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Golden Gate Canyon State Park 

Darby's Favorite Reasons to Love this Hike:

  1. Several trails to choose from, all different levels of ability (from moderate to very difficult) and terrain-over
    35 miles in all. We hiked the Raccoon Trail and the Horseshoe Trail, both considered moderate trails. The Raccoon Trail is a multi-use trail with a wide dirt path, combined with steep rocky and tree root terrain. It meanders to the Panorama Point (where you can view 100 miles of the Continental Divide), and makes a continual loop. (Note: the map suggests this hike is 2.5 roundtrip, we found it more like 4 miles). The Horseshoe Trail is a more gradual sandy/rocky slope, ending in the tented campsites and Frazer Meadow, or continue to other trails. Map of the trails here.

  2. Seasonal Wildflowers are abundant! See Rocky Mountain Columbine, Red Clover, Fairy Trumpets, Orange Paintbrush, Wild Rose Flowers, Anemone, Cinquefoil, Asters, Daisies, Bluebells, Blackeye Susans, Coneflowers, and many more.

  3. Creeks and watering holes throughout cool my feet down and a hot day. Water meanders through most of the trails here.

  4. Tent camping, car camping, backcountry camping, and RV camping with electric hook ups available throughout the park. Yurts, cabins, and guesthouses available, too. Go to the reservations page to see availablility, or for more info for backcountry camping. Campsites require and extra fee.

  5.  Tree lined trails make for a shady hike: conifers, aspens, junipers. The meadows and panoramic views are unforgettable as well. 

County: Jefferson County

Round Trip Length: Varies depending on the hike, look at a map of the hikes.

Start and End Elevation: Horseshoe Trail Start 8100 ft. Gains about 900 ft., Raccoon Trail Start 9100ft, gain 500 ft.

Skill Level: Moderate 

Pet Regulations: Dogs are allowed on leash only

Weather: Almost all weather

Bikes: Yes, look for the multi terrain trails

Picnic Tables: Yes

Restroom: Yes

Maps and Directions

Directions to the Horseshoe Trail: 1.5 miles north of Golden on Hwy 93, go west on Golden Gate Canyon Rd. Follow Crawford Gulch Rd to the visitor Center, about 13 miles. The trailhead is at the Horseshoe Trailhead Parking lot.

Directions to Raccoon Trail: Go to Hwy 72 (south of Boulder) aka Coal Creek Canyon, make a left at Twin Spruce Rd (turns into Gap Rd) this brings you into the park. Continue to Reverend Ridge Campgrounds for parking. 

Day Passes are $9, yearly passes, and camping fees are extra. 

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