Summertime mountain escapes are the best, especially when you don’t have to drive too far to feel like you’re a world away. 

Golden Gate Canyon State Park is located only 14 miles from downtown Golden, but offers lush forests, alpine meadows and rocky outcrops. Enjoy daytime adventure or overnight excursions in this pristine Rocky Mountain wilderness only a half-hour drive from Golden. 

This 11,998-acre park established in 1960 has campgrounds, picnic areas, and 36 miles of hiking trails for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and offers ample opportunities for outdoor recreation year round.

For daytime visitors, Golden Gate Canyon boasts more than 35 miles of hiking trails. Two of our favorite hikes include:

  • For families: Raccoon Loop is a 2.5-mile loop that begins next to the parking area at popular Golden Gate Canyon from Co Parks & WildlifePanorama Point. The elevation gain is minimal but the views outstanding, making it a popular family hike.
  • Moderate hike: Beaver Loop is a 2.8-mile loop that climbs 1,050 feet into the Rockies. Access the trail near the visitor center and wander through aspens and meadowlands while taking in views of the Continental Divide and the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. 

Check with the helpful rangers at the Visitor’s Center for hiking ideas specifically suited for your ability.

Overnight visitors have plenty of options in Golden Gate Canyon State Park which boasts 152 primitive and electric camp six cabins, two yurts, group camping and one horse-friendly guest house. 

For RV campers, Golden’s Colorado Camper Rental, which has been in business since 2009, offers these Golden Gate State Canyon tips:

  • B and E Loops in Reverend's Ridge campground are among our favorites, especially campsites 14, 16, 18 and 51 of the B loop.
  • At the Kelly Dahl campground , we recommend campsites 26 and 38.
  • If you’re looking for a smaller campground, try the Cold Springs campground, which offers 31 sites available for campers. 
  • If you are bringing your ATV, Columbine Campground features several ATV trails nearby.

Colorado Camper Rental has a great selection of campers for rent in Colorado with six models of pop up campers, five hybrid/expandable trailer models, and 15 travel trailer models. 

No matter if you visit Golden Gate Canyon State Park for a few hours – or a few days, you won’t have to go far from Golden to enjoy the serenity of the Rocky Mountain wilderness. 

Photos from Colo. Parks & Wildlife