Saturday, May 10, 2014

Hiking Temple Canyon Canon City, CO

From the west side of Canon City, CO take 1st Avenue south out of town and you'll soon come to Temple Canyon Road.  Washboard is putting it mildly for stretches of the road but reducing speed to about 15 mph allowed the Tank to make the approximate 7 mile trip into Temple Canyon Park which is maintained by Canon City and allows free up to 14 day camping.

Good shocks are needed for the road in!
Upon entering the park there is a fork in the road to available campsites.  I went right along Prospectors Ridge and snagged the first site I came to as it was a Friday and I was aware there were only about 6 "official" camping sites in the park.

A covered table, trash barrel and view, what else do you need?
Because the park is so large and the campsites so few there is excellent privacy at Temple Canyon Park.  As in all of southern Colorado there was a complete burn-ban in effect (including charcoal) so the fire ring at the site went unused and all my cooking was done inside on the Tank's propane range.


The site came with a nice little flower garden behind it.
Why is it called Temple Canyon you ask?  There's a temple in the canyon, but first you have to hike down a narrow path that cuts back and forth, some times steeply, to get to it.

The start of "Temple Run:.

Canyon seen from the rim just beginning the descent.
There were no degree of difficulty signs at the beginning of the trail into the canyon which I found somewhat surprising because there were several stretches of the hike that would have given more than a few folks second thoughts about proceeding.

The narrow path down into the canyon.
Swift running Grape Creek cuts through the canyon and I'd bet you couldn't hold your hand in the barely above freezing water for a minute.

The clear waters of Grape Creek.
Another thing they forgot to tell me about the hike was that the trail makes you ford Grape Creek to get to the Temple.

That's the trail continuing on the other side of the creek!
Fortunately, Grape Creek is only about 18 inches deep but I can't tell you how cold on the feet it was.

After fording the creek you come to the "front door" of the Temple.
There was also about a 15 foot vertical section of rock you had to climb to get up into the Temple.

There were actually pretty easy handholds to get up it.
Finally I reached the Temple.  It's described as a "natural amphitheater" first noticed in the 1890's.

I don't think it was used as an actual Temple but who knows?
 This was one of my favorite hikes so far and even though I passed 3 teenagers RUNNING down the path on my slow way up I still had a sense of accomplishment for at least not slipping and falling into Grape Creek during the ford.

Thanks for reading!