You can do this one-hour hike in every season, every temperature and at any time. The best part about this hike is that each time you do it, you'll see something different. Make this hike your own by allowing yourself to be in nature, breathe the mountain air and soak up the Colorado sun.

Want to see a rainbow? Possibly some coyotes or other Colorado wildlife?

This hike is full of twists and turns, mostly involving the trail, but also in surprises along the way.

Drive into downtown Golden (grab some food if you're hungry) and then park at the base of the Golden Summit trail. Starting this hike before 4 pm is ideal (after all, it does start to get dark earlier in the winter), but this hike is also fun at night.

Make sure you're equipped with water (Colorado is known to knock the wind out of you when you're at high elevations). Start your hike up a .6-mile incline to Castle Rock (elevation gain: 1,500 ft.). Some people call Castle Rock, "Table Top," so don't be too confused if someone asks if you're headed that way. This is a well-maintained trail, but it is steep and will eventually boost you from city life atop a mountain with panorama views.

When you arrive at the base of Castle Rock, you'll run into a set up concrete stairs. Some people actually do run these stairs (and if you're looking for an added workout, you can as well). I prefer to take them easy myself and head up to the top. This is the best spot to break for snacks and soak up the view. The elevation of Castle Rock is 6,338 feet and you will probably feel it as you enjoy the beautiful view of Golden, Colorado School of Mines and Denver. If it's one of those Colorado summer days with a stormy sky, you may get lucky and catch a rainbow on the horizon.

Descend the stairs to meet up with South Table Mesa Trail. Head .2 miles until the trail splits. This is where the twists and turns come in. Pick the trail to the right (or the southernmost trail). You'll pass telephone wires, a radio screen and old building materials. I almost always see deer and a few times, I've had coyote spottings.

After walking .5 miles, you'll have another chance to choose your own adventure and fate. If you're looking to continue on the trail loop, head left (or north) for .8 miles until the trail splits again. From this part of the trail, you should be able to look out over Jefferson County and catch a glimpse of Denver again.

Continue on until you reach another trail intersection. Choose the left fork (or west) trail and walk 1.2 miles down Golden Summit trail back down to meet your car. If you skipped the pre-hike snack (good thinking), this is your chance to venture downtown and grab some grub. You've earned it.

Pack List

  • Day pack
  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Layers
  • Camera
  • Hiking shoes
Show More
RT Distance 3.3 Miles
Elevation Gain 1500 Feet
Activities Photography, Mountain Biking, Running, Yoga, Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Gorgeous Golden Views

Great hike, finished the loop in 90 minutes with 2 pups. Beautiful views and not too hard for visitors!

Great Morning Hike

I did this hike recently on a summer morning to avoid the heat of the day. It's a perfect way to start the day and finish by tubing down Clear Creek. The only downside for me was the presence of rattle snakes and having my dogs with me. I was unaware of these dangers until I showed up and saw the sign. After asking around, they are very prevalent in the hot summer months so it might be best to leave the pup at home.

Worth It!!!

I didn't do too many hikes in the Denver area, but this was my favorite of the ones I did do. We went at sunrise in mid-March, and it wasn't too terribly chilly. There are so many loops at the top that you can make it however long you want. Running up it was difficult, but not impossible. Definitely recommend it, especially if you're pressed for time. Enjoy!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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