Hike Racoon Trail to Panorama Point

Racoon Trail

This short forest hike provides epic views of the Rockies.

Summer is a magical time of year in the Rocky Mountains. One great way to experience this stunning beauty is through hiking Raccoon Trail to Panorama Point at Golden Gate State Park. Raccoon Trail is 3.3 mile moderately difficult hike which can be completed in under an hour, although it will likely take longer if you stop at Panorama Point to admire the views.

The trail starts at the state park visitor's center near the Reverend's Ridge campground. The trail is marked by signs and is well maintained and easy to follow. Be aware that hiking in early to late spring can result in snowpacked portions of the trail. Navigating through the snow is no problem as paths of footprints pave a makeshift trail. Most of the trail is through pine forests, but hikers will also pass through an open meadow and several aspen forests. In the summer months, hikers can look forward to seeing colorful wildflowers alongside the trail. Other wildlife in the area includes deer, small mountain rodents, moose and potentially bears and mountain lions. Signs at the trail head provide explicit instructions on how to handle these more dangerous animals if they are encountered.

Midway through the hike is Panorama Point. It is easy to see why this area gained its name, as it provides incredible views of snowcapped Colorado mountains above 13,000 feet that lie to the east. Sunset is an especially good time to hike to this point as photographers can capture the sun setting behind the Rockies. The wide mountainous expanse can be best captured with a wide angle lens. Panorama Point is also accessible by car, so it is likely that hikers will encounter other groups of people here.

After enjoying the view, the hike loops back to the visitor's center. Hikers who are completing this loop post-sunset should bring a flashlight or headlamp as the trail quickly becomes dark and more difficult to navigate. Once back near the state park entrance, campers can spend the night in one of the nine park campgrounds, or depart for one of the many front range Colorado towns all within an hour of driving.

Panorama Point is a great way to experience some of the best mountain beauty that Colorado has to offer. It is sure to impress out of state visitors, and the Colorado expert alike.

Pack List

  • Money for park pass ($7.00 per vehicle per day)
  • Hiking shoes
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
Show More
RT Distance 3.3 Miles
Elevation Gain 750 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Loop
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Nice Hike

Sweet hike, views at the top. Bring the wide angle and the tele!!

Great easy hike!

I did this hike in the early Spring with some friends and it was a blast! There were some very amazing views! Though being that it was early Spring there was lots of ice on the hills (It created some very surprising domino effect several times for the four of us) Overall I very much enjoyed this hike, and would recommend it to anyone looking for an easy hike!


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