Echo Canyon Trail starts at the Devil's Kitchen parking lot in Colorado National Monument. That is a very popular area and the parking lot is known to fill at times. Instead of waiting for a space to free up, drive into Devil's Kitchen Picnic area and start the run from there. Watch for traffic when walking along the road.
The trail starts at the south end of the parking lot along with three other trails: No Thoroughfare, Devil's Kitchen and Old Gordon. The trail is well marked with signs showing which path to follow for each of these trails. Run Old Gordon Trail
for a bit before branching off onto Echo Canyon Trail.
After a short drop downhill from the parking lot, the trail starts to climb steadily upward during the first mile. It climbs about 800ft before turning away from Old Gordon Trail
. Much of this uphill part of the run is across bare sandstone. In the spring time, you can see some nice pockets of wildflowers blooming. Cactus flowers are particularly nice to enjoyable with their bright pink, red or yellow flowers.
The trail now heads downhill and then bends right into Echo Canyon. Soon you'll be running through a small forest of cottonwood trees towering overhead. In spring, these trees shed tufts of white seed material that looks just like cotton. At times when the wind blows the falling "cotton" looks like a blizzard of snow. In the fall, these trees turn a pretty yellow. If you are lucky there will be water in the small creek and the sound of water trickling over rocks will add to the appeal of this quiet canyon.
The trail dips and rises over sandy hills then twists and turns through a boulder-strewn canyon.
The trail ends at a magnificent dry pour-off, where cottonwood trees again provide some cooling shade. A perfect spot to sit and enjoy a quiet snack or picnic. Of course, you might also want to give a shout to hear the great echo that bounces back from the high walls around you.