Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Another one of my favorite places is Golden Gate Canyon State Park. This state park is approx 15 miles from Golden up Golden Gate Canyon Rd. This is a favorite spot for hikers, bikers, wildlife lovers, flower watchers, campers and much more. What is great about this area, is that it is not that well known, so it is rarely crowded, but you can still get the full Colorado Experience. I have spent a lot of time here, but still have not been on all the trails, because there are so many to choose from. With over 12,000 acres of open space to explore, there is way too much to see. There are deep forests of pine an conifer, aspen groves, open meadows, little streams, remote cabins, campsites, picnic sites and much more. There are two entrances to the park. The lower entrance gives hikers access to numberous trails, picnic sites, and rental facilities. The upper entrance takes you through beautiful meadows, aspen groves, and has access to many trailheads and the campgrounds. The camping areas include Aspen Meadows for tents only, and Reverends Ridge for trailers, campers and tents. Sites start at around $18 per night but have all the facilities you need to be comfortable. There are also backcountry camping options where you can hike in to your site for the night or longer. Cabins and Yurts are also available throughout the park for a different outdoor experience.
One of my favorite trails is the horse trail that leads up to Frasier Meadow. In Frasier Meadow the flowers and aspen groves are incredible, and this area can be reached from several different directions depending on how long you want to hike. (see map for details) Another great hike is the Mountain Lion loop through The Forgotten Valley. This hike takes you through several types of forest, and passes an old historic homestead that is a great spot for a picnic.
I would highly recommend this State Park for anyone needing to get away, but not wanting to drive too far. There is a daily pass of $7.00 to get into the park, but if you think you will make a habit of going, I would recommend the state parks annual pass for $70.00.
For more info on other trail options near Golden, feel free to give Jeff Fox at The Fox group at KW Avenues a call at 720-891-5751