There are a plethora of things to do available to Golden Gate Canyon State Park explorers.
Here are several of the many amusements at Golden Gate Canyon park:
Rock Climbing At Golden Gate Canyon State Park
While there are no official maintained rock climbing locations at Golden Gate Canyon State Park, rock climbing is allowed within the park. There are several ideal climbing locations along the backcountry trails, so the dedicated climber will have to hike in to experience the best climbing opportunities. Keep in mind fixed or permanent climbing hardware cannot be placed without a permit from the park manager, and that you are responsible for your own safety while rock climbing.
Hiking At Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Golden Gate Canyon State Park is home to plenty of hiking opportunities that you and your four-legged friends can explore. Dogs allowed on all trails through the park (if kept on a 6 foot or shorter leash and cleaned up after), giving both man and man’s best friend access to over 35 miles worth of trails.
Here are some of the trails at Golden Gate Canyon State Park:
- Visitor Center Show Pond Trail – This easy trail is ADA accessible, and makes its way around the show pong. Hikers can learn more about the flora and fauna that make their home in Golden Gate Canyon State Park, and nearby picnicking facilities make this an ideal midday stroll. Length: 0.25 miles Degree of Difficulty: easy
- Raccoon Trail – This trail is open to hikers, bikers, and horseback riders, and begins at Reverend’s Ridge. Hikers will pass by bruce spruce trees, douglas firs, and aspen trees, all brilliant contenders for best dressed during the fall months. Panorama Point lives up to its name, and is a breathtaking spot along this trail. Length: 2.5 miles Degree of Difficulty: moderate
- Beaver Trail – Despite the unassuming name, this is one of the most difficult trails in the park. With an elevation gain of 1,050 feet and incredible views of the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, this trail is great for the experienced hiker. Length: 2.8 miles Degree of Difficulty: challenging
Biking At Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Out of the over 35 miles of trails in Golden Gate Canyon State Park, 19 miles worth are open to mountain bikers. It is always a good idea to review which trails are open to bikers and to be aware that horseback riders have the right of way on shared trails.
Fishing At Golden Gate Canyon State Park
While there are no direct boating oportunities in this park, fishing is allowed in any stream or pond outside of the show pond located at the Visitor Center. An ADA-accessible fishing pier is located at Kriley Pond, and all park ponds are stocked during the warmer months. Keep in mind that all state and local fishing licenses and restrictions must be obtained and followed, and the daily bag limit is 4 fish per person.
Wildlife At Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Golden Gate State Park is home to countless forms of wildlife, from the towering moose to the countless fish that make their homes in the rivers and lakes of the park. Visitors may find traces of moose, bighorn sheep, coyotes, black bear, mule deer, and elk, as well as several smaller mamals throughout the park.
Birding At Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Golden Gate Canyon State Park is home to common birds like the ptarmigan, blue grouse, and gray jay, as well as majestic species like the golden and bald eagles. There are several different species of waterfowl who make their home throughout the park, and the easier nature walks located near the Visitor Center can give birders just a small sampling of the species that make their home within this natural refuge.
Horseback Riding At Golden Gake Canyon State Park
Horseback riding is allowed on 19 miles of trails within the park. On top of this, Nott Creek, Kriley Overlook, and Aspen Meadow Campground have parking availale for horse trailers. Please keep in mind trail conditions and difficluty before attempting any of the trails in the park, and be aware that bikers and pedestrians share many of the same trails as horseback riders.
Hunting At Golden Gate Canyon State Park
After Labor Day and until the first Friday before Memorial Day, hunting is permitted within the park given the correct season and licensing. 35 hunters are allowed within the park per day, and there is no hunting in the Gilpin County area of the park. There is also an elk hunting raffle each season. More information about hunting, as well as hutning limits and restrictions, can be found on the state park website.
Picnicking At Golden Gate Canyon State Park
There are over 125 picnicking sites throughout the park, making this an ideal place for picnic lovers and those just hoping to take in the sites between hikes. Keep in mind that all picnicking sites are first-come-first-serve, and that there are ADA-accessible pinic tables located throughout the park. A group picnic site is available in the form of the Red Barn Group Picnic Area, and this can be reserved in advance for large groups.
Pets At Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Dogs are welcome in the park, so long as they are kept on a 6 foot or shorter leash, and as long as owners take care of any pet waste. They are welcome on all trails, at all campgrounds, and throughout the park.
Horseback riding is allowed on several trails, and trailer parking can be found at Nott Creek, Kriley Overlook, and the Aspen Meadow Campground.
Camping At Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Golden Gate Canyon State Park is a camping paradise. Not only is this park home to countless camping locations, there are cabins and yurts availble for reservation, allowing you to experience camping like you’ve never seen it before. Keep in mind that all campsites must be reserved in advance through the state park website.
Yurt and cabin rentals are available with minimum two night stays, while other camping locations can be reserved on a night-by-night basis. Be sure to research each individual campsite before picking a spot to stay, as there are a variety of amenities availble depending on the site.
Along with traditional camping sites throughout the park, the Guest House is a four-bedroom, two-bathroom luxury experience that has a kitchen, gas fireplaces, and linen services. Horses are welcome at this location, although other pets are prohibited.
Below is an interesting YouTube video highlighting various attractions at Golden Gate Canyon State Park: