Castlewood Canyon State Park is a Colorado state park near Franktown, Colorado. Castlewood Canyon State Park is one of Colorado's treasures. This jewel of the prairie is about 30 miles southeast of Denver. You can see part of the canyon off Highway 83 just south of Franktown. Also contained within the park is the historic Cherry Creek Bridge.
Whether you're a Colorado native or not, the Centennial state shines when it comes to outdoor recreation. This park hosts a multitude of hiking/running trails, handicapped access trails and rock climbing opportunities, as well as a nature preservation area on the eastern side that is home to wildlife and interesting geological features.
The park sits on 2,600 acres with 17 miles of trails and there's much more to the state park than meets the eye. It retains a unique part of Colorado's history, the remains of Castlewood Canyon Dam. The dam was built in 1889 and eighty-nine men worked tirelessly for 11 months to build the wall that would retain a large body of water behind it.
After the dam was completed, people would ride their buggies out to the dam and would spend a week out there, camp along the sides, and fish.
The dam failed after days of thunderstorms and rain as disaster struck on August 3, 1933. It was 43-years-old when it let go. Fifteen feet of water rushed down the Cherry Creek. The water made it all the way to downtown Denver, flooding the streets. The partial dam still sits on the west side of the park. If you're caught climbing on it, you could be fined up to $50 a person.
The ruins have a sense of beauty now and Cherry Creek Reservoir now serves as a replacement of the Castlewood Canyon dam.
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