Winter Hiking and Wildlife in Waterton Canyon

Waterton Canyon Trailhead

Bighorn Sheep! Wild Turkey. Great Place to Hike, Run or Bike. Up to 12.4 miles roundtrip hiking.

Waterton Canyon is the beginning of the Colorado Trail which stretches 500 miles from Denver to Durango. Camping is allowed on the Colorado Trail but is not allowed in the first 6 miles section of Waterton Canyon, which is managed by Denver Water. The gravel road is great for running, biking, hiking, and wildlife viewing. Because the Waterton Canyon Trail is primarily flat, it is an easy trail that would be good for the whole family. You can hike the entire 6.2 miles out on the trail, but the further you go, the more challenging the hike becomes.

Bighorn sheep are impressive animals. They can weigh up to 300lbs and their horns can weigh 30lbs. Despite their size, bighorn sheep are extremely agile. There was never a dull moment watching them, even after a few hours. During the rut(November-December) Rams can be seen fighting to establish dominance. There is nothing that compares to the loud crack of to large rams colliding!

Near the beginning of the hike keep an eye out for wild turkey! If you don't see them on the ground, look up in the trees! Mule deer also frequent this trail. Dogs are not allowed on this trail to protect the bighorn sheep.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Water
  • Jacket
Show More
RT Distance 12.4 Miles
Activities Photography, Backpacking, Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Autumn, Winter
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
River
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Easy Walk Sheep Viewing

There were lots of easy viewing spots for sheep, not dangerous. Easy walk, on an unpaved road.

Good workout! Nice trail

This trail is very well maintained, and has a little uphill incline, giving you a great workout. It was a little more crowded than I was expecting but not overwhelming. No big horned sheep or turkey were out with crowds of people walking through. Late December but very warm with little to no wind in the canyon. Perfect for biking also, would be a great bike ride or trail ride on horseback. A little less wooded and out in the open than I would prefer, but overall beautiful hike with scenic rock views and a winding river next to the trail. Nice periods of shade and sun, and benches and bathrooms along the trail. Perfect afternoon hike if you aren't trying to drive far

Closed Monday -Saturday

Went to the trail head today (Saturday 2/20/16), and it was closed. The sign says that the first 2 miles of this trail are closed Monday through Saturday. The sign suggested the Indian Creek Trail as an alternate path around the closure.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Hike or Bike Hildebrand Ranch

37 Saves

Hike the Fountain Valley Trail at Roxborough State Park

340 Saves

Hike to Carpenter Peak

101 Saves