Feel like stretching your legs and visiting a little Estes Park history? Take a few minutes and walk to the stone ruins perched atop a 75-foot-high rock outcropping overlooking Estes Park’s Elkhorn Avenue, the town’s main street.
The path passes by the Birch cabin, built in 1908 by Albert Birch, city editor for the Denver Post. Birch began building it just two weeks after his home on top of the Knoll burned on the bitterly cold night of December 21, 1907. Featuring built-in bookcases and a copper-lined sink, the three-room cabin remains in excellent condition and was placed on the State Register of Historic Places in 2001.
To reach the ruins, continue along the path as it loops around to the north and gains altitude to the top of the Knoll. Here the landscape opens to montane meadows of ponderosa pine and short grass prairie which supports a community of Albert’s squirrels and Wyoming ground squirrels. Before you know it you’re standing before the remains of a massive stone fireplace and turn-of-the-century stone masonry. The ruined walls frame a bird’s eye view of the town of Estes Park below. In the distance are stunning views of Longs Peak and Estes Park's piece of the Continental Divide.
To get there: Make your way to Town Hall then cross the bridge at the north edge of its parking lot and follow the path along Black Canyon Creek, a willow-lined stream that provides habitat for trout, beaver, elk, great-horned owls, red-tailed hawks and a host of migratory songbirds.