On the Job with Seven Falls’ Park Manager Craig Hilton

For the 140th anniversary of Seven Falls, The Broadmoor got it a new park manager: Craig Hilton.

Seven Falls park manager Craig Hilton
Photo by Chad Chisholm.

Seven Falls has been a staple of the Pikes Peak Region since 1883, when the first visitors were charged a toll of 10 cents to visit the park by road. Today, as one of the state’s most captivating natural wonders, Seven Falls is an important part of the heritage of the Western United States. It’s historic, it’s moving, and it’s a journey in and of itself. Meet Craig Hilton, a Kiwi native with an adventurous spirit and a penchant for the great outdoors. He’s been with The Broadmoor for a decade, most recently as the longtime manager and unofficial historian of The Ranch at Emerald Valley, one of the resort’s three all-inclusive wilderness properties. As The Broadmoor Seven Falls enters its 140th anniversary season, Hilton is taking on a new role as park manager at one of Colorado’s most stunning natural attractions.

“It’s called Seven Falls, but it’s a lot more than just a waterfalls. I hear that again and again from guests. They say it wasn’t what they were anticipating—it was better.”

“You start the experience walking through a stunning box canyon, with 790-foot-tall granite walls with a stream running through the bottom. It’s also got hiking trails, a delicious restaurant, exciting zip lines with Soaring Adventures—some of the best and longest zip lines are right here in our own backyard.”

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“Once you walk up the canyon, you can go up 224 steps to the top of the falls, and if you want to keep going, there are two trails: Midnight Falls, which is a 20-minute out-and-back path from the top of the falls, and Inspiration Point, a 40-minute out-and-back trail. Inspiration Point is more uphill and a longer workout, but from the vantage point, you can see down through the box canyon to Colorado Springs and the plains beyond.”

“Seven Falls is one of the oldest tourist attractions in the state, so there’s a lot of history at this ‘grandest mile of scenery in Colorado.’”

“Back in the day, access from the gate to the falls was by donkey. We had visiting celebrities such as Babe Ruth and Walt Disney on those donkeys, and they all had crazy names, like Rags, as in ‘Rags to Riches.’”

“I always say the best way to see Colorado is on foot. Get out of your car, away from your computer, and start walking.”

“I used to run a lot, but my cranky body won’t let me anymore. Now, I love being connected to nature and disconnected from the world on a walk, a longer hike, or a bike ride.”

“I’d like to expand upon our hiking trails even more, helping Seven Falls become more of a nature park that people plan a whole day to visit vs. just a few hours.”

“Definitely try the Bubble Waffle Sundaes from our new Falling Waffles food truck. They’re made-to-order bubble waffle sundaes with house-churned ice creams and tons of toppings and sauces. I like the 1858 Gold Rush, with two scoops of vanilla bean ice cream, caramel popcorn, chocolate chips, and caramel sauce. It’s the ultimate post-hike tasty treat.”

“And don’t forget about Colorado’s afternoon thunderstorms. Be prepared, and be patient for those storms to pass. And most importantly, be flexible in how you adventure.”

“I have always had this image in my mind of what Colorado is supposed to look like. With my job at Seven Falls, it’s like living in that postcard every day. This is what Colorado is supposed to be.”