Open Space and Trails
Beautiful parks, well planned trails and abundant open space are a few of the things that make Castle Rock a great place to call home. The Parks, Open Space and Trails Division makes it a priority that residents be able to explore the great outdoors right from their own backyard. So, take a hike with the kids, enjoy the great outdoors or sneak a peak at local wildlife.
Most residents would agree, Castle Rock has some of the most beautiful trails and open space in Colorado. With 87 miles of trails and more than 6,000 acres of open space that define the region’s most prominent features, you never know what kind of adventure will be waiting for you.
Download a map, and get out there and enjoy it. Click here to visit our trail conditions page and view our interactive trail condition map.
Summer Trails Exploration Program
In demonstrating the Town’s commitment to health and wellness, and to promote use of the Town’s scenic trails, we invited everyone to get outdoors during the summer and explore with the Summer Trails Exploration Program, or STEP. STEP was recognized by the Colorado Parks and Recreation Association as the most innovative program in Colorado in 2015, winning the Columbine Award for Programming.
East Plum Creek Trail South Extension
The East Plum Creek Trail is the Town’s main north south spine trail which travels through the riparian corridor of the East Plum Creek, and is the Town’s most widely used paved trail. The 10 foot wide concrete trail is not only the most widely-used trail connecting the Meadows community to downtown Castle Rock and south, it is also part of the larger trail system known as the Colorado Front Range Trail, which will eventually connect communities along the Front Range from Wyoming to New Mexico.
Currently the EPC trail travels six miles from Castle View High School to south Perry Street. The final southern segment to be constructed by the town is a two mile stretch from south Perry Street to Crystal Valley Parkway, where it will connect to the Lanterns development and the Douglas County trail systems and beyond to completed trail sections through Colorado Springs and Fountain, Colorado.
The Town of Castle Rock was awarded a $1 million grant to fund the southern extension, Phase 5, of the EPC trail. The grant is part of Great Outdoor Colorado’s Connect Initiative Program, focusing on connecting existing trail gaps and providing increased access to outdoor recreation. This grant marks the largest Great Outdoors Colorado Grant the Town of Castle Rock has ever received. The East Plum Creek Trail is also part of a larger statewide trail system called the Colorado Front Range Trail. This is the final portion of the Colorado Front Range Trail within Castle Rock to be completed by the Town. Final design is being competed with construction planned for 2018.
Keepers of the Rock
The Castle Rock Municipal Court identified the need for community service opportunities for low-level offenders at the same time the Parks and Recreation Department voiced the need for assistance in maintaining trails and landscaping at its iconic Rock Park. Through mandated service, defendants learn the importance of investing manpower through the beautification of the local community. Youth receive mentorship through Keepers of the Rock and are further empowered by participating on future Teen Court peer review cases. Keepers of the Rock accounted for over 20 percent of all Parks and Recreation Department volunteer hours in 2016.
Wolfensberger Pedestrian Bridge
To provide better connectivity to Philip S. Miller Park and its trail system, the Town constructed a 155 foot pedestrian bridge over Wolfensberger Road, linking Philip S. Miller Park with both Ridgeline Open Space and the Meadows community. The connection creates a continuous 17 mile trail loop on a connected 650 acres of park and open space property. The bridge provides an important link on a future major trail loop through Town, providing opportunities for special events and enhancing the experience of trail users as well as safety concerns of crossing a major roadway. Also included with the bridge construction was the layout and construction of connection trails at both Philip S. Miller Park and Ridgeline Open Space. Park staff designed and built 1,300 linear feet of soft-surface trail to complete the link and open the crossing to the public.
The Town of Castle Rock embraces conservation throughout parks, trails and open space. Currently, roughly 30 percent of the Town is designated open space. The Town demonstrates a commitment to appropriate land use planning and resource conservation through various programming, projects and outings.
Preble’s Habitat Conservation Plan Renewal
As part of the Town’s commitment to conservation, the Parks and Recreation Department must ensure habitat conservation along trails and in parks and open space. The original Incidental Take Permit associated with the Douglas County Habitat Conservation Plan (DCHCP) for the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse expired on May 11, 2016, ten years from initial issuance. The renewal process has been initiated with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for a 10 year extension of the original permit and mitigation requirements established in the DCHCP. The renewal process includes the renewal to the Intergovernmental Agreement between the Town of Castle Rock, Town of Parker and the Board of County Commissioners of the County of Douglas for the continued implementation of the DCHCP, as well as the authorization for the application for the renewal of the Incidental Take Permit. These documents were submitted to the USFWS Endangered Species Permit Office before the permit expiration date and the applicants received written confirmation from the USFWS Colorado Field Office that the Habitat Conservation Plan and Incidental Take Permit coverage remain effective throughout the renewal process. With the renewal of the Take Permit and IGA, the Town can proceed with the completion of the remaining list of identified road, bridge, trail and utility projects (known as Covered Activities) within Preble’s habitat, such as the Festival Park Project, East Plum Creek Trail Phase 5 and new water and sewer infrastructure for the Utilities Department. Required paperwork has been submitted to the USFWS and is being updated in order for the renewal to be processed.
Wild in our Town
Wild in our Town is an event that provides an informative education presentation to area residents on local wildlife that includes facts on wildlife, tips to avoid wildlife conflicts, ways to protect pets, advice for wildlife watching and displays of nearly 20 different types of animals, from a mountain lion to a porcupine. The program also provides the public an opportunity to speak directly with local wildlife representatives such as Natural Resource Specialists, County Park Rangers and Castle Rock Animal Control Officers. Updates will be provided on our webpage regarding the next Wild in our Town event.
In response to ongoing flooding from beaver activity along East Plum Creek and Sellars Gulch that has caused maintenance issues on the East Plum Creek Trail and the Sellars Gulch Trail in the downtown area, Town staff applies a mix of sand and paint to healthy native trees as protection from girdling and felling by active beavers in the area. The sand-paint mix has proved effective as an inexpensive protection measure against beaver activity. Volunteers do not paint trees that are unhealthy, such as having lighting strikes or multi-trunked, in order to leave some as food and building materials for the native beavers.
Media coverage of the volunteer work effort and the benefits from saving native trees (wildlife habitat, shade, erosion control, scenery) have been done in previous years.