South Table Mountain- Golden
Darby's Favorite Reasons to Love this Hike:
A short uphill to the top of this mesa gives you views in all directions. North and west, you can see the mountains in Golden and Table Mountain North, to the south you can see the southern mesas and neighborhoods (Morrison "M") dotting the streets and hills. To the southeast is Denver, on a clear day.
We parked at the Camp George West Trailhead and walked through the park to hike up the Tertiary Trail (.5 miles) to the Basalt Cap Loop (.8 miles), and back down via the Crutaceous Trail (1 mile). For a more challenging trip, continue down the Ancient Palms Trail and back up, it'll add another 2 miles to your loop. Maps can be found here. South Table Mesa boast 1,476 acres and 4.1 miles of trails.
You could also park on Golden Hills Rd. and hike up Fossil Trail (.8 mile) and Old Quarry Trail (.8 miles) to connect to the Basalt Cap Loop. Maps can be found here.
This part of the mountain is a Held Conservation Easement from the State of Colorado and U.S. Department of Energy. Which means Jeffco Open Spaces is taking conservation seriously by creating a template of how natural experiences and trails like this can co-exist with the native landscape and animal habitats. Find out more about this plan in action here.
You feel like your walking in a desert on the top of the world. Tons of low cacti and drought resistant flora. Cliff-nesting raptors hanging out in the sky. Walking on this well maintained trail through the beautiful desert was delightful.
While we were here we heard cars racing around a track. It was the police cars training and driving course. It looked like fun!
Elevation: 5400' to start with a steady climb up to 6000', once you get to the top, it's an easy loop with no elevation gain/loss.
Dogs: On leash only
Picnic Tables: yes, at the Camp George Park
Bathrooms: yes, at the Camp George Park
Weather: Spring, fall and winter are best, may be too sunny (no shade) in the summer.