One of the unique things about Golden, is its’ proximity numerous paved and unpaved trails close to town. In this post, I will list out some of my favorite trails and why I like them. Living in downtown, these are trails I use often to hike, mountain bike, run, and occasionally ski if conditions are right. Let’s dig in.
North Table Mountain: This trail system is vast, with several access points. This is the table top on the Northeast side of Highway 93, just North of Highway 58. This is a great place to hike, run, and mountain bike, with several loops on the top of the mountain. The biggest challenge is the climb up the fire road, or the other single track trails to get to the flat areas at the top, but it is well worth the effort due to both the mountain and city views that await you. It is quite easy to combine loops to get in a good 12-15 mile mountain bike ride if desired, or a shorter intro loop of 4-5 miles. It does get very hot in the summer, but usually there is year round access to this series of trails. My favorite season is early summer, when the grass is green, and the flowers are popping. I have also cross country skied North Table after a deep snow, and basically had the mountain to myself. Most of the time, the snow will not last long, so get it when it is good, within few days after a good snow.
Access can be a challenge due to limited parking, so get there early or go later in the day. The main parking area is right off Highway 93, just north of Pine Ridge Road.
South Table Mountain: Jefferson County continues to add trails to South Table Mountain, making it an awesome place to hike and mountain bike, and it is a good place for a beginner mountain bike adventure as well. This is the table top on the Southeast side of town. South Table has limited parking options, so make sure to study the best places to park. There are several access points to different parts of South Table. One of the highlights is the Castle Rock on the West side, overlooking the town of Golden. At one time the Castle Rock hosted a dance hall, and tram. The remnants are still visible as you hike up, and when you are standing on top. The views are stunning from all sides of South Table. If you head east to the very edge, you will overlook Applewood with downtown Denver in the background.
There are numerous trails for hiking and mountain biking, with a steep switchback trail on the West side, and a more moderate steady climb at the access point off Quaker road from South Golden Road. The Applewood Neighborhood has a couple access points, with single track trails that head to the top.
Chimney Gulch: This trail starts in downtown Golden, and goes all the way to the top of Mt. Zion, or the M mountain that you can see from town. It is a steep and challenging trail for mountain bikers, and a challenging hike. It is just over a 4 mile hike from town up to the Lookout Mountain Nature Center. As you climb, you will be treated to a variety of flora and fauna with the changing climate as you gain altitude. You could could see dear, elk, fox on your climb as well. The views over Golden are stunning.
The best place to access this trail is at the West end of 10th St. Park by Lions Park, and head West on the paved trail to the bridge over Clear Creek. Once you cross over, look for a little trail on your right hand side. You will eventually go under highway 6 and then continue climbing up the hill. You can also drive up Lookout Mountain Road about 1 mile, to a small parking area on your left that has access. This will save you about 1 1/2 miles each way of hiking.
This trail can also connect to the Apex Trail System, and you can do a 13 mile loop if you are so inclined.
Apex Trail: This is a popular mountain biking and hiking trail in Southwest Golden. There are lots of loop options from the parking lot, but be careful of the one way signs, as different days allow bikers or hikers to have exclusive access. Head up the switch backs on the front side, and then drop down the backside and you will feel like you are in a different world. Check the trail maps for best trail options here, and right of way days. At the very top of Apex, you will pop out on Lookout Mountain Road by the bottom of the Lookout Mountain Nature Center. Head up the small trail next to Colorow Rd to the top and you can loop down the Chimney Gulch Trail back to downtown Golden.
Mt Galbraith: This is a very popular trail, especially for folks coming from other parts of the Denver Metro Area. It is a beautiful trail, with several loops, but it is rocky so its not a good mountain bike option. The main loop is just under 4 miles, and gives you several views over the foothills and Golden. The trailhead is located a few miles up Golden Gate Canyon, on the left hand side. The parking lot is small and fills up quickly, so get there early or go later in the day.
White Ranch Open Space: White Ranch is popular with mountain bikers and hikers. There is no way around the steep and rocky climbs on a mountain bike, but lots of open space, views and challenge await you once you get on top. Once out of the parking area, you will have several loop options that start within a mile of the trailhead. Take a good look a the map. You can also drive further up Golden Gate Canyon Road to the upper access to Crawford Gulch Road, if you are not in the mood to climb. Access to these lower trails is about 3 miles outside of downtown Golden, off Pine Ridge Road.
For more info on trails, life in Golden, or Real Estate, give me a call. 720-891-5751.