SPOTLIGHT: Things to Do in and Around Golden Gate Canyon State Park

By Madison Dragna

SPOTLIGHT: Things to Do in and Around Golden Gate Canyon State Park

For breathtaking views a mere 30 miles from Denver, head to Golden Gate Canyon State Park for the perfect getaway. Colorado’s second largest state park, Golden Gate is characterized by rocky peaks and aspen groves. Aside from the awe-inspiring geologic structures and flora, explorers will find plentiful opportunity for hiking, horseback riding, and even skiing! You’ll quickly understand the beauty of the Centennial State after your visit to Golden Gate Canyon State Park.  

1. Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Golden, CO

Golden Gate Canyon State Park is full of dense forests, meadows, and high alpine peaks. Here, there are 12 hiking and multi-use trails and 150 campsites ranging from RV spots to backcountry sites. The natural scenery isn’t the only thing drawing visitors to the park. In the 1800s, gold miners flocked to the area that is now Golden Gate Canyon to take advantage of the fresh creeks here. Therefore there are a number of historical sites, making this state park perfect for not only outdoorsmen but also history buffs. 

2. Take a scenic hike on Raccoon Trail

This multi-use trail in Golden Gate Canyon is arguably one of the most scenic hikes in the park. Grab a map from the visitor’s center and head to the trailhead at Reverend’s Ridge. The beginning of this trail is tranquil until the uphill starts. This trail is perfect for those wanting an uphill workout. 

3. Visit an old homestead on Buffalo Trail

For those hoping to view some historic ruins, take a walk on the Buffalo Trail. This trail does have some uphill parts, however the views and remains of an old homestead are worth the challenge. There is even a sign near the homestead explaining the history of the area. 

4. Visit Panorama Point Scenic Overlook

You don’t have to take a long walk to enjoy the views that Golden Gate Canyon State Park has to offer. Panorama Point Scenic Overlook boasts incredible views of the Continental Divide, including Mount Evans and Longs Peak.

5. Stay in a cabin or yurt

There are many great spots to lay your head at Golden Gate Canyon. If you’re into camping but don’t want to rough it entirely, there are five cabins and two yurts to choose from. Cabins and yurts are available year-round. Make your reservations online

6. Stop in Golden before you leave

Don’t skip through the city of Golden, which lies 30 minutes outside of the park’s visitor’s center. Golden’s historic downtown is a great place to go for food and other attractions. Stop in at Higher Grounds Café for a hot cup of coffee. For a hearty bite to eat after time spent outdoors, stop at Bob’s Atomic Burgers. Bob’s offers a delicious variety with options ranging from fried chicken sandwiches to quinoa burgers. They even offer military, student, and senior discounts!  

7. Stay overnight in nearby towns

There are a number of great mountain towns located approximately 15 to 30 minutes away from Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Black Hawk is one of those towns. This town has a rich gold-mining history that is now known for its hotels and casinos. If you’re looking for a four-star getaway rather than camping outdoors, check in to the Ameristar Casino Resort Spa. If you’re searching for something a little more quaint, head five minutes to Central City and stay at the charming Hooper Homestead Bed and Breakfast

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