There is a daily fee of $8 to enter the park. All 5 runs I've done on this trail it has rained and/or hailed -- bring a rain jacket!
This trail climbs to the 7,166 foot Carpenter Peak which is the high point in Roxborough State Park. Be sure to take the Carpenter Peak Spur
to check out the views from the summit of Carpenter Peak.
The trail immediately starts to climb up rail tie steps with sometimes intense sun exposure. Bring a hat! At about 1 mile, the path will start to switch-back up the first ridge toward the first fantastic views back down the park. After a couple more ridge switch-backs, you have views to Denver and the plains beyond.
At two miles, you'll come over and then down the last ridge to the end of a small valley. During this section, you can see the rocky summit of Carpenter Peak to the northwest. After crossing the small gulch to the other side of the valley, you'll continue up the east side of Carpenter in a northerly direction until you reach the summit ridge and another trail junction. Stay right to continue on the Carpenter Peak Spur
to the summit.
There are large rocks and ledges to the right of the peak that afford amazing views down into the park and up the Hogback all the way to Long's Peak. The true summit is reached by a short but fun scramble from these rocks or, for the less adventurous, a few small steps up from the left, or west, side of the summit. The summit has 360-degree views including up Waterton Canyon
The surrounding red rock formations are truly impressive dramatic hogbacks, spires, and monoliths of sandstone. Additionally, the park is impressive in the spring for wildflowers, and the fall for autumn colors. While this trail is steep in sections, the climb up to Carpenter Peak is well worth the effort.
The Carpenter Trail connects to Powerline Trail, Elk Valley Trail
, and County Road 5
for those looking to make a loop or add some mileage to their run.
For spring wildflowers or for fall colors, this run amongst impressive red rock formations is worth doing twice in a year. Mule deer and various song birds are common. Black bear and mountain lion have been spotted.