Located just outside Denver, Colorado, the beautifully picturesque Mount Falcon Park is well worth a visit. Open daily from 5am to 11pm, it makes for a wonderful hike with several trails around the area, combining to around 12.2 miles. This is where the 114-year-old Walker Castle Ruins are located, built by John Brisben Walker in 1909. Located within the foothills of the Front Range of the famous Rocky Mountains, Mount Falcon Park sits approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park. To reach the park, it takes approximately 40-60 minutes from Denver area, and about 20 minutes from Red Rocks Amphitheater.
There are two main trailheads, with 12-miles of various trails splintering from each: the Mount Falcon West Trailhead, located on Mount Falcon Road in Indian Hills, and the Mount Falcon Morrison Trailhead, located on Vine Street in Morrison. Almost all the trails at Mount Falcon Park are multi-use, i.e. hiking, E-bikes, mountain bikes, dogs (leashed only), and horseback riding. Only the 1.7-mile Turkey Trot Trail is hiking and equestrian only. We chose the Morrison Trailhead since we were coming from nearby Red Rocks Amphitheater, which is located in Morrison, Colorado.
One of the main destinations within Mount Falcon Park are the Walker Castle Ruins. It sits at the end of the Castle Trail, after a 2,000-foot elevation gain, which can be somewhat challenging. As mentioned, the home was built by John Brisben Walker, a prominent man during the 1800’s to early 1900’s, who founded the well-known Cosmopolitan Magazine and co-founded the Locomobile Company of America. He became a self-made millionaire by 1905, purchasing more than 4,000 acres of Colorado mountain land, including where Mount Falcon Park is located. The home was built in 1909 by stonemasons from Italy and included ten bedrooms, an observation deck, a library, a music room, eight fireplaces, and a servant’s quarters.
Sadly, just 9 years later in 1918, the grand home was struck by lightning, which caused it to be completely destroyed. Devastated, Walker left Colorado for good soon after. All that remains now are the ruins, which you are not allowed to walk through. While only the stones remain of the home, it’s still a fascinating historical site, as John Brisben Walker was a key figure in helping preserve the beautiful Colorado mountains, so that they can be enjoyed to this very day.
As mentioned, there are numerous trails within the park, varying in difficulty from easy to hard. Some of the main trails include the Parmalee Trail Loop, Meadow Trail, Ole Ute Trail, Mount Falcon Lookout Trail, Castle Trail, and Turkey Trot Trail. There are other, smaller trails as well, which connect many of the main trails. We reached the Walker Castle Ruins by starting at the Morrison Trailhead, taking the Parmalee Trail Loop which connects to Castle Trail, and eventually leading to the ruins. On our way back, we took Meadow Trail to Parmalee Trail Loop (please see below).
Overall, if you’re ever in the Denver or Morrison area, I suggest taking a trip to Mount Falcon Park and going for a beautiful, relaxing hike! It’s a wonderful area with spectacular views of the Rockies, a place you can get fresh mountain air, and just enjoy nature. The Walker Castle Ruins make for a great day-hike, especially for the history buffs. The trails are very easy, flat, and doable, and my Nana in her 80’s was able to navigate them just fine. Honestly, the only challenging part will be the 2,000-foot elevation rise to the ruins. Check it out!