With the Rockies as Denver’s backyard playground, it feels like the mountains are constantly beckoning. Unfortunately we can’t always make time to get out into the the thick of the backcountry. Sometimes we just need a little micro adventure to satisfy our nature cravings. Luckily the Front Range has an extensive number of hikes just an hour away from the Queen City. Panorama Point is one of them.
Corwina Park is a little slice of wilderness just outside Denver in the Rocky Mountain foothills. It may be small, but the Panorama Point Trail will give you the sensation of being “out there” without having to travel too far. Once you reach the top you will be rewarded with striking views of Mt. Evans and the Continental Divide.
A drive up Bear Creek Canyon will lead you toward two mountain towns, Kittredge and Evergreen. All along Bear Creek Road North, there are a handful of popular destinations like Lair O’ the Bear and O’Fallon Park. These parks tend to be bustling and a bit overcrowded on the weekends. However, when those parks are packed, you can often still find solitude here at Corwina.
The parking lot can be easy to miss, but keep an eye out for the Corwina Park sign on your left and you should have little trouble finding it. The trailhead is just a few yards from the parking lot. A map of the park is posted on your left, and the trail heads east into the mountain. Right at the start you will see a seasonal stream to your right. The trail will follow this most of the way.
Head straight back into the mountains and you will find yourself strolling through a shady oasis with forest on either sides.
The trail narrows slightly as you continue gaining elevation. This steady, gradual incline will lead you further into forest as giant rock formations tower over you on the left. Eventually the trail opens up into a meadow area and begins to flatten out substantially. As you hike the level terrain for about a quarter of a mile, the path emerges from the shade of the woods and then intersects with the Bear Creak Trail. Stay on the PPT.
Very soon after this junction, you will come to yet another intersection with the BCT. This time, either direction will take you to the top, but to get there on the BCT you will have to keep an eye out for a somewhat difficult to spot use trail. Because the Bear Creek Trail is also heavily trafficked with mountain bikers, we recommend staying on the Panorama Trail.
Here you will have reached the steepest part of the hike. A short but steep incline, less than half a mile will lead you to the top. You will meet a set of rock stairs signifying that you’re almost there. Just a bit farther and you will come to the summit of Panorama Point.
Here it is easy to see why the Panorama Trail is named as such: A rocky outcropping makes for a perfect spot to stop and break, picnic, or hang out. For those of you who like to hike with hammocks, there are a few nice trees looking out over the view to strap up and chill out.
Looking west from here you will clearly see Mt. Evans and the Continental Divide. Just below that view is the town of Evergreen, and even closer to you is Kittredge.
Once you’ve taken in every ounce of beauty on this trail, head back down the way you came on the PPT. Especially keep an eye and ear out for downhill mountain bikers on your descent.
When you’ve made it all the way down and back to the parking lot, you may be feeling pretty amped up about your super awesome micro adventure. So why not extend it? Head up the road a ways to Kittredge or Evergeen and stop into one of the many shops and restaurants. A local favorite is Revival Brews, a new brewery with an affection for bluegrass music, a great selection of beer, and an amazing menu. The patio outside in the summer time is phenomenal for relaxing and hanging out. Great for the family and friends. Whether you’re hungry for some good eats, or just thirsty, stop in and cap off your amazing day with cold one!
The trail is well maintained and easy to follow. Trail junctions are signed and marked.
From Denver, take US 6 W to the I-70 West Junction. Merge onto I-70 briefly, then take the first exit on your right for CO 470 to Morrison. Take the Morrison exit on the right and continue up Bear Creek Canyon on CO 74 N/Bear Creek Road. Continue towards Kittredge and Corwina Park will be on your left -- look for the sign.