The Philip S. Miller Park in Castle Rock is growing in popularity as a great place for a workout or a hike. There’s the 200-step Challenge Hill and six miles of trails over five loops (directions below).
Challenge Hill is a great place to start because the 200 steps on the side of a hill will get you warmed up on a cold day. Lots of people just hit the staircase, going up and down, but there’s more to this park. Crews have built five loops at the park — all named after colors — the 0.5-mile Blue Loop, the 1.7-mile Red Loop, the 1.2-mile Green Loop, the 1.7-mile Gold Loop and the 0.9-mile Purple Loop.
After hiking the Red and Green loops on my last visit, this time I hit the Gold and Purple loops, but I always start with Challenge Hill. Just head up the stairs, taking your time, jogging or running up– whatever you prefer.
At the top, there are two chairs with a view of Castle Rock. Take a break and when you’re ready, instead of going back down the stairs, take the trail at the top of the stairs. It winds past one of the Zipline Tour Towers and heads back down the front side of the hill. This is actually the Blue Loop.
Just before you finish the loop, you’ll come to a trail split and a trail going southwest, away from the main parking lot. That’s the trail to the other loops. Follow the little dirt access trail about 0.2 miles to a post with a red arrow. That’s the Red Loop. While that’s not the destination for this hike, go right on the red trail. Follow the Red Loop Trail about 0.4 miles to the Gold Loop. Turn right and start following the signs for the gold trail.
The Gold Loop is a nice, easy trail through the small hills that are very typical of trails in Castle Rock. The ups and downs are mostly short and while you’ll get a workout, the climbs are never more than 25-40 feet in elevation. The Gold Loop passes through some sections with short scrub oak trees, but there’s no shade. If you come here in the middle of the day in the summer, it’s going to be very hot. But in the winter, these trails are great. Just be prepared for ice, snow and mud.
After about a half mile on the Gold Trail, you’ll come to a trail split. There’s a turnoff to head back to the trailhead/parking lot. There’s a turnoff for the Purple Loop or you can stay on the Gold Loop. Taking the Purple Loop adds about 0.9 miles, so we headed that way. The Purple Loop starts with a nice climb. The trail winds around a butte, ending back at the Gold Loop. Veer right and continue on the Gold Loop.
This is the longer and most scenic part of this hike. The Gold Loop winds around the northwest area of the property and I do mean winds. You’ll hike around several hillsides and near new homes being built in the area. There are a couple spots in the trees here, but they’re pretty short. Near the end of the Gold Loop, you’ll find yourself on a ridge with a view. You’ll be able to see Pikes Peak in the distance to the south and the Continental Divide in the distance to the northwest.
Soon the Gold Trail drops back down to a road crossing and soon you’ll see turnoffs for Green Loop and the Red Loop. Take either or both loops to add some mileage or turn left on the Red Loop, heading back to the parking lot.
Details: The staircase, loop back down, then a hike around the Gold and Purple loops is about 4.7 miles with 600 feet of elevation gain with all the ups and downs.
There are lots of Castle Rock hikes and Douglas County hikes including Spruce Mountain, Dawson Butte, Mitchell Creek and The Rock. Find more Colorado hiking trail hikes across the state in this list of 400+ hikes. Don’t miss any of my trip reports, sign up for an email alert by clicking on subscribe at the bottom of this page.
Learn more about the Philip S Miller Park on the Castle Rock website. Get a map of the park here.
Directions: From I-25, take the Wolfensburger Parkway exit. Drive west 1.4 miles to Plum Creek Parkway. Turn south and drive 0.6 miles to the park. You may also Google 1375 West Plum Creek Parkway, Castle Rock for directions.