I’ve never found a Golden nugget, but I can imagine it kind of feels like discovering the charming town of Golden, Colorado for outdoor enthusiasts like you and I. Tucked in the base of the foothills, and only 15 minutes from downtown Denver, this charming town offers world-class recreation for the elite athletes and the weekend warriors alike.
Guide to Getting Outside in Golden!
Golden has an extensive trail system with over 24 miles of interconnected trails. Offering a range of types, destinations and difficulty. Here are a few of my favorites:
Apex Park is just a few minutes from downtown Golden. The steady climb of the Apex Trail loop will reward you with views of Denver, Golden and the foothills. This hike offers a steep ascent in a rocky and rugged valley.
Clear Creek Trail
Clear Creek Trail is an easy, paved 2-mile trail that runs through the heart of Golden. The loop is open to bikes, strollers, roller blades and skateboards. Take a leisurely stroll down this trail and enjoy watching kayakers, tubers and the like. On a hot day, you too can play in the river from one of the many swim banks.
Sitting just above the Coors Brewery is Labahn Trail. On South Table Mountain, this trail starts in the gulley below Castle Rock. This moderate hike will take about one hour and offers an expansive view of Golden and the foothills.
TDO Tip… Makes for a great sunset hike!
Chimney Gulch Trail
Hike to the summit of the local landmark, Lookout mountain. This moderate to advanced trail is for hikers only. Zigzag your way up the mountain and across streams to incredible views. From top to bottom you will climb 1,100 feet providing you with a tremendous workout.
North Table Mountain Park
Sitting in the heart of Golden is North Table Mountain Park offering over 17 miles of trails. North Table hikes offer great views of Golden Valley and range from beginner to intermediate. Hikers can pick the perfect hike for them with hike distances between 2.7 and 7.7 miles. Don’t be surprised if you spot some wildlife along the way, but hikers beware rattlesnake sightings are also very common.
This 1.5-mile educational hike will take you along several stops highlighting dinosaur, bird, mammal, insect and invertebrate tracks and traces. This hike should take about an hour and winds between large, vertical walls of sandstone and into reclaimed clay pits.
Golden is one of the most popular biking capitals of Colorado.
Explore all that Golden has to offer on your bike! The bike share program allows you to rent a bike for 2 hours for free or $10 for the full day. The program runs from April through October and provides adult and children’s bike located in the Golden Visitor Center. Take your free bike on your self-guided craft brewery tour.
Find the map here.
Apex is known for its technical trails and steep challenge up Lookout mountain. Be sure to check the calendar before heading to Apex. This popular mountain biking trail allows directional riding on odd calendar days only. Expect difficult rock maneuvers, big rock moves, and technical sections.
Clear Creek Bike Path
For 19 miles you can enjoy a slight downhill grade alongside the river. The path is lined with trees and never goes far from the sound of water. This trail begins in Clear Creek Canyon and joins another 40-miles of paved bike trail at South Platte River.
North Table Mountain
North Table Mountain is open to hikers and bikers. This trail is great for beginners or intermediate riders looking to grow their mountain biking skills. The North Table Loop is 7.5 miles with moderate non-technical climbing.
45 feet walls, 28,500 sq. ft of climbing, 400+ roped routes and boulders, and much more. You can see why Earth Treks is a popular climbing gym in Golden. Earth Treks is welcoming to all levels of climbers and offers classes for everyone from novice to advanced.
TDO Tip… Have your next party be a climbing party! With private climbing areas and instructors, you can throw the next best party at Earth Treks.
Outdoor: North Table Mountain
Not only can you hike and bike on North Table Mountain, you can also rock climb. This is one of the more popular spots to rock climb. There are numerous bolted moderate and easy routes that are easy to top rope. Climbers enjoy the Golden Cliffs almost year-round because of the Southern exposure.
The Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum is the first and only museum in the nation dedicated to mountaineering history. Learn all about mountaineering history, safety, and mountain culture. If you are into climbing or Colorado Mountaineering, it is worth the visit.
Water in Golden
Located in the heart of Golden is the “Golden Mile” of fly fishing, a stretch of Clear Creek specifically designed to be the ultimate first-class trout habitat. The Golden Mile starts from Jefferson County’s Grant Terry Park and ends at Vanover Park. Along Clear Creek there are also several handicapped accessible paths, allowing for easy access to the water’s edge and opening up opportunities for fishers with physical limitations.
TDO Tip… If you are interested in joining the fishing fun, local vendors, such as Golden River Sports, offer fly fishing classes, clinics, and guided trips.
Clear Creek Whitewater Kayaking Park
All Kayakers and Canoers must check out this awesome and unique spot. The Clear Creek Whitewater Kayaking Park is one quarter of a mile providing a series of drops, fast eddies and pools of different experience levels. During the year the course hosts several events including the Clear Creek Whitewater Festival, The Open Canoe Championships and more.
TDO Tip… Learn the basics or master your skills by taking a pool kayaking class before you tackle the Whitewater Park. Classes are offered at the Golden Community Center. Find out more here.
Clear Creek is one of the best tubing areas in the Denver metro. Whether you are looking for an exciting ride with ripples, waves, and drops, or looking for a lazier float, you can choose the best ride for you by starting in the right stretch of the creek. Tubers can start as high as Tunnel 1 on Hwy 6 and float all the way down to the end of the whitewater park. Clear Creek is usually floatable from April through August. Be sure to stay safe and make sure that you do not go tubing at high water.