Just a few miles from Cañon City in the Wet Mountain Valley, Grape Creek winds toward Westcliffe through Temple Canyon. Although it takes some sleuthing to locate the public-access points and a four-wheel-drive vehicle to get in there (BLM 6227 is a good bet, and you can hike in from the bridge parking just west of Cañon), it's well worth the trouble in spring, early summer and fall for serious anglers looking for gentle stair-step rapids and deep pool after deep pool of brownies, rainbow, brook and cutthroat trout. Fish tales tell of seventeen- to twenty-inchers, but the majority are in the ten- to thirteen-inch range, and because it can take some bushwhacking to get to the best spots, you're likely to be solo. When the fish aren't biting or it's time for a break, hike around the canyon for views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains and the cliffs of Scrapping Ridge.
Readers' Choice: Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Outside Canon City