Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Coyote Trail at Golden Gate Canyon State Park.

Located only about 30 miles outside of Denver, Golden Gate Canyon state park consists of over 12,000 acres of varying terrain to go along with 35 miles of hiking trails. With a wide variety of activities to choose from, this is an awesome park to explore no matter what time of year that you choose to visit!

Here are some quick details about my hike there:

Date of Hike: April 14th, 2019      

Miles Hiked: 11.65

Trails Hiked: Horseshoe, Mule Deer and Coyote Trails

Trail Conditions: Snow covered in the morning and quite slushy in the afternoon

After paying the $8 dollar entrance fee, I proceeded to park at the Horseshoe Trailhead. I got there around 7 AM and before long I found myself hiking in complete solitude up the Horseshoe trail in mostly snow and ice.

Trail conditions for most of the journey.

After a short while, I reached Frazer Meadow and took in the view. At this point, I took the Mule Deer trail and started to make my way to the Panorama Point overlook.

An opening through the trees leading to the meadow.
Looking south while standing in the meadow.

During this portion of my hike, the snow on the trail was quite deep. This probably had to do with the fact that most of the trail was shaded, except for several random spots that were few and far in between.

Going up the Mule Deer Trail.

After what seemed like an eternity, I finally made it to the overlook. The view of the mountains along the Continental Divide was absolutely remarkable!

View from Panorama Point!
Another view from Panorama Point.

After spending a considerable amount of time at the overlook, I decided that it was time to continue my hike. So I began my descent from the overlook while remaining on the Mule Deer trail and soon found myself going in and out of Aspen trees again. This part of my hike would end up being the easiest part of the whole day.

The trail with Aspen trees all around.

Once I reached the Bootleg Bottom parking area, I decided to see just how difficult the Coyote trail actually is. On the park map, the trail is listed as being in the most difficult category. And it definitely lived up to that! At first, it was rather mellow with just some normal switchbacks.

The lower part of the Coyote Trail.

Before long, I found myself face to face at an awesome part of the trail that requires you to ascend a rather rocky slope as their is no defined trail. Instead, their are markers that you follow that simply say Trail on them. That part of my hike was by far my favorite.

Coyote Trail at Golden Gate Canyon State Park.
The beginning of the steep portion of the Coyote Trail.
The terrain I encountered.
At the top looking back towards the bottom.

After reaching the top, I then went back onto the Horseshoe trail in order to return to the trailhead that I parked at earlier. As it was afternoon now, more people were beginning to hike. Having been at the park since just after the sun came up, I was simply ready to call it a day.

Until next time!

Author: David Higham

Spending time in nature calms my soul.

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