Roxborough Park, at once charming and idyllic, offers a quiet paradise of exposed geologic time and wildlife with a short but worthwhile hike to a surprising perch above the evergreens of the nearby canyons and housing developments. This a very unique State Park and is worth a visit at least once in your lifetime.
If not for its place within Roxborough, Carpenter Peak might be overlooked. This shouldn't be so, as it surveys the expanses of this magical place from high above. One might attain the summit block via Waterton Canyon or the Colorado Trail from the west; however, the Carpenter Peak Trail offers the day hiker a much more modest approach.
From the entrance station at Roxborough State Park (entry fee required), follow the road for 2 miles to the parking lot at the visitor center. The road is gravel for about a mile and then becomes a nice paved road with speed bumps. The speed limit is 20 mph, so watch for the speed bumps! There is only this one road and it ends at the visitor center. From the parking lot, you can reach the visitor center in about 200 feet via either the road or the more civilized sidewalk.
The Carpenter Peak trailhead is located just west of the visitor's center in Roxborough State Park. It is well marked and visible from the visitor center.
The trail starts out through some dense scrub brush just below some beautiful red rock formations. As the trail tapers south, it opens up to a large meadow and then turns west. The huge formations to the south offer fantastic photo opportunties, and often this is where you might see white tail deer grazing. Cross a gravel road and continue on the very well-defined trail as it starts to gain elevation. Pass a few benches, which seem to be dispersed along the trail at half-mile intervals, until you see Carpenter Peak at the northern (right) end of the long ridge in front of you. Don't spend too much time on the benches though...these are what I call mountain lion buffet tables.
Persevere along the easy trail as it switchbacks toward Carpenter Peak at all signed trail junctions. Carpenter Peak is the highest rocky point at the north end of the ridge that runs north to south. Continue on the trail as it winds through the forest until you arrive at the last trail junction, which is signed. Take a right for 0.1 miles to the rocky summit. The summit boulders offer lots of space for a picnic but the summit block fits only about 4 people. Share it with your fellow hikers!
Essential GearBasic hiking essentials for a 3-4 hour hike through the woods.
In winter, snowshoes or microspikes would be useful as some portions of the trail become icy and snow packed from lack of sun exposure and moderate traffic.