Friday, August 12, 2011

Saturday - Castle Rock

This is the first part of my day Saturday. In the morning on my way to the Sangre de Cristos for some fun, I was driving down I-25, saw Castle Rock and thought: "Hmm, I've never been to the top of that", and took the next exit. So, I'd already broken my plan to get down to the Sangres without stopping within the first hour.

I parked downtown across from the Castle Pines Motel. It turns out Fruita isn't the only place with scary dinosaurs.

I didn't know exactly where the trailhead was, but I wanted to park in the shade and the hillside looked pretty open. So, I just wandered uphill through streets until I found a TH by extrapolating from where I saw people hiking. There were tons of these red-orange flowers on the hillside:

Western Scarlet Gilia

This is Castle Rock from near the park's lot:

This would be a good hike in the AM or late afternoon, but at midday it was sort of toasty. I just jogged easily and brought water. There were trails leading down into the surrounding residential areas, which would be great if you lived there.

Downtown Castle Rock from the top:

The view south towards Pikes Peak:

Below is the way I got to the top, since the stairway that used to lead to the top is missing. This was definitely class 3, but if you're athletic it's not a problem, and exposure is minimal.

About the time I hit Monument I was getting hungry, so I did a bit of exploring and ended up at La Casa Fiesta. The food was billed as New Mexican but IMO was sort of a hybrid between New Mexican and standard Mexican (closer to the latter). The sides were basic Spanish rice and refried beans, and I got red and green sauces and neither was like what I had in Santa Fe, but it was still good overall, and they had Beehive wheat from Bristol on tap. Normally I don't think about service unless it's really bad or really good, but my server that day was exceptional and got a big tip. Actually everyone there seemed on the ball. It's a pleasant, attractive place and they have an assortment of seating options from patio, to indoor patio (where I sat), to bar and dining.

Afterwards I headed south. I checked out a brewery in Pueblo but that downtown is just deserted on weekends. Sorry folks, but I want somewhere I'd enjoy wandering for a while afterwards before I get behind the wheel. I got back on the highway and headed out of town.

I'll do another post on the rest of the day.


  1. Good distraction, I've wondered about climbing that thing as well!
    Good tip on the food, I love New Mexican, especially, as well. Only place in Castle Rock we've been to was the Rockyard(?) brewpub, which was decent but had a chain feel.

    If the brewpub in Pueblo was Shamrock (or was it something else?), that's a very solid place. It sticks out in my mind for having a great Irish Red, good food (not all Irish, which is good), but also their empty growlers were cheap -- $3 I think -- enough that it sticks out from the crowd, and the growler serves as my extra coin change container.

  2. Mike - Rockslide, Rockyard, Falling Rock, Rock Bottom, I get them all mixed up.

    I've been to Rockyard in CR as well. I think it was only for a brew, and it was good. But CO is a tough market for brewpubs!

    I should stop at Shamrock then, I don't want to miss out :) I'll just chill indoors with a soda or water for a while...

    Little Anita's in the Denver area is pretty good. Simple NM-style food, nothing fancy, but solid sauces.