Eldorado Canyon State Park is a state park in Boulder County, Colorado. Located near the town of Jamestown about 30 miles (48km) from Denver, it was established on May 3, 2004 and covers 2,936 acres (1,188ha). The area that now hosts the park used to be part of an immense sandstone formation known as the Black Forest which stretches diagonally across northern Colorado. As the North American Plate shifted westward over time, this region was crushed by the weight of the Rocky Mountains. This fault runs through the entire length of the park.
At least ten major peaks rise more than 6,500 feet (2,000m) above sea level; many are well over 13,000 feet (3,400m). Winds coming off the mountains during winter deliver snowfall up to 100 inches (250cm), mostly between November and April, with occasional storms throughout the year. Temperatures range from freezing to nearly 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius). Because of its high elevation, summertime temperatures often reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius).
Eldorado Canyon State Park features two main trails for hiking, the Fryingpan Trail and the Sandstone Trail. Both run approximately seven-eighths of a mile long and climb at least 600 feet (180 m) in elevation. A visitor center open daily offers exhibits, information, and videos about the natural and cultural history of the park. There is also a campground store where food, gifts, clothing, and basic camping gear can be purchased.
Eldorado Canyon State Park has three picnic areas, each accommodating up to 50 people, including 10 reserved sites. Camping facilities consist of tent pads and campsites, modern rest rooms, hot showers, and a sanitary dumping station. Half of the campsites are available on a first come, first served basis while the remainder must be booked. Reservations are accepted from mid-April through October 15. Onsite parking fees are waived for those who have reservations; however, there is a $10 per vehicle day use fee for those without reservations.
Fees are waived for honorably discharged veterans and their spouses. Passes good for three days or a week are also available; annual passes good at all eight parks charging fees are offered at a cost of $75 for out-of-state visitors or $60 for Colorado residents.
Other popular activities include:
- rock climbing
- wildlife viewing