Wildcat Canyon Bridge at Lake Gulch / Inner Canyon
Your Donations Helped!.
We've secured funding for the Wildcat Canyon Bridge!
Recognizing the importance of a safe and accessible Cherry Creek crossing for all Park visitors, Friends of Castlewood Canyon began working with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Engineering staff in February 2020 to urge this project forward. Thanks to everyone’s donations to the project, CPW realized the importance of this effort and committed funding required to construct Wildcat Canyon Bridge.
Half of the government funding is coming directly from CPW, while the other half from the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund is going to be available later in 2021. The CPW portion of the finding was made available on July 1st 2021 with the beginning of CPW’s FY2022. The donations that Friends has received are going to be allocated to specific elements of the project, to be agreed to by Park staff, CPW Project Management and Friends.
Currently, CPW is working with a geotechnical testing company to set up soil testing at the proposed south abutment and rock testing at the north abutment. CPW Project Management is also working with CPW's grant administrator to answer National Park Service's questions regarding CPW’s grant application. This fall and winter, the CPW Engineering team is planning to complete the design of the project and receive the National Park Service's grant.
Construction is projected to begin in late Spring 2023.
The Lake Gulch and Inner Canyon trail junction at Castlewood Canyon State Park has been the subject of lengthy discussions and debate for many years. It's here that school children and hikers must cross the Cherry Creek over a series of boulders in order to complete a picturesque two mile loop. This crossing is tricky even in perfect conditions. If the water is high, or after rains when the rocks are wet, the creek crossing becomes even more challenging. Ice and snow can make the conditions impassable.
Recognizing the importance of this issue for all Park visitors, Friends of Castlewood Canyon initiated a fundraising campaign to construct a bridge, the Wildcat Canyon Bridge, where Lake Gulch and Inner Canyon Trails meet. Thanks to everyone's efforts, the dream is now on its way to becoming a reality!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Read testimonials HERE.
How will be Park and its visitors benefit from the construction of this bridge?
Construction of the bridge will improve:
SAFETY by enabling park visitors to safely cross Cherry Creek.
EDUCATION by helping school groups cross efficiently. Less time spent crossing equates to more time teaching students about the Park’s unique qualities.
ENVIRONMENT by reducing impacts to the creekside environment, preserving the surrounding habitats for wildlife that live here, protecting the surrounding areas from further damage to fragile plant life, and promoting principles of Leave No Trace.
ACCESSIBILITY by providing a much easier crossing for physically limited visitors.
LEARNING by providing a "stage" to gather a school group or hiking group and showcase the Canyon from the perspective of the bridge.
CONNECTIVITY by strengthening this key intersection at the heart and soul of the Park.
Click HERE for first-hand experiences of Park staff, volunteers and visitors supporting the construction of this bridge.
Why build a bridge at this location?
Wildcat Canyon has an important place in the history of Castlewood Canyon. First roamed by various Native peoples, then homesteaders and ranchers, this early name appears on a map dated 1902.
It is a natural place to encourage students of all ages to learn more about the history, the special nature of the environment and habitats, and fragile plant life.
Today more than 200,000 visitors a year visit Castlewood Canyon State Park Wildcat Canyon Bridge will become the meet up point connecting the east and west side of the canyon. Here, families, school groups, ecological observers, hikers, and casual day strollers will be able to cross safely without fear of landing in the creek. The bridge will also support those with limited mobility to explore more of the Park’s trails and enhance the experiences of all.
Will completion of the bridge result in the closure of the existing boulder crossing?
No, the existing “stepping stone” crossing will remain open for those who choose to enjoy a bit of a challenge.
What will the bridge look like? What type of bridge is being considered?
Various types of bridges and materials were considered. The design will minimize the impact on the riparian ecosystem and the surrounding wildlife at the bridge site, address storm water levels, visitor safety, and cost efficiency. Modular designs will reduce the cost of transporting materials to the construction site. The current design is focused on using fiber reinforced plastic materials.
When will the new bridge be ready for use?
At this time, this project has been designated as a near-term priority by Park Management. Current planning projects that the Wildcat Canyon Bridge will be ready for use in early Summer 2022.
Will the trails be closed while the proposed bridge is under construction?
The Park will make all efforts to keep trails open during construction of the proposed bridge. Details about any necessary closures will be determined once the bridge design and construction approach are defined. Trail status / conditions will be posted at trail heads during construction.
What will happen to money donated if the project, for some reason, does not go forward?
By donating to this project, you are donating to the Friends of Castlewood Canyon and to their efforts to protect, preserve and promote Castlewood Canyon State Park. If circumstances arise that prevent a project from moving forward, your donation will be transferred to other projects of importance to the Park and its visitors. At the current time, other projects on the horizon include a future educational center, visitor center renovations, additions and improvements to the interpretive experience at the Park, and environmental education initiatives. If you have donated a sizable sum and would like to specifically restrict your donation, please contact us here.
Are donations tax deductible?
Friends of Castlewood Canyon State Park is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. If you donate $100 or more, please be sure to provide contact email or address so we can send you an acknowledgement letter for your tax records.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
“The Inner Canyon and Lake Gulch loop is Castlewood Canyon's most hiked route, and the majority of injuries or acute illnesses our visitors experience are along it. When these events occur on Inner Canyon, one of the challenges has been extricating the patients across the creek to where we can drive them out on an off-road vehicle. This often requires four to five rescuers carrying the patient through the creek bed where footing can be slippery and uncertain. A bridge would dramatically streamline these rescues, improving safety for patients and rescuers alike as well as expediting access to higher level care.”
— Brent Lounsbury, Park Manager