Mountains

The mountains are Golden’s crowning glory!  Historically, they brought wealth to this city–we were established as a supply station for prospectors venturing into the mountains.  Now, they provide a partition to keep us slightly isolated from the Denver metro area.  They also provide great views in all directions!

Landmarks

Golden is bounded on the east side by North and South Table Mountain.  These two mountains, which are largely public open space, provide a barrier to urban sprawl that allows us to maintain our small town atmosphere.  They are both popular for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.  North Table Mountain also offers rock climbing.

North and South Table Mountains in Golden Colorado  Lookout Mountain and Mount Zion in Golden CO

Mount Zion and Lookout Mountain define the west side of Golden. The “M” (for the Colorado School of Mines) marks Mount Zion.  These mountains are accessed via the Lariat Loop Road, Highway 40, or Interstate 70.


Rock climbing on North Table Mountain

Rock climbing in Golden COThe cliffs on North Table Mountain are very popular with climbers, offering easy to moderate difficulty routes. Climbers refer to it as Golden Cliffs.

The trail to the Golden Cliffs is advanced with grades exceeding 25%; biking is prohibited. Hikers must yield to climbers and to climbing activities along the cliffs. Access the trail via the south end of Peery Drive.

Photo courtesy of ColoradoCrackGear.com.

Address: Park at the North Table Mountain Trailhead (see the Golden Trails Google Map)
Distance: 1.2 miles
Drive Time: 6 minutes


Hiking

The mountains surrounding Golden provide hiking options for all skill levels.  See the Trails page for descriptions of the various trails and level of difficulty.  See the Golden Trails Google Map to locate the trailheads and see the routes.


Mountain Biking

Golden teams with cyclists all year round–both street bikes and mountain bikes.  Our twenty miles of trails interconnect with others leading all over the metro area.  Mountain bikers in particular love our easy access to the mountains, and enjoy the many mountain trails .

Bike Skills Park – Tony Grampsas Memorial Sports Complex,
The bicycling community is very enthusiastic about a mountain bike-only skills park with multiple trails and options to challenge both beginner and advanced riders. Maintained by volunteers.

www.goldenbikepark.com
Address: 4471 Salvia St
Distance: 2.5 miles
Drive Time: 6 minutes


Mountain Driving

The most direct route through the mountains (heading up for skiing, for instance) is Interstate 70.  If you want an afternoon of beautiful mountain scenery, the Lariat Loop Road is a much better option.  The Lariat Loop was established in the 1920s, as automobiles were coming into wide use.  It covers 40 miles of scenic roads and was, in fact, recently designated as a National Scenic Byway.

Buffalo Overlook
If you don’t have a whole afternoon for your mountain drive, here’s a terrific shortcut:  drive 10 miles up I-70 to the Buffalo Overlook.  The City and County of Denver maintain a herd of buffalo which are descendants of wild bison found in Yellowstone National Park in 1914. A tunnel under the highway connects the two parts of their pasture, so they may not be immediately visible. The Overlook is worth a visit in any case because it is beautiful, with breathtaking views of the Continental Divide.   Take Highway 40 for the return route.  It runs parallel to I-70 all the way to Golden, is an easy drive, and feels a little more rural.  It runs on the north side of I-70.

Address: I-70 West, exit 254 (Genesee Park)
Distance: 10.3 miles
Drive Time: 18 minutes


Lookout Mountain Nature Center

naturecentersq

The Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Preserve is well worth visiting. Located just above the city on Lookout Mountain, they have a beautiful facility, built largely of recycled materials. Exhibits cover migrating birds and information about the ponderosa pine forest. The center sits on a 110-acre property that includes several nature trails.

Address: 910 Colorow Road
Distance from Downtown: 7.1 miles
Drive Time: 16 minutes
Phone:  720-497-7600
Website:  lmnc.jeffco.us


Hang Gliding and Paragliding

When the wind conditions are right, the sky above Mount Zion may be filled with paragliders and hanggliders.

Address: top of Mt. Zion
Distance: 4.0 miles
Drive Time: 10 minutes

Golden has several outfits that cater to the first-timer, as well as advanced training for the more experienced adventurers.  Some of them can be hired for “tandem flights,” which allow inexperienced people to just go along for the ride!  The Rocky Mountain Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association holds many events in Golden. For more information about this club for free flight enthusiasts, please visit www.rmhpa.org.

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