorite because it provides the greatest amount of solitude, in addition to exhibiting the best large-landscape views!
From the west parking lot, follow the Castle Trail for .8 miles (don’t forget to visit the John Brisben Walker Castle along the way, which is located about .6 miles into the hike). Next, hang a right on the Meadow Trail.
After .3 miles, you’ll hit a trail junction; take a left onto the Old Ute Trail. From here, you can loop your way out onto the Devil’s Elbow Trail. Once you complete the Devil’s Elbow Loop, follow the Ute Trail back to the west.
Next, you’ll want to hang a left on the Parmalee Trail. Follow this trail for 2.0 miles back to the parking area.
Worth Noting: Mount Falcon has a long and interesting history. Most of its more recent history is dominated by the influence of John Brisben Walker, the same man who was responsible for the development of the Red Rocks Amphitheater. Walker cobbled together a fortune through numerous ventures – of greatest significance were his purchase of Cosmopolitan Magazine and land speculation endeavors. He was also the owner of the Stanley Steamer Company.
John Brisben Walker owned more than 4,000 acres of land near Morrison. During the early 1900’s, he built an exquisite stone house on Mount Falcon. He also had grand plans to build a summer home for U.S. presidents on the property. The construction of the Summer White House failed in its infancy, due to the fact that Walker lost his wealth while trying to construct the facility. Nonetheless, the foundation and cornerstone for the Summer White House can still be viewed on Mount Falcon to this day.
As for Walker’s home, it burned down in 1918; all that remains of this century-old structure are its large stone walls (see the above photo) and numerous fireplaces. Like his house, his fortune also deteriorated by the time of his death. Walker died in 1931.
As far as day hikes near Denver go, it’s going to be tough to beat Mount Falcon and its views of Denver and Red Rocks Amphitheater.